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Museum should include ethnic art

Re: Museum piques Clearwater interest | story, Sept. 3

Museum should include ethnic art

Putting a new Gulf Coast Museum of Art in Clearwater would be a big plus for cultural tourism in the county, as art tourists would then have significant museums all the way from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs.

There would be an added bonus if the new museum could have a gallery dedicated to African-Americans or Latinos or other ethnic groups. Too often, these groups are dismissed as niche groups by galleries and museums, good for one exhibition a year.

If you look at the quality and concepts of these ethnic art groups, it is as good, and more interesting, than some standard museum/gallery fare.

Malcolm Johnson, Seminole

Re: Struggling Gulf Coast Museum to close | story, Aug. 29

Closing hits art community hard

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 here 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

Voting by mail is the way to go

My wife and I vote by mail — it is totally convenient, can be done in one's leisure time with much thought given to the candidates, saves gas and hassle, and I'm sure is less expensive to the government.

Why not have voting by mail exclusively?

Ron Reinhardt, Clearwater

Re: Pinellas athletic chief's son dies | story, Sept. 2

Article on death shows poor taste

I thought your recent article on Frank Grasso's death was done in such poor taste. The parents are well-respected members of our community who are suffering a tragic loss. The personal family information that you threw out there for everyone to read was so callous and unnecessary during their time of grief.

Both parents have contributed their entire lives to the education of all our children in Pinellas County. I think they deserve more respect than you gave them in your article on their son's passing.

Jo Ann Snyder, Clearwater

Re: Pinellas athletic chief's son dies | story, Sept. 2

Mentioning DUI was over the line

How callous that you would mention his pending DUI charge (not proven guilty) when reporting on the death of Frank Grasso, Nick Grasso's son. What did you gain by adding to the parents' and other family members' pain?

Nick Grasso was an excellent principal at Clearwater High. He and his family do not need your reporting-at-all-costs mentality.

Diane Pearson, Dunedin

A big thanks to the community

The Muscular Dystrophy Association has long been synonymous with the nation of firefighters and their desire to wipe out this dreaded disease, with countless methods used to raise funds that are graciously handed over for such a noble cause.

Of all methods to raise funds, one of the most notable is the "Fill the Boot" drive. For years, we have all witnessed the firefighters out soliciting funds for Jerry's Kids.

Clearwater firefighters had not had this fundraising option available to them until now. For the first time this year, and not without political positioning, the mayor and City Council members voted 4 to 1 to allow the Clearwater Professional Firefighters Association Local 1158 to participate in the "Fill the Boot" drive.

My reason for this letter is to thank all who made this first outing a tremendous success. I want to first thank the council for seeing this as a noble cause and putting aside any differences we have. The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1158, including Belleair Bluffs, East Lake, New Port Richey as well as Clearwater firefighters, stepped up, stepped out and made a great showing. For that I thank you all.

Also notable is the Ladies Auxiliary for the fantastic efforts, support and funds you have raised. Your work does not go unnoticed.

Most notable and most important is the community. We went out, you dug in, and deep you dug, to the tune of $28,000. In these tough economic times, your kind words and unselfish generosity show us all what good could be accomplished when working together. To you, the community we serve, I offer heartfelt thanks!

Patrick M. Conrey, IAFF Local 1158 MDA coordinator, Spring Hill

>>your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our Web site at, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

Museum should include ethnic art 09/04/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 11:12am]
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