A Sunshine City resident has been tapped as one of the keynote speakers at the United Church of Christ's General Synod 2013.
The biennial gatherings by what is considered one of the most progressive denominations in the nation encourage members to be engaged in their communities. This year's gathering is in Long Beach, Calif.
Residents who are familiar with Peter Kageyama are the first to admit that he's a citizen of the world.
Kageyama helped establish the nonprofit group Creative Tampa Bay and self-published a book: For the Love of Cities: The Love Affair Between People and Their Places.
Kageyama helps to develop the local community, attract and retain talent, and further creative industries. His travels have taken him to Australia, England, Ireland, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Trinidad and Rwanda, where he was a speaker at a U.N. conference on creative industries.
The last time I attended the General Synod, in 2008, the keynote speakers were journalist and PBS commentator Bill Moyers, Children's Defense Fund president Marian Wright Edelman and Sen. Barack Obama (he announced his candidacy for president a month later).
So Kageyama is in good company.
For residents who've had the good fortune of attending one of Kageyama's lectures, they know that he uses data from surveys to drive one of his key points home: Most residents aren't engaged in their communities, but there's usually a small core that makes things happen. It is this core group, with its passion or love of city, that creates a groundswell of positive energy that solves key issues. He stresses that solutions are not always provided by city governments and local politicians.
When you consider how far off course this city appears to have gone on the Pier debate, perhaps a study of Kageyama's concept of "love notes" may be a good starting point.
To watch Kageyama's speech at 2:30 p.m. Monday, visit ucc.org/synod/live.html.
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The Circle of Friends of the Gulfport Public Library has come up with a plan to replace the chain-link fence in the Reading Garden there.
The group is asking artists and creative types to submit ideas — of any medium — for a "sculptural wall." The concept must appeal to all age groups and fit the aesthetics of the reading garden.
The artist with the winning concept will receive a $2,000 commission. Submissions will be accepted through Aug. 15 at the library or can be mailed to Gulfport Public Library, 5501 28th Ave. S, Gulfport, FL 33707. For more information, contact David Mather at (727) 893-1075 or email@example.com.
Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (727) 893-8874 and on Twitter at @StPeteSandi.