Saturday, February 3, 2007

Friday Morning Mojo Moment

This past Friday, February 2nd, may have been a watershed mojo moment for the Friday Morning Group. Not only were we honored to be joined by Pinellas County Commisioner Ken Welch, we were also able to extend a Friday Morning Welcome to St. Petersburg City Council Member Leslie Curran.

The admonition to arrive promptly at 8 AM was adhered to by a hardy group of talented folks and Ken started right off by asking how we wanted to proceed. Herb Snitzer laid out for Ken the nut of the issue for the Friday Morning Group artists - respect and recognition. Ken was also exposed to the idea of getting tourist development dollars to promote the City and the County as an art buying destination. That will help to support our Community Based artists, but also meets the Tourist Development Council and Convention and Visitors Bureau's missions of heads in beds.

Herb and Bob Devin Jones also expressed their disappointment that the Pinellas County Cultural (nee Arts) Council's failure to extend honors to any Little a artists at their annual awards banquet. Bruce Kotchkey was asked by Ken for his take on that issue. Bruce replied that the criteria for an award to an artist was based on community participation in the furtherance of the arts. Surely we had artists at the table Friday morning who met that criteria. Stay tuned on that one.

Ken must have asked at least three times, if not more, for the group to tell him what it is we wanted him to do for us. Ken left us at 8:30 to go to his dentist's appointment. When asked to comment on which he thought was going to be more fun, Ken was unwilling to declare. He has declared that he is running for re-election to the County Commission in 2008. Thank you, Ken, for taking the time to meet with us. Please know that you have an open invitation to join us any time that your schedule permits.

After Ken left us, Leslie Curran took out her hammer and beat us over the head, gently. She admonished the group to make sure and follow through to deliver our wish list to Ken. It was clear to Leslie, and she made it clear to us that Ken wanted to help us, but he needed guidance on exactly what we wanted him to vote on.

Sandy Tabor volunteered to lead a mission statement and goal visioning session and or sessions. This is to be the first step in creating a strategic plan for the Friday Morning Group. (Scary, isn't it?) Bob stressed that the mission of the Friday Morning Group needed to be focused on Little a artists and how to support them. Group consensus seems to have formed generally around that premise. The first strategic visioning session for the Friday Morning Group will be this Monday afternoon at 2 PM at the Studio at 620.

Leslie Curran could not have been more supportive of the mission of the Friday Morning Group. Seated on her left was Ann Wykel . In the category of two degrees of separation, Ann's very presence in St. Petersburg was due to the efforts of Leslie Curran. In her former incarnation on the St. Pete City Council, Leslie pushed for the creation of a Cultural Plan. Ann Wykel's position at the City of St. Petersburg came out of that Cultural Plan. Leslie is currently asking that the Cultural Plan be reviewed and updated, since it is getting nearly a decade old.

All in all, this Friday had to be one of the best meetings ever held by the Friday Morning Group. If you were in attendance and either agree or disagree with that statment, please let me know. You can either email me at gatordem at or you may post a comment at Local Politics is All.

Until next week, here's looking at your art kids.

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