Posted by: tampachamber on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain a child when we grow up.”- Pablo Picasso “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” - Oscar Wilde 3 On October 24, 2018, the Leadership Tampa Class of 2019 spent the day traveling to various sites throughout the city of Tampa that highlighted some of the many wonderful places where all aspects of the arts are celebrated and shared. We started the day at the University of South Florida Institute for Research in Art Graphic Studio located on the USF campus and part of the Tampa area for over 50 years. Professor and Director, Margaret A. Miller shared with us the history of this wonderful studio and some of the original works from the many leading contemporary artists from around the world who contributed the magnificent collection featured at the studio. We also took a tour of the studio where we were treated to a demonstration of printmaking techniques that have been used by the various contributing artists who visited the studio. Next up on the agenda was a tour through the Henry B. Plant Museum located on the University of Tampa campus. We were greeted by the Executive Director, Cynthia Gandee Zinober (LT’01) who shared a brief history of the museum and the important impact Henry Plant had on the Tampa community when he built this Tampa Bay Hotel back in 1891. An extra special treat was a performance by local actor Amber Forbes who is part of the Upstairs/Downstairs cast that performs every Sunday at the museum. Amber portrayed Maggie Stroud who was a laundress at the hotel in 1920. She shared with us wonderful memories of what life was like back then at the hotel and in the Tampa area. After her moving performance, we took a ride over to the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Arts where Julie Britton (LT’ 97), Vice President of Development for the Center shared the great history and impact of the many performances that have occurred at the five theaters located there since it opened in 1987. She also shared with us the great impact the Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center has on art education. We were given a tour of the facilities and parts of the Patel Conservatory. All of us were in awe when we stood on the stage and looked out into the magnificent performance spaces. Just when we thought the day couldn’t get any better, we arrived at the CI Group office located in downtown Tampa, where we were treated to delicious lunch and a lively discussion about Tampa’s Food Scene by Michael Blasco (LT’12), Tampa Bay Food Trucks, and Jeff Houck, Marketing and Public Relations Manager for Columbia Restaurant Group. We learned about the impact of Tampa restaurants, the unique contribution of food trucks, and the best place to go for a great Cuban sandwich. After lunch, we hopped on the bus again and headed down to Stageworks Theater, Tampa’s longest-running professional theatre company, since 1983. Karla Hartley, their Producing Artistic Director, spoke with us about the history of professional theater in Tampa and some of the challenges and joys that come with producing and performing “cutting-edge” plays in Tampa. In addition, Karla and two of the actors from their current production of The Revolutionists shared a moving scene from the production and one our classmates was fortunate to have his name drawn for two free tickets to see the rest of the performance. Our final stop for the day was the Historical Tampa Theatre. President and CEO, Josh Bell, shared with us the great history of this 1,250 seat movie palace that was built in 1926. Tampa Theatre was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and continues to host many great performances and films. As a part of our time at the theatre, we attended a Film Festival Panel Discussion consisting of Tammy Briant (LT’14), Gasparilla Film Festival, Ed Lally, Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and Sara Scher, Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival.  They all emphasized how film is a way for all of us to experience various cultures and communities via a theater seat. They shared with us the impact that these film festivals have on the Tampa community and how Tampa Theatre was one of the best places to explore the stories told through movies. We visited and experienced so many aspects of the arts and culture in Tampa on this day but as Julie Serovich (LT’14) our LT’19 Class Chair shared that morning, we could probably “spend five days” on arts and culture in Tampa and still not even begin to see all our city has to offer. How fortunate we are to live in a city that not only values and supports the arts but has also supported artists who have contributed to art and culture throughout the global community. LT’ 19 expresses our sincere thanks to our Arts and Culture Day Sponsor: Macfarlane, Ferguson & McMullen and our Day Chairs: Jeff Gibson (LT’13), Partner, Macfarlane, Ferguson & McMullen and Jim Porter (LT’99 & LT’15 Chair), Partner, Akerman LLP.  Thank you for providing such a delightful experience for our class. Jeanine Romano, AACSB International

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