Art Talk: Katia Carranza, Principal dancer with Miami City Ballet

We sat down recently to chat with some of the Principal dancers at Miami City Ballet, and got an inside look into their world and activities with the company.

Katia Carranza graduated from the Escuela Superior de Musica y Danza de Monterrey in Mexico in 1996. She then joined Ballet de Monterrey as a soloist. In 1998, she joined Miami City Ballet as a corps de ballet dancer, was promoted to soloist in 2001, principal soloist in 2003 and in 2004 she was promoted to principal dancer. She left after the 2006-07 season to rejoin Ballet de Monterrey as a principal, but continued to dance with MCB as a guest artist for an additional six seasons. Carranza rejoined MCB full-time in 2017 as a principal dancer.

Katia Carranza

Division of Cultural Affairs (DCA): Why did you choose a career in the arts?

Katia: I started this career at a very young age. I didn’t really know that ballet was something I love. Little by little, I became more involved and it brought me so much happiness. I think that being able to do what you love is such a blessing.

DCA: How long have you worked in Florida?

Katia: (Laughs) I came here in August of 1998 for the first time, 23 years ago. I joined Miami City Ballet that year and it changed my life. I am from Monterrey, Mexico. I studied there and danced for one year at Ballet de Monterrey.

During my time there, I had an opportunity to compete in Jackson, Mississippi and that was when Edward Villella hired me, and I was here at MCB until 2007. From 2007 through 2017, I was dancing for both MCB and Monterrey, but I came to Miami 4 years ago to dance here full-time. I feel like I am from here, and that I grew as an artist here.

Katia Carranza and Kleber Rebello in NINE SINATRA SONGS© Choreography by Twyla Tharp. Photo © Alexander Iziliaev.

DCA: What is the best part about your job?

Katia: Being on stage, for sure. I enjoy having an opportunity to share what we do with so many people, with the audience. I feel like we can change their lives. I always hope that they leave the theater with a positive experience. That is the best part: sharing what we do.

DCA: Tell us a little bit about your organization. What are you currently working on?

Katia: The most important thing is keeping my body moving, until we can all dance onstage and together again. We normally rehearsed together for 8 hours a day, so it is super important to keep my body moving. It is something my body needs – it gives me energy and makes me happy, and so my body asks me to do it every day. I take different classes by Zoom, such as ballet and resistance training, and I use my pointe shoes a little bit every day. I must continue or else my feet and my ankles will become weak.

Katia leads leads a “Move with MCB” ballet básico class (en Español) on Instagram.

Plus, now that we have more free time, I get to teach, which I enjoy a lot. It’s important to continue to be motivated, for both myself and my students too. We all need to stay motivated so we can be on stage again when the time comes. But for now, I have this chance to teach and share with students in Mexico, Brazil, from all over the world. I love being able to share in this way.

DCA: In your opinion, what is the greatest contribution that your organization makes to your community?

Katia: I believe that the greatest contribution we offer is to the next generation of dancers with the various programs and training Miami City Ballet Company and School offer to children and young people. I believe dance can change lives, because it changed mine.

I think dance makes me a better person and gives me opportunities to learn about things that are important. I believe that dancers touch the lives and help others, and that can have a positive impact on young people. That is the greatest contribution we give.

Katia Carranza and Renan Cerdeiro Ballet dancers in Stravinsky Violin Concerto. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Alexander Iziliaev.

DCA: What do you think of when you hear “Culture Builds Florida”? Why are the arts and culture important to our state?

Katia: Florida is a special place because there are so many cultures here, and we are fortunate because we can experience the different cuisine, histories, and many things that are learned through arts and culture. It helps us all to be better people, and it is something we can share together.


This has been part three of a three-part Art Talk feature with some of Miami City Ballet’s Principal dancers. Thank you to Miami City Ballet and the artists for taking the time to share with Culture Builds Florida.

Art Talk: Jennifer Lauren, Principal dancer with Miami City Ballet

We sat down recently to chat with some of the Principal dancers at Miami City Ballet, and got an inside look into their world and activities with the company.

Jennifer Lauren is a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala. She began training in various regional schools and later with Royal Academy of Dance and the Alabama Ballet Pre-Apprentice Program. In 2007, Lauren joined Miami City Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet and was promoted to Soloist in 2011. In 2014, she was named one of Dance Magazine’s “Top 25 to Watch.” During her tenure with MCB, Lauren has been featured in principal and soloist roles. In 2017, she was promoted to Principal.

Jennifer Lauren

Division of Cultural Affairs (DCA): Why did you choose a career in the arts?

