If you have been in Tampa longer than 10 years, you have felt a shift in the arts community. It is getting attention, getting organized, and getting more connected. Organizations like the Arts Council have put in the years and the work building a network, providing funding, and educating artists, but even these established groups are getting more attention and well-deserved support. Tampa Bay Businesses for Arts and Culture is bridging the gap between businesses who want to financially support artists and projects, with the creative talent providing the work. The City of Tampa Arts division is curating fantastic projects like the “I am priceless” Tes One mural and the Encore parks and public art installations.
I always had the intention to leave the space better than it started.
It is a huge responsibility to put your artwork out into the public.
It is proof of life. Public art is the reflection of the communities pride in its artist.
The recently published economic impact report is a wealth of encouraging, hard numbers about the necessity for every city to support its artists. During a recent Downtown Debriefing, panelists discussed some of their favorite public art pieces and what impact they feel it has on their communities, including the findings of the economic impact survey. Few things get me out of bed before 8am, especially dressed and ready to network (who networks at 7:30am???), but this panel and the room full of art supporters is one of those things.
Everything has a life and a time and one example, in my opinion, is a confederate monument. It had its time and it is done.
There is no season for the arts. It is necessary, ingrained, inseparable from the human experience. Many cultures around the world recognize this fact, and there was a time when the American government supported the arts to boost public morale instead of it being the first budget line item cut from education, funding, and city planning. In Tampa, we are fortunate to have such a strong community of artists, organizations, and businesses working to keep the arts alive.
Public art is a gateway drug.