A couple of years ago, a reporter from Creative Loafing sat in on one of the meetings of the group. We were discussing the Chamber of commerce brochure that proclaimed on its cover that St. Petersburg was the "City of the Arts". Well, our artists particularly thought that was just pretentious as hell and were pretty contemptible of the whole idea. Yes St. Petersburg is a good place for artists. It could be better. But to proclaim St. Pete as The City of the Arts? Hello.
So we were discussing this foolishness and kicking around ideas. One of our members came up with this:St. Petersburg is not the City of the Arts, the city is the art.
That comment wound up in print. I think that's a pretty good explanation of the Friday Morning Group. The beautiful City of St. Petersburg is the canvas that is our art work in progress. We continue to put more creative touches on it all the time.
Moving on to January 2007, we talked about this
Our main focus again was how to support artists in St. Petersburg. It was suggested that one way to do that would be to try and get the City and the County to market us as an art buyers destination. The tie ins with economic and tourist development became rapidly apparent.Michele Tuegel of the County Cultural Affairs Council suggested that for St. Petersburg, it would make sense to approach Mayor Rick Baker. Herb Snitzer indicated he would contact Pinellas County Commission Chair Ken Welch.
Later on in January, we had this happy news to report
Last Friday we welcomed back some old faces and greeted some new (to me anyway) faces. Bob Devin Jones brought us up to date on the goings on at the Studio @ 620. The Studio currently is showing a very interesting photography exhibit by Zachariah Thompson. The photographs are of laundromats reminding all of us of the good old (or maybe not so good old) days. The show has been very well received, perhaps because we all can relate to the subject in one way or another.
The multi-faceted Peter Kagayama, current President of Creative Tampa Bay, another old familiar face also joined us last Friday. Peter just returned from some more of his Creative Community globe hopping to Singapore and other interesting far off places. Being the ever so deft communication specialist that he is, Peter dropped the phrase "creative competitiveness"on us. That has a ring to it doesn't it?
Len Neff also joined us. Besides Len's well known work with beaded glass, Len talked about his work with public art in Pinellas County.
And our old friend Nancy Loehr dropped by with County Commissioner Ken Welch in tow.
Moving on into February, we had this
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 Commissioner Ken Welch, we were also able to extend a Friday Morning Welcome to St. Petersburg City Council Member Leslie Curran.
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. ... 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.
Well that little session morphed into OMG - We Have a Plan . A group of volunteers got together and came up with the Friday Morning Group Concept Paper which included plans for the "Pinellas Prize" and a Creativity Center.
As time went along, we continued to work on bring the Friday Morning Group Concept Paper to life. But we also talked about the Art of the Homeless and about Attitudinal Change . And we even had time to be wowed by Irish Eyes. That happened when Peter Kagayama brought us a very special guest indeed, Roisin McDonough, the Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the equivalent of our National Endowment for the Arts. Boy did we get an earful about what respect for artists looks like there.
Moving along into April, we began a conversation about implementing the Friday Morning Group Concept Paper at a very tough time for local governments in this climate of tax reform. We talked about being leaders instead of followers and The Value of Art Education .
Lately we have been Looking at the Long Term nature of attitudinal change. Last week we talked about group life cycles and dynamics.
And that is the point. This is your group. It will be whatever you want it to be. Or not.