Jennifer: I really didn’t choose it. I was introduced to dancing when I was young and fell in love with it. Ever since then, I have been hooked! It is all I ever wanted and dreamed about.

Jennifer Lauren in Apollo. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Alexander Iziliaev.

DCA: How long have you worked in Florida?

Jennifer: I have been with Miami City Ballet for the last 13 years, and I joined the company in 2007.

DCA: What is the best part about your job?

Jennifer: The best part about my job is that I am doing exactly what I love to do. I am sharing my passion with so many people, including my company. Dancers are extremely close, and because we understand each other, there is this rare bond I have with my coworkers.

Jennifer Lauren and Ashley Knox in Symphonic Dances. Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky ©. Photo © Alexander Iziliaev.

DCA: What are you currently working on?

Jennifer: Lately, I have been working on my basic technique skills. With the extra time, it has motivated me to take a closer look at how I execute my work and how I can improve my craft and artistry.

I’ve also been teaching a lot of private lessons to ballet students, which keeps me aware of my own technique. I love sharing my thoughts and ideas with younger dancers. I am always open to accepting anyone who would like private lessons via zoom. 😊

Jennifer leads a “Move with MCB” ballet basics class on Instagram.

DCA: In your opinion, what is the greatest contribution that your organization makes to your community?

Jennifer: Our organization offers a place for people to forget their troubles and enjoy the art of ballet. We create an environment for around 2 hours, in which a person can completely relax and enjoy what they are watching. It stimulates imagination and creativity in people. The school is also an important start for children to begin to see the value of dancing, whether they grow up to be dancers or grow up to admire the art form.

DCA: What do you think of when you hear “Culture Builds Florida”?

Jennifer: Exactly that. Without culture, humans are not inspired. That is why we have the arts.

We all need to be inspired. We need to be moved by multiple forms of art and entertainment. Florida is full of amazing artists and Miami City Ballet is one of its gems.

Miami City Ballet dancers in Symphonic Dances. Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky©. Photo © Alexander Iziliaev.

DCA: Why are the arts and culture important to our state?

Jennifer: Without the arts and culture, we have no color in our lives. We need to be inspired and encouraged to open our minds and see what we can create. Going to see a ballet could inspire the next Barishnikov or Maya Angelou to break through. 


This has been part two of a three-part Art Talk feature with some of Miami City Ballet’s Principal dancers. Tune in tomorrow at 8pm ET for our last candid conversation!

If you are interested to take a private lesson with Jennifer, please contact her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jenlaurenq

Art Talk: Rainer Krenstetter, Principal dancer with Miami City Ballet

We sat down recently to chat with some of the Principal dancers at Miami City Ballet, and got an inside look into their world and activities with the company.

Rainer Krenstetter was born into a dance family in Vienna where he began his ballet training at the Ballet School of the Vienna State Opera. In 1999, he was accepted into the Royal Ballet School in London and continued his training there until 2000 when he became a corps de ballet member with the Vienna State Opera Ballet. In 2002, he joined the Staatsballett Berlin under the direction of Vladimir Malakhov and went through the ranks up to Principal dancer in 2013. He joined Miami City Ballet as a Principal dancer in November 2014.

Rainer Krenstetter

Division of Cultural Affairs (DCA): Why did you choose a career in the arts?

Rainer: My parents were dancers at the Vienna State Opera in Vienna, Austria, so I grew up in the theater and opera world. As a very young child, I loved going with my parents to spend time backstage — in the dressing room, in the make-up room, the costume department, being around everyone… I just fell in love with the atmosphere of the theater, of the opera.

That was my true passion — the atmosphere of the opera house… the smells, the dust, the different people. I thought, since my parents were dancers, that if I danced I could also be a part of the opera world. So, I danced.

Rainer Krenstetter performs Alexei Ratmansky’s Namouna at Staatsballet Berlin. © Bettina Stob

DCA: Have long have you lived and worked in Florida?

Rainer: I started in November 2014. I remember arriving to Florida the day before I started, on November 1. When I landed at the airport, I was wondering… “What is going on here?”…Halloween is not so celebrated where I am from. Upon arriving at the airport I saw all the flight crew, baggage claim attendants, everyone on Lincoln Road and Miami Beach in these costumes. I thought, what is happening here?? Why is there a carnival? So that was my introduction to Florida.

DCA: What was it that attracted you to the United States, and to join Miami City Ballet?

Rainer: I was dancing in Europe from 2000-2014 with Vienna State Opera Ballet and Staatsballett Berlin. During that time, I was performing all over the world but mostly danced classical ballets such as Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and Giselle. As an artist, I believe it is important to experience and learn as much as possible. Part of the reason I moved to Florida was to gain new experiences.

