Last Friday morning was a bit of a reprieve from talk of cuts to arts funding and their impact on the community. Not that it didn't come up at all. But the bulk of the discussion last Friday was more about art happenings. Imagine that.
A Center for Photographic Arts is soon to open at 316 Central Avenue. This is below the parking garage of the former Florida Federal building, which provides them with a good amount of storefront window space to display photographs. It sounds like it is going to be something of an artists cooperative. Amongst the organizers is Richard Stewart, a member of the Artists Gallery Royale.
The Friends of the St. Petersburg Police is going to be commissioning a sculpture to honor fallen police officers. The sculpture will be situated on a plaza to be built in Demens Landing. The winner of the commission will not only create the sculpture, but will be responsible for the overall construction of the plaza. Sounds like an interesting project.
We also had a discussion about a more creative use of the band break time at the Saturday Morning Market. It has been proposed to the organizers of the Market that the band break time be used for clips or short performances by various community arts groups. Say the Palladium, or the Studio@620 for example. Stay tuned for more on this.
Of course we could not get through a morning without a discussion of the topics of contemporary concern. We did discuss the idea that potentially more arts funding is available from the County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Their mission is to deliver tourist dollars to Pinellas County. One of the ways that they do this is to provide arts funding for cultural tourism. And they are looking to do more of it. They have a new director who, while in a similar position in Lee County (Fort Myers - Sanibel), marketed their community based artists as a way to break through the clutter of the other Florida beach communities. We are going to arrange to have him visit us some time in the not too distant future.
And that brought us to a discussion about getting more organized. Actually, this was a rather lively discussion. If we are going to advance the concepts in our Friday Morning Group Concept Paper directly, that will definitely require some sort of formal organization. However, sentiment ran strongly that the Friday Morning Group functions best as a "think tank" or an idea incubator. That is the unique feature of this group. Just a place where people can go and kick around ideas.
Some of the ideas that have gotten kicked around or germinated in the Friday Morning Group discussions have taken root here in the community. That has been largely due to individuals or groups of FMG members taking these ideas and working them into reality outside of the group. Or it has occurred because of the influence that our groups' discussions have had on other organizations. No doubt if some of these particular ideas that have been discussed are going to be implemented, that process will have to be repeated.
In the meantime, we will continue to talk about what interests us. And hopefully, we will continue to give others something to talk about.