Monday, September 24, 2018
Stage

Sheryl Oring wants to hear your stories for a Tampa International Airport art installation

TAMPA — Serenity Grey-Lodge sat on her hands with her small body scooted to the edge of the chair. The kindergartener's turquoise sneakers hung above the concrete as she swung her feet and looked into Sheryl Oring's eyeglasses.

The 5-year-old with pompom pigtails was silent for a moment as she hunted for the right words.

"Everything is so pretty in Tampa," Serenity said. "All the water, the flowers, the warmth."

Oring's fingers worked steadily, punching the keys to type out Serenity's every word into a baby blue Royal portable typewriter.

She was an artist at work.

Oring's tools were the people along the Riverwalk in front of the Tampa Museum of Art on Saturday afternoon. Her canvas: blank postcards to be filled with peoples' stories and thoughts; their rambles and insights.

What do you love about Tampa?

The question prompted about 75 people to share memories from the city via a postcard to be used in Oring's project, "Greetings from Tampa Bay." Oring, a socially engaged artist, was one of nine artists selected from more than 700 to create and display a project at Tampa International Airport.

"In airports, you typically have a lot of people not from the city," Oring said. "They don't get to hear about the city from hometown people."

But through the installation, they'll get a personal introduction.

Perhaps visitors will read the words of the gay couple who told Oring that Tampa was the first city where they could be themselves. For 20 years, they lived closeted in Pennsylvania.

Or it could be the last man to sit at Oring's desk Saturday. He told her about the time he met his idol, Oprah Winfrey, in Tampa. She took him out to lunch after he told her about his rough upbringing.

He wept as Oring's fingers moved from letter to letter. For some, the experience is silly or fun — for others, it's cathartic.

Oring, of Greensboro, N.C., sat at a sleek white table alongside two other typists. They all wore red dresses and matching red lips and pumps. Their hair was swept up and rolled, 1950s style. That's the decade Tampa's first international flight took off, Oring said.

The blue typewriters and red outfits represented the blue and red sections of the airport.

It was the clank of the keyboard keys that drew 38-year-old Lisa Putnam to the women in red. Her father was a writer. She found comfort in the rhythmic clanking she remembered from her childhood. She told her typist about taking her children to the Henry B. Plant History Museum every year to see a Victorian-era Santa Claus.

Gabriella and Jonathan Brodhead stopped by with their corgi, Walter. They told their typist Tampa was where they moved together, where they started their careers. It was where the two bought their first home together. It's also where they got married, right there on the Riverwalk.

Oring typed for three hours, collecting stories using carbon paper so the author could hold onto to their postcard, too.

Oring is not done. She hopes to collect at least 300 postcard vignettes. She has two more sessions scheduled in Tampa and one in St. Petersburg.

Oring said select postcards and the Polaroids she takes of the city will be printed on aluminum sheets and hung in her sculpture. The finished project is slated to be installed by September.

Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale.

     
 
Comments
USF assistant VP rides AHN wave of support to success

USF assistant VP rides AHN wave of support to success

Editor’s note: Academy of the Holy Names junior Tress Jacobs spent the summer of 2018 shadowing Tampa Bay Times columnist Ernest Hooper. To conclude the experience, she interviewed Academy alumnus Kim Wilmath Hill and filed this report.By Tres...
Published: 09/23/18
Despite the razzle-dazzle, ‘Chicago’ is starting to feel dated

Despite the razzle-dazzle, ‘Chicago’ is starting to feel dated

TAMPA — There’s a reason Chicago has been delighting audiences since 1975, and is one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history. Jaded and funny, fast-paced and flamboyant, this sentimental journey to the tabloid culture still seems ahead o...
Published: 09/19/18
Find A Friend: Brooklyn the Terrier Mix

Find A Friend: Brooklyn the Terrier Mix

She’s going to make it by any means — got a pocket full of dreams — let’s hear it for Brooklyn. This 36-pound, soulful snuggler is a well-mannered maiden, past the puppy stage at age 5, and happily housebroken. She enjoys ...
Published: 09/19/18
On stage this weekend: Game of Thrones, Rocky Bleier, Florida Orchestra pops up

On stage this weekend: Game of Thrones, Rocky Bleier, Florida Orchestra pops up

PAGEANTRY AND PASSION: GAME OF THRONESThis ought to be fun for hard-core fans of Game of Thrones, which won its third best drama Emmy this week. HBO and Live Nation concert producers combined to create Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience, a big b...
Published: 09/19/18
On stage this week: ‘Chicago,’ ‘The Guys,’ Ginger Minj of RuPaul fame

On stage this week: ‘Chicago,’ ‘The Guys,’ Ginger Minj of RuPaul fame

RAZZLE DAZZLE: CHICAGO Broadway returns to Tampa in Chicago, the jazzy Bob Fosse cynical celebration of corruption and longest-running American musical revival of all time. Style is substance as Velma and Roxie compete for the limelight of a jaded p...
Published: 09/12/18
Review: ‘Heisenberg’ at Tampa Rep a hopeful expression for our times

Review: ‘Heisenberg’ at Tampa Rep a hopeful expression for our times

TAMPA — With the current state of things, the unlikely union in Heisenberg provides a refreshingly tender contrast to the divisiveness trolling our lives these days.Playwright Simon Stephens even went so far to say in Oakland’s East Bay Times that "t...
Published: 09/10/18
Updated: 09/12/18
Fall Arts Preview: Your guide to museums, plays, opera and classical music in Tampa Bay

Fall Arts Preview: Your guide to museums, plays, opera and classical music in Tampa Bay

Welcome the sweet approach of fall. Despite our current heat index, we’ll soon experience milder air, shorter days and too many things flavored like pumpkin.But in Tampa Bay, the true indicator of fall is the rebirth of local art. Our professional th...
Updated one month ago
Fall Arts Preview: Opera Tampa will premiere new opera by Anton Coppola, 101, and more

Fall Arts Preview: Opera Tampa will premiere new opera by Anton Coppola, 101, and more

Have you decided yet which operas you’re going to compose after age 100? If the prospect seems daunting (it does), consider that there is only one Anton Coppola, and only he expects this kind of productivity. Opera Tampa’s founding maest...
Updated one month ago
Fall Arts Preview: In a new season, Florida Orchestra expands reach, new top soloists

Fall Arts Preview: In a new season, Florida Orchestra expands reach, new top soloists

The Florida Orchestra has prepared a 51st season with a wide range of grand masters and newer work, an increased visibility for minorities and women and more collaborations with museums and other artistic institutions. Masterworks highlights include...
Updated one month ago
Fall Arts Preview: Light and dark, classic and groundbreaking round out Tampa Bay theater

Fall Arts Preview: Light and dark, classic and groundbreaking round out Tampa Bay theater

Theater mirrors our world and enlarges it, responds to current events, and allows us to glimpse the present by retelling the classics. Just touch this lineup of shows. In the palm of your hand you can almost feel tremors of anxiety about racial tensi...
Updated one month ago