Miami City Ballet dancers Tricia Albertson and Rainer Krenstetter performing “Emeralds” from George Balanchine’s Jewels. © Alexander Iziliaev

I have always been interested in the choreography of George Balanchine, but I did not get to dance as much Balanchine in Europe as I wanted to. In Berlin, when our artistic director would ask what works we wanted to perform at our gala, I would always ask to perform works by Balanchine such as Tarantalla, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, and Stars and Stripes.

When I found out that Lourdes Lopez, the artistic director of Miami City Ballet, was looking for a male principal dancer, I knew it was time to pack my bags and head to Florida, as I really wanted to learn more about the Balanchine style and have an opportunity to perform more of his works.

DCA: Tell us a little bit about your organization. What are you currently working on?

Rainer: While we wait until it is safe to perform on stage again in front of audiences, I am keeping busy with my classes, and I am doing a lot of teaching. I am also available for private lessons [contact Rainer via Instagram], and because we have time and the technology available, I can teach all over the world – even to Japan!

Rainer leads an intermediate “Move with MCB” class on Instagram (recording saved to Youtube)

DCA: In your opinion, what is the greatest contribution that your organization makes to you community?

Rainer: In every art form… ballet, visual art, theater, music… what we do is give inspiration to the community. At the venues we perform in throughout Miami, Broward, Palm Beach and Collier counties, I see our community’s reflection. We are open to the entire community in South Florida, not just for the people who can afford a $200 ticket, as we have accommodating ticket prices and opportunities for all audiences to enjoy our shows.

We are here for everyone, and that is what I love about Miami City Ballet. We are dancing for our community, and we see that reflection at our shows. It is very different from what I have experienced anywhere else.

Rainer Krenstetter performs Alexei Ratmansky’s Namouna at Staatsballet Berlin. © Bettina Stob

DCA: What do you think of when you hear “Culture Builds Florida”? Why are the arts and culture important to our state?

Rainer: Well, Florida is famous for beaches, parties, Disney World, Harry Potter World… so there is this image of what Florida is. Right now, it is so important to show the other sides to Florida culture. I’m very happy that with the theaters we have in South Florida, these amazing arts centers that we get to perform in and where people and families can experience dance, theater, and opera with amazing artists. This is so important, to bring the arts to the community so they can enjoy, learn and experience many different cultures.

This has been part one of a three-part Art Talk feature with Miami City Ballet’s Principal dancers. Tune in tomorrow at 8pm ET for another candid conversation!

If you are interested to take a class with Rainer, please contact him on Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/rainerkrenstetter/

50 YEARS OF THANKS

Gallery

This gallery contains 6 photos.

The 2019-2020 fiscal year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. Established by the Florida Legislature under the Department of State, the Division of Cultural Affairs has supported and promoted Florida’s diverse arts and culture community for 50 years. Since 1976, when the division was granted the authority to administer grants funded by the State of Florida and the National Endowment for the Arts, more than $787 million in grant funding has been distributed to every corner of the state in support of the division’s mission to advance, support, and promote arts and culture to strengthen the economy and quality of life for all Floridians.

Relationships are the cornerstone of any community, and the Division of Cultural Affairs has been lucky to have partnered with hundreds of supporters over its five decades. In this post, we will spotlight just a few of the people who have helped us support and celebrate Florida’s vibrant arts and culture community. Continue reading

Special Feature: Artist Alba Triana

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Artist Alba Triana holds a shell
https://www.albatriana.com/about

Each year, the regional arts agency South Arts awards a State Fellowship to an artist in each of its nine member states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. This year’s Florida’s Fellow is Alba Triana, an audiovisual and nature artist from Bogotá now in Miami. We asked Alba to tell us a bit about her journey to Florida, her work in Miami and why Culture Builds Florida.

Alba Triana:

Ranging squawks of green parrots, evocative of a hysterical laughter; a polyphony of bird songs coming from all directions above one’s head; the delicate sound of air being moved by flocks of birds heading who knows where; Insects, breeze, swinging palm trees; mesmerizing buzz of pool and A/C motors …

“Microcosmos”, Vibrational sculpture | installation, 2016. Photo: Alba Triana Studio

These are just some of the sounds that constitute the soundscape of my daily walk in Miami. I religiously go out at sunset, because that’s when I get to indulge all my senses. It’s precisely then, when one can see the sunlight spectrum, hear the full richness of the ecosystem, smell the ocean, and feel the heat and humidity in the environment.

My husband and I came to Miami ten years ago, planning to stay for three weeks. However, an accidental event prevented me to go back to Colombia, where we used to live. I initially thought it was just a temporary delay, but time went by and I could still not travel. Between the stress and the frustration, we started adjusting to the situation. At some point, we realized we had settled.

