University of South Florida

College of The Arts

University of South Florida

Mayor Jane Castor’s Forum on the Arts Taps USF Arts Leadership to Advise Growing the Arts in Tampa

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Last week, newly-elected Tampa mayor Jane Castor invited local arts leaders, including Margaret Miller, director of the Institute for Research in Art at the USF College of The Arts, to a forum on arts at the HCC campus to address how to grow the arts in Tampa.

Castor pledged commitment to growing the arts in Tampa thereby marking a new era of potential for the entire Tampa Bay arts community.

Miller, who spoke on the Arts, Vision, and Leadership panel, called for the development of cultural competency through arts programming and the development of an arts infrastructure.

She suggested the development of a cultural plan and a Tampa arts commission to promote arts-driven development and create a dialogue with citizens.

“You need a map of where you’re aspiring to go that can be adapted,” said Miller. “And I think there needs to be appointed at this point in our history a commission made up of the very people who are serving on these panels and others who might suggest how we might move forward and what the next steps might be.”

Other suggestions by Miller included the establishment of a Tampa office of arts and culture and an arts commissioner to overseen strategic cultural planning.

Castor’s newest Tampa arts development includes the Art on the Block, a program she announced at the forum that aims to rejuvenate neighborhoods and unite members of the community through the arts.

 “The intent is to create places that have been ho-hum in the past to [be] very, very exciting [and] to incentivize curb appeal,” Castor said. “And the goal, in addition to place-making, will be to bring artwork into neighborhoods by and with the community not in service to the community to strengthen citizenry, to open communication, to create better neighborhoods, foster visual literacy, create future art patrons, reduce prejudices, open minds and discussion and tell the stories of our neighborhoods that keep their history alive.”

The first collaborative community art project location for Art on the Block will be East Tampa’s Al Barnes Park.

Additional media

Florida Politics: Jane Castor launches citywide arts initiative ‘Art on the Block’

Sunshine State News: Jane Castor Energizes Tampa Arts Community

HCC FL (YouTube): Tampa Mayor’s Forum on the Arts

Banner image (top): Downtown Tampa. Source: Wikimedia Commons