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Sunshine

25

August

Click to watch mentions of the following:

1. "I've never seen an ad focus on the arts," Kornell said, contrasting that with cities like Memphis, Austin, Texas, and Santa Fe, N.M., which highlight their cultural amenities. "A whole host of cities do ad campaigns geared completely to the arts."

2. Judy Lisi, president and CEO, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa: A few weeks ago, I ran across some old 1950s Florida tourism postcards selling the "Florida glow," and I realized that even though Florida has changed so much, especially here in Tampa Bay, not much has changed about how we promote Florida to visitors.

Many states and countries recognize and capitalize on the growing market of the "cultural tourist"— a tourist who stays longer, spends more money and is searching out available arts and entertainment in their destination. The initial draw may be February in the subtropics, but the cultural tourist travels in search of a more complete, more fulfilling experience, patronizing museums, theaters and historic locations.

Tampa Bay has developed into an impressive cultural hub that includes the Dalí Museum, Mahaffey Theater, Ruth Eckerd Hall, the Palladium, the Chihuly, the Ringling Museum, Florida Orchestra, Tampa Theatre … the list goes on.

I am proud of the density of Tampa Bay's artistic assets. We are Florida's Cultural Coast, a distinction that sets us apart and can launch us into the international market of cultural tourism. Let's move forward from the "sun and beaches" paradigm and market the whole picture of what we have to offer: sun, fun, beaches, theater, music, dance, comedy and a dynamic selection of exceptional museums.

Now is the time for all the convention and visitor bureaus of the Tampa Bay region to pool resources and invest in a tourism campaign that unites all the arts assets that so enrich the experience of coming to the communities in our region.

3. Experts say that if a solution isn't found, Florida's entire citrus industry — with its 75,000 jobs — could collapse. Compounding the problem is the timing of it: The disease coincides with an increase in foreign competition and a decrease in juice consumption as health-conscious consumers count carbs. In July, U.S. orange juice retail sales fell to the lowest level in 12 years for a second consecutive four-week period.

4. Susan Orlean in The Orchid Thief: Nothing seems hard or permanent; everything is always changing or washing away. Transition and mutation merge into each other, a fusion of wetness and dryness, unruliness and orderliness, nature and artifice. Strong singular qualities are engaging, but hybrids like Florida are more compelling because they are exceptional and strange. ...

It is moldable, reinventable. It has been added to, subtracted from, drained, ditched, paved, dredged, irrigated, cultivated, wrested from the wild, restored to the wild, flooded, platted, set on fire. Things are always being taken out of Florida or smuggled in. The flow in and out is so constant that exactly what the state consists of is different from day to day. It is a collision of things you would never expect to find together in one place -- condominniums and panthers and raw woods and hypermarkets and Monkey Jungles and strip malls and superhighways and groves of carnivorous plants and theme parks and royal palms and hibiscus trees and those hot swamps with acres and acres that no one has ever even seen -- all toasting together under the same sunny vault of Florida sky. Even the orchids of Florida are here in extremes. The woods are filled with more native species of orchids than anywhere else in the country, but also there are scores of man-made jungles, the hothouses of Florida, full of astonishing flowers that have been created in labs, grown in test tubes, and artificially multipled to infinity. Sometimes I think I've figured out some order in the universe, but then I find myself in Florida, swamped by incongruity and paradox, and I have to start all over again.

[Last modified: Monday, August 25, 2014 1:23pm]

    

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