“Sounding Score”, Interactive virtual book | installation, 2009. Photo: Oscar Monsalve

After having lived in five cities, Miami stood out for its capacity to change at a fastest pace, as well as for its natural beauty. Its cultural diversity made us feel at home from the very beginning. Here we encountered a flourishing visual arts scene, concerned with social issues, and rooted in the American contemporary art tradition. There was, and there still is, a very focused and ingrained way of understanding what art and art-making could be. We also found a small and incredibly welcoming sound art and experimental music community.

I must admit that, initially, not finding a robust circuit developing a line of work akin to mine was a bit disquieting. However, as time passed and we continued to settle, I understood that it was precisely in the absence of a strong experimental, cross-disciplinary, and technology driven musical or artistic community, that I could find the space to make a contribution.

“Music on a Bound String No. 2 (reflecting light)”, Visible sound and light sculpture | installation, 2015. Photo: Ernesto Monsalve
“Music on a Bound String No. 1 (natural light)”, Visible sound sculpture, 2015. Photo: Bernardo Olmos

I decided to open up to this new context and let it transform what so far had mainly been a highly experimental musical career. What I initially identified as a “lack” was precisely what pushed me to try new creative strategies. I started to work in a holistic, multidimensional fashion. My pieces fully adopted the installation format. They were still musically conceived, but exceeded the musical and the audible. My material was not only sound, but different forms of vibration and energy. This caused the fields of the sonic and the visual to become fully unified in my work, which no longer fit any traditional artistic category.

My artistic practice gradually became what I really wanted it to be: a vehicle to understand and connect with the natural world at a primordial level; an exploration of nature’s intrinsic creative methods, behaviors and properties, intending to holistically reveal its often overlooked poetic qualities.

“Red Luminous Phrase”, Visible sound and light sculpture, 2019. Photo: Alba Triana Studio
“Delirious Fields”, Suspended spheres in variable electromagnetic fields, 2019. Photo: Alba Triana Studio

Based on the notion that everything in the natural world can be reduced to a vibrational state, I’ve been using vibration, especially sound and light, as the main material in my works. Also, I have extensively examined inter-connectivity, a phenomenon that prevails at every single level of existence which, from my perspective, is the soul of art and music. Most recently, I have experimented with electromagnetism as a means of observation of non-perceptible entities. Supported by the Swiss government, I recently visited CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) and have collaborated with their most renowned scientific and artistic institutions.

In Miami, I have participated in several group and solo shows, as well as in various editions of the Subtropics and FETA Foundation festivals. During 2018–2019 I had the privilege to be a resident at Oolite Arts—formerly ArtCenter South Florida. This was one of the most enriching experiences I’ve lived in this city. It gave me the opportunity to interact with great artists from different backgrounds and to actively integrate to the artistic community.

“Polyphotony”, Visible sound and light installation, 2016. Photo: Ernesto Monsalve

Receiving the South Arts 2020 Fellowship and being named Florida’s State Fellow confirms that Miami is home. It also indicates that I have helped to push the institutional patrons in our region, so they understand that, in the digital era of inter-connectivity, new art forms need to emerge. Our duty as artists is to challenge established paradigms, respond to our time, and envision a radically new future. For this, we require cultural institutions to take risks. I celebrate and thank South Arts for supporting experimentation and the search for the unknown through this recognition.

I am happy to contribute —with my unusual body of work— to the artistic and cultural scene in our region, and to confirm that Culture Builds Florida.

“Polyphotony”, Visible sound and light installation, 2016. Photo: Ernesto Monsalve
“Music on a Mound String and Resonating Tubes”, Visible and audible sound installation, 2018. Photo: Alba Triana Studio
“Microcosmos detail”, Vibrational sculpture | installation, 2016. Photo: Alba Triana Studio

The Division thanks Alba Triana for her participation in this interview.
For more information about Alba and her work, visit her website: https://www.albatriana.com/

Art Talk: Stephanie Martino of Florida Film Institute

We sat down recently with Stephanie Martino of Florida Film Institute to discuss FFI’s upcoming (and redesigned for online) 2020 Summer Film Camp.

Stephanie is the Director of CINEMA, a program designed to empower aspiring young filmmakers and to prepare them for the film industry in Florida.

Stephanie Martino

Division of Cultural Affairs (DCA): Why did you choose a career in the arts?

Stephanie: As a young child, I was always fascinated with the arts and creative platforms. I have studied and worked in fashion, interior design and painting. All of those endeavors have led me to love and have a passion for filmmaking.

