Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

Gulfport mural project draws a blank

GULFPORT — A wall in City Hall will remain bare, at least for the time being. A recent request to create a mural in council chambers yielded no takers.

In March, the city decided to seek bids from area artists for a mural to capture the history or character of the city. The back wall of the council chambers was the designated canvas, and artists would be required to incorporate the city's seal and two standing flags into the design.

Surprisingly for a city with an active arts community, a mandatory site meeting on July 15 went unattended.

Though the "Call for Artists" appeared as a legal notice in the Tampa Bay Times and in a weekly neighborhood paper and appeared on the city's website, mygulfport.us, it apparently missed many of the very people the city needed — the artists.

Computer graphics artist Mike Eismont, who has been active in the area art scene for three years, knew nothing of the city's request.

"I'm not aware of any outreach to Gulfport's artists," he said. "If you want to get the community involved, you have to involve the community.''

Jennifer Salmon, who represents Ward 3, agrees that the city could have done a better job informing area artists.

"I'm unaware of any information shared directly with the art community,'' she said. "We have the Gulfport Arts Council, and the city has an arts advisory committee. I'm surprised we didn't make it a point to let more people know about the project.''

While Jonathan Schork, a highly visible member of Gulfport's art scene, was aware of the request, he readily admits that the information didn't penetrate the city's art community. He's also concerned the budget is low for such a project.

"It would probably cost twice as much as the $2,500 allocated," he said, adding that the idea of a mural representing Gulfport's eclectic personality is exciting.

Schork, who works in several mediums and serves on the boards of the City of Imagination and the Industrial Arts Center, hopes that if the council decides to reopen the bidding process, there could be a possibility of finding matching funds.

A 2011 "Call for Artists" — to create a sculpture at the north end of the city's Clymer Park — had a better response with five bids from area artists. The winning design, a whimsical ceramic sculpture that incorporates the city's beach, artistic and dining interests, was created by Gulfport artist Thomas Pitzen, who was paid $11,000.

City Manager Jim O'Reilly has said he will ask the council at its Aug. 8 workshop if it wants to reopen the mural project.

Ward 2 council member Christine Brown, who initially brought the mural idea to the council, thinks the call for bids should be reissued.

"I'd hate to see the project die," she said.

Diane Craig can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Hillsborough: No way we can afford teacher raises this year

Hillsborough: No way we can afford teacher raises this year

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District is in bad financial shape and its reputation for sound management is perhaps undeserved, the district’s own fiscal team testified Monday in a hearing concerning teacher salaries.The district "made finan...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
The key to the Lightning’s success

The key to the Lightning’s success

This is quite the run the Lightning is on over the past five years.A playoff appearance in 2014. A trip to the Stanley Cup final in 2015. A return to the Eastern Conference final in 2016. A near-miss of the postseason last season. And now back in the...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Tampa jury convicts former Air Force major of international parental kidnapping

Tampa jury convicts former Air Force major of international parental kidnapping

TAMPA — A jury Monday found a former Air Force major guilty of kidnapping his daughter and holding her overseas to stop his ex-wife from exercising her part of a Hillsborough County custody agreement.Andrew Haley Morcombe had argued that his 2014 jau...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
With arm-twisting, Pompeo clears Senate committee

With arm-twisting, Pompeo clears Senate committee

WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a late pivot Monday evening, approved the confirmation of Mike Pompeo to be the next secretary of state, after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., bowed to pressure from President Donald Trump and dropped hi...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
New NASA boss gets ‘hearty congratulations’ from space

New NASA boss gets ‘hearty congratulations’ from space

Associated PressCAPE CANAVERAL — NASA’s new boss is already getting cheers from space. Immediately after being sworn into office Monday by Vice President Mike Pence, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine took a call from the three U.S. astronauts at the...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
‘Tase me, and you’ll see what happens,’ an American Airlines flier said. Police did - 10 times.

‘Tase me, and you’ll see what happens,’ an American Airlines flier said. Police did - 10 times.

Washington PostWhat began as a simple boarding dispute at Miami International Airport escalated into a tour de force of plane drama on Sunday as a belligerent passenger was repeatedly stunned by police, forcibly carried out of his seat, then driven t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
In search for stolen car, the baby inside was the calmest one

In search for stolen car, the baby inside was the calmest one

ST. PETERSBURG — Photojournalist Michael Egger pulled into the apartment complex off 71st Avenue N on Monday afternoon, waiting for reporter Mark Douglas. The two WFLA-Ch. 8 journalists were looking for someone — they wouldn’t say who — when they fou...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: Parents may have fled with newborn ordered taken by court

Deputies: Parents may have fled with newborn ordered taken by court

TAMPA — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a missing child alert on Monday for the 1-month-old son of an Illinois couple who fled to Tampa after losing custody of two other children. Newborn Sage Cooper was last seen Friday at a home on...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: Port Richey man admits molesting, attempting to rape 8-year-old girl

Deputies: Port Richey man admits molesting, attempting to rape 8-year-old girl

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 26-year-old man was arrested Friday on charges that he molested and attempted to rape an 8-year-old girl, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Kaleb Harrah, 26, of Port Richey, faces charges of attempted sexual battery o...
Updated: 1 hour ago