Study: Channelside needs arts director listen06/12/08 Mitch E. Perry
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A New York City consultant who has reviewed the potential for the Channelside Arts District in Tampa received a mixed response from the Tampa City Council today.
Leith ter Muelen, from LandAir Project Resources, is in town to give presentations about her study over the next two days.
She said her original charge – to review the existing arts assets in the District - has changed over the course of this year due to the fallout from the housing and credit crisis and the reduction in property taxes.
Ter Muelen’s major request was that city hire an Arts Program Director, to work on develop funding the arts from outside sources. As part of her study, Ter Muelen said she conducted about two dozen interviews with various members of the community, from cab drivers, business owners to audience members and others to provide her with a candid insight into Tampa. She also issued an online survey to about 2,000 people.
Another suggestion to energize Channelside is to have some companies relocate their marketing offices to the ground floor in the district.
Ter Muelen said with more than 80 performing arts organization in Hillsborough County, there are thousands of people with talents that could be used for an Art Parade.
Councilwoman Mary Mulhern praised the presentation, and also advocated for an Arts Program Director - but for the entire city, not just the Channel District.
Councilman Charlie Miranda said he had a different point of view about the Channelside District. He referred to the former arts director of the city, Paul Wilborn, who was let go because of budget cuts.
Leith ter Muelen will present her report from 6:30 to 8 p.m. tonight at the Florida Aquarium, and tomorrow at the Port Authority Conference Room, from 10:30 to noon. She will come back to the Council late next month.