DCA: How long have you worked in Florida? 

Stephanie: I have lived and worked in South Florida since 1989.

DCA: What is the best part about your job? 

Stephanie: My job, teaching and working with budding young filmmakers, is very rewarding. I am proud that the Institute extends the knowledge and process behind filmmaking to eager young students who want to learn. Some of them actually choose film as a future career path as a direct result of participating in our CINEMA program. I also enjoy working in a team environment with my loyal and dedicated staff members.

DCA: Tell us a little bit about your organization. What are you currently working on? 

Stephanie: Well…due to the pandemic, our upcoming summer film camp will now take place virtually! Even though we cannot be together in person, we are moving forward online and celebrating the 10th anniversary of producing our award-winning summer film camp in partnership with The Coral Gables Art Cinema!

FFI’s Cinematographers in Education and Media Arts (CINEMA) program provides an enriching after-school experience for teens interested in pursuing filmmaking. This year, we are providing a virtual hands-on learning environment at our 2020 Summer Film Camp for interested high school students to learn about the art, business and science of filmmaking.

Camp attendees pose during the 2019 FFI Summer Film Camp at Coral Gables Art Cinema

The upcoming six-week, intense filmmaking camp will begin June 15, 2020 until July 24, 2020. The camp will meet via ZOOM on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 1pm. This camp is geared to high school students ages 13 to 18 who seek an opportunity to practice formal film production methods. Students will even be able to use their own devices to create projects, mainly their smartphones, which are becoming a dynamic tool used in filmmaking!

DCA: In your opinion, what is the greatest contribution that your organization makes to your community?

Stephanie: We are very proud of CINEMA, a multi-level learning platform, and how it provides local students with a creative and engaging outlet if they wish to focus on their artistic path now in high school, and to prepare for a possible future career in film.

“Next of Kin”, selected as best narrative film poster during the 2019/2020 school year

DCA: What do you think of when you hear “Culture Builds Florida”? Why are the arts and culture important to our state? 

Stephanie: Florida is not just about sunshine and beaches, although those are great things our state offers!

“Culture Builds Florida” is a great motto and resource for those that enjoy the arts, but personally I am grateful to the CBF blog for publishing content with their grantee organizations like Florida Film Institute, and helping to enhance our mission to educate young adults in our diverse communities about filmmaking and the opportunities it can provide.

DCA: Anything you would like to add?

Stephanie: Yes, thanks for asking — despite the ongoing pandemic, FFI has turned a negative into a positive. We responded by broadening our programming and recreating our cutting-edge, virtual CINEMA program. We are so excited to implement this platform for our 2020 summer film camp students and to give them an unforgettable experience!


The Division thanks Stephanie Martino and Florida Film Institute for their participation in this interview.
For more info about the upcoming 2020 Summer Film Camp, scholarship opportunities and to register, visit: https://flfilminstitute.org/programs-summer-film-camp/

Interested in having your organization featured on Culture Builds Florida? Click HERE to access the proposal form (Note: submission does not guarantee inclusion.)

Grantee Feature: Tampa Theatre Remains a Beacon in the Midst of Pandemic

About Tampa Theatre
Built in 1926, Tampa Theatre is a passionately protected landmark and one of America’s best-preserved movie palaces. The majestic movie palace is owned by the City of Tampa and operated by the not-for-profit Tampa Theatre Foundation, whose mission is to protect, preserve and program the Theatre as a dynamic film and cultural center for its community.

On Thursday, March 12, Tampa Theatre made the difficult decision to close in the face of rising concerns over COVID-19. Nearly three months later, the movie palace remains closed, waiting for the opportunity to reopen safely. We asked long-time President and CEO John Bell what the organization has been doing during the shutdown to stay connected with its community.

Tampa Theatre’s marquee thanking front-line responders in the COVID crisis.

In an average year, the historic Tampa Theatre welcomes guests to 700+ film screenings, live shows, fundraisers, tours, community events and educational programs. Over the past two years, the 1926 movie palace has set attendance and box office records – success launched in large part by the December 2017 completion of the landmark’s first major restoration project in 40 years.

On March 12, that upward trend came to a screeching halt.

CEO John Bell wrote in an email to patrons:

“This beautiful landmark has welcomed tens of millions of people over the past 94 years, but now it feels forlorn and abandoned, work halted mid-stream when its caretakers were sent home to stay safe.”

The Theatre remains dark over COVID-19 concerns.

In the days immediately following the closure, team members were consumed with communicating cancellations and issuing refunds. But they quickly turned their efforts to finding innovative ways to stay relevant and engaged.

