• Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture & the Arts Announces Distinguished Judges for 2017 Charlie Hounchell Art Stars Scholarships Program

    Experts will select recipients in six categories of scholarships to help fund their higher education in the arts


    TAMPA, Fla. (March 27, 2017) – Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts (TBBCA) is pleased to introduce its 2017 Charlie Hounchell Art Stars Scholarships Program Judges. For each category to which high school juniors and seniors from Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties have applied, the judges who bring their unique expertise are: Joanna Robotham, Visual Arts; Lisa Unger, Literary Arts; Eugenie Bondurant, Theatre; Dawne Eubanks, Vocal Music; Paul Wilborn, Instrumental Music; and Helen Hansen French, Dance.

    “TBBCA thanks our judges who are each extremely knowledgeable in their field, for volunteering to adjudicate applications submitted by a highly competitive talent pool of high school juniors and seniors from across the Tampa Bay area,” said Susana Weymouth, TBBCA’s executive director. “These judges play an important role in helping TBBCA to continue to support and promote arts education in the Tampa Bay area through this scholarship program founded by TBBCA Past President, the late Charlie Hounchell, and named in his honor.”

    TBBCA Charlie Hounchell Art Stars Scholarships provide valuable funding resources to some of the most talented students in the nation, helping defray their tuition expenses at the college, university, conservatory or professional arts training program of their choice. Since 2008, TBBCA has awarded 55 scholarships, all but 9 to students from public high schools. The 2017 CHASS winners will be announced in early April and an awards ceremony will be held Wednesday, May 17h at TBBCA Cultural pARTner The Tampa Museum of Art. The public are invited to attend.


    Visual Arts Judge Joanna Robotham joined the staff of the Tampa Museum of Art as the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art in 2016. She previously held the Neubauer Family Foundation Assistant Curator position at the Jewish Museum in New York City where she worked for over 10 years. Ms. Robotham is the curator of the Museum’s current exhibition, Alex Katz: Black and White. At the Jewish Museum, she was the curator of Becoming Jewish: Warhol’s Liz and Marilyn (2015) and organized the exhibition Masterpieces & Curiosities: Nicole Eisenman’s Seder (2015). In 2014, she worked with Jens Hoffmann, Deputy Director, on Other Primary Structures, a large-scale sculpture show that revisited The Jewish Museum’s seminal 1966 exhibition of minimalist art, Primary Structures: Younger American and British Sculptors.  Past projects include Dani Gal: As from Afar (2014), Jack Goldstein x 10,000 (2013) and Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) (2011). She received her M.A. in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and earned a B.A. in Art History and Political Science from the University of Washington.

    Literary Arts Judge Lisa Unger is the New York Times and internationally bestselling, award-winning author of fifteen novels, including THE RED HUNTER (April 2017) and INK AND BONE (2016 Goodreads Choice Award Finalist.) Her books are published in twenty-six languages worldwide, have sold millions of copies and have been named “Best of the Year” or top picks by the Today show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Weekly, Amazon.com, Independent Booksellers, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and the Sun Sentinel to name a few. Unger’s essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR and Travel+Leisure Magazine. It’s hard to compare Lisa Unger to any of her contemporaries. Unique, inventive, and often experimental, her writing is impossible to categorize.  She combines her extensive knowledge of the human psyche with an understanding of trauma and fear to create novels that have earned her a reputation as one of the most skilled practitioners of the psychological thriller around today. Throughout her career, she has deftly walked the fine line between literary novels and commercial thrillers all the while hitting The New York Times bestseller lists and earning both critical acclaim and millions of fans worldwide. Lisa Unger lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with her husband, daughter and labradoodle.

    CHASS Theatre JudgeEugenie Bondurant’s long and slightly strange career has taken her from the runways of New York and Paris to a featured role as “Tigris” in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. At 6’-1”, with knife-blade cheekbones, Bondurant, was “discovered” after a bout with cancer left her looking especially exotic and androgynous.  She was soon a working model in the U.S. and Europe. A modeling trip to Los Angeles led to an acting career. She created a string of characters in TV and film – including Fight Club (with Ed Norton); Saturday Night Live (with Madonna and Mike Myers); as Alice Cooper’s favorite Dominatrix on the TV series Something Wilder (with comedian Gene Wilder); on HBO’s Arliss; in the indie feature, Donald and Dot Clock; in NCIS: New Orleans, and many others. When The Hunger Games’ director, Francis Lawrence, went looking for an actor to play Tigris, a pivotal character enhanced to be both female and feline, a nationwide search led them to Bondurant. She is also a cabaret singer, appearing in the American Songbook Series with Paul Wilborn and Blue Roses and a founder of The Radio Theater Project. A well-known on-camera acting coach, Bondurant, is a staff member at the prestigious Patel Conservatory in Tampa.

