Re: Struggling Gulf Coast Museum to close | story, Aug. 29
Museum's closing is devastating news
I read with dismay of the upcoming closing of the Gulf Coast Museum of Art in an article by St. Petersburg Times art critic Lennie Bennett. For the art community, this is devastating news. It has been a beautiful facility and the classrooms are state-of-the-art.
I have been attending classes there ever since the museum first opened. For a few years there was a real problem with incompetent management, but recently there has been a huge improvement and, I believe, given time, the museum would have become recognized as the fine facility that it is.
Unfortunately, Ms. Bennett has never been a booster of the museum and seems to have gone out of her way to denigrate the location and the shows. It would seem to me that although it is an art critic's job to evaluate the quality of art, there should always be support of the facilities. Art has enough of a difficult time flourishing without having a well-known critic put the kiss of death on a place where it happens.
I would like to see the classrooms survive, at least. The county should look into the possibility of the Dunedin Fine Arts Center conducting satellite classes there. They are established in the arts community and they have excellent instructors. Even though I live five minutes from the Gulf Coast Museum, I have traveled to the Dunedin center for classes many times and have been a member of both. They are both huge assets for the area. It will be a sad day when one of them closes with no guarantee of another opening.
Constance R. Dawson, Largo Learn more to help prevent suicide
Since National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 7-13, I would like to use this time to encourage the public to learn more about suicide. For example, research shows that more than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have an underlying, although not always diagnosed, psychiatric illness at the time of their death.
More needs to be done to prevent suicide, a public health problem that claims a life every 16 minutes in the United States. However, stigma and misconceptions about mental illness and suicide continue to be barriers.
On Nov. 22, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will conduct one of its Out of the Darkness Community Walks at Clearwater Beach. Funds will support suicide prevention research and education as well as local programs. Walk with us and help bring suicide out of the darkness. Together we can help save lives.
For information, visit www.out ofthedarkness.org.
Linda Hilterbrandt, 2008 Community Walk chairwoman, Tarpon Springs