Regular “social streaming” suggestions on the Theatre’s social media pages offer themed playlists of movies easily found on popular streaming channels for film fans, and weekly Friday Movie Trivia contests invite Facebook followers to show off their cinematic knowledge.

“Today’s technology gives us the unique ability to stay connected with film lovers virtually.”

John Bell, CEO of Tampa Theatre

In partnership with fellow art house cinemas and independent film distributors across the country, Tampa Theatre launched a Virtual Cinema program that offers ticketed screenings of new releases and specialty films, a portion of which directly benefits the Theatre. In more recent weeks, patrons have had the opportunity to bring home a taste of Tampa Theatre: Popcorn Pickup dates offer to-go popcorn, candy and other concessions to enjoy during those living-room screenings.

Popcorn Pickup offers to-go concessions on select Fridays in-front of the Theatre.

The Tampa Theatre Movie School initiative gives parents with kids of all ages the tools to make movies the basis for guided research, art, dramatic play and discussion-based learning. Soon, the Theatre plans to announce week-long virtual programs to replace their popular Summer Film Camp that isn’t able to start this month as originally planned.

“We’ve always felt that nothing can rival the magic of coming to a majestic movie palace to enjoy great cinema. So while it hurts not to be able to welcome our fans and friends to gather in person, we continue to look for ways to provide unique cinematic experiences for our patrons.”

That technology, Bell says, is what made it possible for Tampa Theatre to make a return to its 1926 roots recently by live-streaming a silent film, accompanied by an organist playing to an empty auditorium. The General, LIVE!, which featured acclaimed organist Dr. Steven Ball on the Mighty Wurlitzer,streamed on the Theatre’s Facebook page for about 200 viewers, and has since been viewed several hundred more times on YouTube.

Dr. Steven Ball plays to an empty auditorium, surrounded by webcams.

“It seems almost trite at this point to say that we are in a period of profound uncertainty: We are all taking this day by day, week by week, and month by month… But I do know one thing for certain: when this has passed, people will need the beautiful, historic Tampa Theatre more than ever as a place to gather, embrace each other, and celebrate our collective humanity once again.”

For more information, please visit Tampa Theatre online at www.TampaTheatre.org or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @tampatheatre.


*Interested in being featured on Culture Builds Florida? Please fill out this form HERE
(Note: submission does not guarantee inclusion.)

Grantee Feature: Lighthouse ArtCenter Announces ‘Super Summer’ ArtCamp & Exhibition

​Founded in 1964 by a group of artists including Christopher Norton of the Norton family (Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach), the member-supported Lighthouse ArtCenter Gallery and School of Art has been dedicated to providing artistic programing and cultural opportunities to people in Palm Beach and Martin Counties for 56 years, offering exhibitions, outreach programs and dynamic workshops and classes for youth and adults.

The Lighthouse ArtCenter is pleased to announce their upcoming Super Summer ArtCamp which will run June 1 – July 31, 2020 and will feature the work of world-class puppeteers, FX animation engineers, concept originators, and character designers who specialize in “prototypes and peculiarities.”

‘Gru’ by Carter Goodrich; ‘Super Summer’ design by Fernando Porras

Nowhere else in the world do kids have the chance to create art with some of America’s finest character designers, illustrators, and animation engineers. And, although the fun is happening right here in the heart of Tequesta, Florida, they don’t have to be at our location to enjoy it!

Opening June 1, 2020, the Lighthouse ArtCenter Gallery will feature a lively art exhibition of works created by world-class puppeteers, FX animation engineers, and concept originators. Some of the featured artists will include masters in the field of animated movies like Carter Goodrich, who gave us the characters for Finding Nemo, Despicable Me, and Shrek. There will also be dynamic life-size puppets displayed from the award-winning plays Beauty and the Beast and The Wiz.

by Carter Goodrich
Carter Goodrich

But the Lighthouse ArtCenter’s School of Art has joined in to take this opportunity one giant leap further. Their ArtCamps have inspired creativity in local youth every summer for the past 30 years. Carrying on tradition, this year’s camp titled Super Summer is being refashioned as an interactive “ArtCamp in a Box.” The carefully designed camp for children between the ages of 6 and 12 will combine independent exploration, some parental supervision and three optional, interactive, instructor-lead zoom sessions. 

