Tampa Mayor’s Forum on the Arts

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On Wednesday night, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor held The Mayor’s Forum on the Arts. In her opening speech, Mayor Castor committed to, “grow the arts in a very, very big way.” She stressed the need to use art within the Tampa community to incentivize curb appeal and tell the story of our unique, diverse neighborhoods, including allowing for more murals. She is hoping to improve the communities’ environments and opportunities for multiple forms of art in Tampa.

“We are Tampa, and we are a very unique city that we need to celebrate. So, my vision as the Mayor, is that at the end of my tenure is that other cities from around the nation come to Tampa to see our art scene,” Castor said.

There were several speakers at the forum, including oil and watercolor artist Dean Mitchell and Stagework’s Karla Hartley, who discussed how arts contribute to our lives, “affecting our mind, heart and health.”

They also discussed the need to have an environment that supports the arts, including affordable housing and work spaces. Dave Cox, Executive Director of Gasparilla Music Foundation, also stressed affordable housing and transportation, as well as enhanced music education programs.

Other speakers noted that Tampa has many great artists and venues, but they are scattered around town, and not easily recognized in the community due to inadequate exposure.

Participants seemed to be optimistic and thankful for Mayor Castor’s announced priority to expand the arts, and for honoring our unique neighborhoods and culture in Tampa.