    Vocal Music Judge Dawne Wisner Eubanks holds a BA Degree in Vocal Music from Florida State University, and currently teaches voice at Eckerd College and the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School. Her solo career has led her to the stages of Carnegie Hall, Dallas’ Meyerson Symphony Center, and locally, the Mahaffey Theatre, Ruth Eckerd Hall, and the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. She has sung roles with the Florida Opera Company, Florida Opera West, Inc., Royalty Theatre Company, St. Pete City Theatre, and has been a featured guest soloist with The Florida Orchestra, The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Florida Orchestra Master Chorale, and the Turtle Creek Chorale. Recent performances include the soprano solos in Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass”, and “Creation”, Mozart’s “Exsultate Jubilate”, Handel’s “Messiah”, Bach’s “Magnificat”, and Mozart’s “Coronation Mass”, all with members of The Florida Orchestra. Dawne maintains a private vocal studio in St. Petersburg, is an active recitalist, and is Music and Worship Leader at the First Baptist Church of St. Pete, in addition to being a sought after vocal coach and adjudicator for competitions and festivals in voice, choral music, musical theatre, and piano.     

    Instrument Music Judge Paul Wilborn is the Executive Director of the Palladium Theater at St. Petersburg College. Under his leadership the Palladium has won numerous “Best of the Bay” awards and is recognized as the top venue for jazz, blues, choral music, chamber music and dance in the bay area. Paul is a pianist, musician and bandleader. His American Songbook Series presents intimate cabaret shows at American Stage Theater and other venues around Florida. As founder and leader of Paul Wilborn and the Pop Tarts, he played most major venues in the Tampa Bay area for 15 years. He is a founding member of the WMNF and Studio at 620 Radio Theater Project and contributes radio plays to the project. Paul serves as an adjudicator to a number of music competitions.


    Prior to joining the Palladium, Wilborn worked for Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio as Manager of Creative Industries. Major accomplishments included increasing community support for artists and arts organizations, connecting the arts and the economic development communities, and directing Arte 2007, Tampa Bay’s Festival of Latin American Arts. Before joining the city, Wilborn was an award-winning reporter and columnist for the Tampa Tribune, the St. Petersburg Times and the Associated Press in Los Angeles. He was a member of the St. Petersburg Times’ Editorial Board for two years. He is a graduate of the University of South Florida and a Tampa native. 

    Dance Judge Helen Hansen French is a native of St. Petersburg, Florida. She received her BFA from The Juilliard School in 2001. In addition to BDT’s annual New York City seasons she has toured nationally and internationally performing in such venues as, the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Chautauqua Dance Festival, Vail International Dance Festival, Rishon LeZion International Festival in Israel, and the Oriente Occidente Festival in Rovereto, Italy. Mrs. French has been instrumental in staging BDT’s works at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Pieve International School in Italy, North Carolina Dance Theater, and numerous colleges and universities through out the United States. In addition to working with BDT Mrs. French is also a member of Karen Reedy Dance and has had the pleasure of performing with Nilas Martins’ Dance Company, participating in a residency at White Oak Dance working with choreographer Adam Hougland, and performing in the Guggenheim’s Works/Process program with Brian Reeder and Pam Tanowitz.  As a choreographer/movement maker Mrs. French focuses on collaborations and exploring the relationship between dance and other art forms. In support of these endeavours she has been awarded a 2015 and 2016 Individual Artist Grant from the City of St. Petersburg and she is also a 2016 Creative Pinellas Artist Fellow. Her work has been shown at The Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Clark Studio Theater, Kaatsbaan, Studio@620, The Palladium and St. Petersburg College.  

    Helen is deeply committed to arts education and developing the next generation of artists as well as contributing to the community in which she lives. She is a founding member of the St. Petersburg Dance Alliance, www.spdancealliance.com, and co-producer of Beacon: a performance series for St. Pete. In addition to teaching dance to all ages Mrs. French is also a certified Alexander Technique teacher. She has served on the dance faculties at George Mason University, The Juilliard School, Flint Hill School (VA), the Neighborhood Playhouse (NYC), John Hopkins Middle School and St. Petersburg College. 


    About Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture & the Arts


    TBBCA is a non-profit organization founded in 1989, and one of 11 national “Business Committees for the Arts,” part of the pARTnership Movement and Private Sector Network of Americans for the Arts. TBBCA’s mission is to unite area businesses to champion arts and culture for a prosperous community with the philosophy that “the arts are good for business and business is good for the arts.” TBBCA Charlie Hounchell Art Stars Scholarships provide valuable funding and support for arts education.


    TBBCA Charlie Hounchell Art Stars Scholarships and other programs are made possible through the generosity of individuals and businesses, including Chair’s Circle pARTners: Premier Eye Care; Strategic Property Partners; The Tampa Bay Lightning; Stephen Gay & Associates, Realtors; Linda and Michael Connelly; Beaux Arts Group; Greenberg Traurig; Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP; DeBartolo Family Foundation; The Wilson Company; The Tampa Bay Times/tbt*; Tampa Bay Magazine; ChappellRoberts; Cox Media Group; Savoir Faire Creative; Alex McKnight ArchivaImages, and others. Please consider making a tax deductible donation online www.tbbca.org. For information on CHASS sponsorship and naming opportunities, contact TBBCA Executive Director susanaweymouth@tbbca.org or (813) 221-2787.