Matt Ficner

Each week, the registered camp attendees will receive their “ArtCamp in a Box” by mail or curbside pick-up. On Monday, they first open their box that includes everything needed for all of their projects for the week. In the box they will receive a surprise “How-To” character design created uniquely for the Lighthouse ArtCenter by one of the nationally acclaimed artists on display in the gallery. Unique lesson plans made by esteemed instructors will expand on the initial character design and encourage children to imagine and create their own worlds. On Friday, the week will end with a virtual show-and-tell, allowing the students to share what they created with the camp. 

by Russ Cox
Russ Cox

“Through conversations with our young artist community and their parents, we learned that students need creative outlets now more than ever. They also need opportunities beyond the computer or tablet,” says Director of Education, Maria Tritico. “That is why we designed ArtCamp in a Box. This camp is one-of-a-kind and the exciting lessons take children on a journey that stretches as far as their imaginations, from the comfort of wherever they might be…”

Patrick Girouard

As local children are allowed to venture out into public once again, they can visit the Lighthouse ArtCenter Gallery and join us to social distance alongside drawings from the brilliant artists behind video games for Surf’s Up, animations for VeggieTales, National Geographic World publications, Highlights Hidden Pictures books, Microsoft Word’s “Clippy” character, best-selling picture books and more. For more information, visit the Lighthouse ArtsCenter Super Summer Exhibit page.

“Never have the arts been more important to the well-being of our vibrant community, and never have artists who create for children been more generous with their time and their talent. It’s proof, once again, that all great art begins at home, wherever that home may be.” – Janeen Mason, Curator

Students and parents are encouraged to share their progress throughout the week by tagging @lighthousearts and using the hashtags #LighthouseArtCenter, #SuperSummer, #ArtCampInaBox on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.               


Interested in being featured on Culture Builds Florida? Please fill out this form HERE (Note: submission does not guarantee inclusion.)

Art Talk: Leiland Theriot, Executive Director of Florida Alliance for Arts Education

Leiland Theriot is Executive Director of the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE). The Division of Cultural Affairs recently talked with Leiland about FAAE’s newest partnership with Interactive Academy to provide teaching artists and students access to virtual arts education and remote classes.

Division of Cultural Affairs (DCA): Can you tell us a little bit about FAAE?

Leiland: The Florida Alliance for Arts Education was founded by Dr. June Hinkley (FDOE) and Dr. Mary Palmer (UCF Dean) in collaboration with arts educators and agencies from around the state, including the Department of Education and Division of Cultural Affairs, to establish the Arts for a Complete Education (ACE) coalitions.  Our mission is to improve, enhance, and promote arts education in the state of Florida.  We are currently funded by the FDOE ACE Grant and by two grants from DCA: one for General Support and the other from the National Endowment for the Arts Special Initiative.

DCA: FAAE’s new partnership with the Interactive Academy to provide arts education classes through a virtual platform is particularly timely. How will it work?

Leiland: The FAAE and the Interactive Academy will partner with teaching artists anywhere in the state to remotely continue to provide arts instruction to their students. The delivery can be to one student, or 20, or 1000. IA has several delivery platforms available. The FAAE is the paymaster, registration, and additional marketing. There are no costs initially, and the three will split the net revenue evenly. The best thing is that the platforms are secure and private!

DCA: What was the genesis of the project?

Leiland: Ricardo Canchola (IA) approached me in January at Arts in the Capital Day. We began our discussion, thinking we might have everything worked out by maybe the summer or fall. And then the Coronavirus Pandemic happened, and we were watching our friends losing their “gig” pay. We had respond quickly to try and get them working again.

DCA: Teaching artists are a valuable resource. Are you looking for particular disciplines?

Leiland: No, we are not. You can do any arts discipline. There is a warning for musicians, however – live ensemble playing does not work on any digital platform, due to latency issues.  We do have other options, however, that will work for delivering music instruction.

DCA: What qualifications does a teaching artist need to take part in the program?

Leiland: Our teaching artist should have a high level of content knowledge, and have had experience in delivering online lessons. This is fairly simple to learn the digital platform, and Ricardo has developed video tutorials and is willing to chat with anyone having difficulties. You will need a laptop with video and audio (camera and mic), and your ping speed should be around 20-30 mbps at minimum, around 50 mbps on uploads if you plan to livestream. Visit Speed Test to check your speed.

DCA: How does a teaching artist sign up?

Leiland: Click HERE for the proposal form. You can also get there by going to https://www.faae.org. The first banner on the landing page has a button that takes you to the page for the Interactive Academy, and there you will find a button to Submit a Proposal.

DCA: How do you plan to attract students to the platform?

Leiland: The FAAE has email distribution lists for memberships (over 3500), local arts agencies, and public schools arts supervisors (who will send to teachers to send to students). Also, most teaching artists already have access to the emails for past participants.

DCA: What is the ultimate goal of the initiative?

