Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

Cultural alliance hopes to catalyze the arts in north Pinellas

CLEARWATER —The arts in North Pinellas need a shot in the arm.

That was the consensus last Thursday when 100 culture aficionados gathered in the chandelier-lit Margarete Heye Great Room inside Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Painters, dancers, historians, sculptors, opera singers, musicians, potters and art promoters spent the day brainstorming ways to inject new cultural life into the communities north of Ulmerton Road.

The meeting was organized by the North Pinellas Cultural Alliance, a group designed to create a stronger arts force upcounty. Last year, Colin Bissett, former director of the Mahaffey Theater Foundation as well as the Largo Cultural Center put forward an idea to strengthen the arts by unifying the entire cultural community.

After months of forming a membership base, last Thursday, Bissett welcomed art lovers from across the region for a day of brainstorming. "The arts are thriving in north Pinellas, but we need to keep going,'' Bissett said. "Look at what a great job St. Petersburg has done.''

Officials from Clearwater, Dunedin, Safety Harbor, Oldsmar, Largo and Tarpon Springs participated as well as art educators from Pinellas County schools and members of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance and Creative Pinellas, the county's nonprofit arts agency.

Participants spent the morning sharing their passion. After lunch, they devised a game plan. They talked about several ideas including:

• Utilizing and improving the marketing of all arts organizations in northern Pinellas County.

• Planning an arts festival along the Pinellas Trail that would celebrate both fine arts and performing arts and would also include merchants from each municipality.

• Partnering with the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, creating "art'' shelters throughout Pinellas County.

Zev Buffman, chief executive officer of Ruth Eckerd Hall, shared plans to add an "art park'' that will wind through the property's 37 acres. Sculptures and murals will dot the parking lot and along the wetland area behind the main building. He plans to add "benches, little places to sit, for visitors to enjoy. They will be protected from alligators, of course,'' he joked.

Pinellas County commissioner Karen Seel stressed that although the county pulled back on arts funding during the recession, by approving about $300,000 worth of funding this year for Creative Pinellas, "the county is again engaging back into the arts, and it is long overdue,'' she said. "Your advocacy is important.''

Christopher Cochran, senior planner for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, provided the details of PSTA's public arts program, which is open to cities countywide. A city would select a bus shelter as a site for a public art display and the PSTA will work with the city, providing funding, up to $7,300 for each shelter. "The PSTA will give that money towards site development, which includes pouring the concrete for the structure and making sure the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements are met. It's important to make sure the whole shelter is accessible,'' Cochran explained.

Meanwhile, the Alliance will work with the city when it comes to the funding for the artist's work. "The artist will be paid by the Alliance,'' said Bissett. "But the city will choose the artist, although I would hope it would be a local artist.''

During a break, former county commissioner Sallie Parks talked about her memories of Pinellas County. "For so long, there was nothing out here and we'd have to go to St. Petersburg to a museum or see a show,'' she said. "Then, things started to change. We saw Ruth Eckerd built and that was exciting. We've seen North Pinellas go from its infancy, to now, maturity, and it's very exciting,'' she said.

The Alliance has received $24,000, including $21,000 from the participating municipalities and an additional $3,000 from private donations. The North Pinellas Cultural Alliance website is npculturalalliance.org.

Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] Follow @Florida_PBJC.

Comments
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Updated: 4 hours ago
The Daystarter: Victor Hedman is the NHL’s best (defender); how did 15 families sign a lease for the same home?; read the latest report on CareerSource

The Daystarter: Victor Hedman is the NHL’s best (defender); how did 15 families sign a lease for the same home?; read the latest report on CareerSource

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Today is also the official start of summer, not that anyone will be able to tell. It will be hot and muggy with just a 30 percent chance of rain heading into Friday, according to 10We...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Romano: Intrigue behind all those manicured lawns

Romano: Intrigue behind all those manicured lawns

I’ve always thought homeowners associations had a lot in common with cops.People love to complain about them and often accuse them of abusing their power. And yet as soon as a neighbor paints his house a hot shade of fuchsia, you’re screaming for the...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox Sr. was watching the NFL draft 24 years ago when the phone rang. Buffalo coach Marv Levy was on the other line."Marv said they were taking me," said Knox Sr., a standout receiver at FSU.Soon after, Knox Sr. saw his name scroll across ESPN'...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Victor Hedman, a relentless part of the Lightning's push to the Eastern Conference final last season, was honored Wednesday night with the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's top defenseman."To the Lightning organization, Mr. Jeff Vinik, Steve Yzerman ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston could be suspended for up to three games  next season following the league's investigation into allegations he groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in 2016, a Tallahassee radio station reported.Jeff Cameron, a&#...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Passengers on fatal Southwest flight sue airline and manufacturers of plane and engine

Passengers on fatal Southwest flight sue airline and manufacturers of plane and engine

Eight passengers who were aboard a Southwest Airlines flight that was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after one of its engines blew apart filed suit Wednesday against the airline, Boeing and the companies that manufactured the eng...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Former employee sued by Tesla says he was a whistleblower

Former employee sued by Tesla says he was a whistleblower

Tesla sued a former employee Wednesday, accusing the man of hacking the automaker’s computer systems and stealing company secrets, shedding light on what chief Elon Musk had suggested was the work of a secretive internal saboteur.But the employee, Ma...
Updated: 7 hours ago