Leiland: Our initial goal is to get teaching artists working again. However, once we have a solid revenue stream it is our intention to use it to support our mission – to improve, enhance, and promote arts education. There are four school districts with less than 20% arts education. Those districts do not have elementary music or visual art classes for their students. I would like to see what we could do to change that.

DCA: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Leiland: I left teaching three years ago to be the Executive Director of the FAAE. I have never regretted that. I love being able to work with such consummate professional artists, teaching artist, and arts educators. It has been a blessing to work with the people at the Division of Cultural Affairs and the Department of Education to support arts instruction throughout the state. Thank you!

The Division thanks Leiland Theriot and Florida Alliance for Arts Education for their participation in this interview. To learn more about FAAE, visit their website: https://www.faae.org/

Interested in being featured on Culture Builds Florida? Click HERE fro the proposal form (Note: submission does not guarantee inclusion.)

Meet the Florida Council on Arts and Culture: Pat Williams

The Florida Council on Arts and Culture is the 15-member advisory council appointed to advise the Secretary of State regarding cultural grant funding and on matters pertaining to culture in Florida.

Appointments to the Council are determined by the Governor, President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, in consultation with the Secretary of State. The Governor manages seven seats that serve four-year terms. The President and Speaker manage four seats each, with terms of two years. The appointments are based on geographic representation, as well as demonstrated history of community service in the arts and culture.

In this bi-monthly series, we will introduce you to each member of the council and share their thoughts on the role of arts and culture in the state of Florida. This month, we chatted with Pat Williams. Williams was appointed to the council in 2017 by former President of the Senate Joe Negron. 

Division of Cultural Affairs (DCA): Tell us a little bit about yourself

Williams: Art: I study it, I travel to see it, I buy it and though I never did make any of note myself, I cannot imagine life without it. I brought my love of art with me when I moved to Stuart, Florida 22 years ago from Chicago, leaving behind cold winters and the beloved Art Institute. 

Soon after coming to Florida I was tapped to write a weekly column for the Palm Beach Post and then, in 2004, I took on the role of founding editor of Luminaries, Treasure Coast Newspapers’ weekly magazine covering local non-profits and charities. It was a chance to design and edit new weekly publication under the Scripps brand for a couple of years. The next adventure started when I was recruited to join the legendary Boston based PR firm Regan Communications. It was there where I earned any serious PR chops I have today. I served as Vice-President of Florida operations.   After a few years there, I hung out my shingle and opened Pat Williams & Associates, fearing the phone would never ring. We had four clients the first week.

From day one, the firm specialized in breakthrough campaigns built around my mantra: if it’s not first, best or different, then it’s not news. We represented leaders in business, law, finance, bio-medical research, education, philanthropy and the arts, and gathered a few awards along the way.

My zeal for art got rolling in the 1950s when the good Sisters of St. Joseph devoted a full 30 minutes every other Friday to giving us art lessons which meant copying a picture.   The process did not set me on fire, but those pictures that were supposed to inspire us sure did. Surrounded by art at home, I grew up knowing art was as essential to everyday life as knives and forks. I went on to get my degree in English and Anthropology and took most of my electives in art history.

In Martin County, I served on the boards of The Elliott Museum, The Pine School, The Arts Council of Martin County and Woman’s Club of Stuart, where I was president for two years. I joined Impact 100 Martin and Women Supporting the Arts as a founding member. Each organization involved the arts in some way that intrigued me.

For pure joy, I like working with creative people on projects with a steep learning curve that involves risk. To feed that beast, I produced a documentary, “Jane Davis Doggett: Wayfinder in the Jet Age,” two years ago.  It got picked up by PBS and then nominated for an Emmy and is now in syndication. Working with immensely talented people on the film is probably the closest I have come to understanding why artists crave the creative process.

DCA: What do you think of when you hear “Culture Builds Florida”?

Williams: Culture Builds Florida tells me the third most populated state in the nation understands the role culture plays in the life of great nations and great states. Lyndon Johnson said this when the National Endowment for the Arts was funded in 1965, “It is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves, and to others, the vision which guides us as a nation. Art is a nation’s most precious heritage.”

DCA: Why are the arts and culture important to our state?

Williams: Three reasons: the arts are a proven economic engine; they are powerful force to enrich the lives residents and visitors; and they provide a universal language that creates connection and understanding among people from different backgrounds.

DCA: For you, what is the most inspiring part about working in the arts?

Williams: When I see the hard evidence that thriving arts communities become a centerpiece of education, entertainment and economic growth in towns and cities across Florida.

DCA: What do you hope to accomplish as a member of the Florida Council on Arts and Culture?

Williams: I would like to see the arts more accessible to people in every county in Florida, not just in the population centers.