TAMPA, Fla. (March 17, 2016) – Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts (TBBCA) is pleased to announce its 2016 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: Eugenie Bondurant, Theatre; Lisa Unger, Literary Arts; Dawne Eubanks, Vocal Music; Paul Wilborn, Instrumental Music; Helen Hansen French, Dance; and Michael Murphy, Visual Arts.
“TBBCA thanks our distinguished panel of judges for volunteering to adjudicate the large number of applications submitted by a competitive talent pool from across the Tampa Bay area,” said Susana Weymouth, TBBCA executive director. “TBBCA is proud to continue our important mission 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.”
Since 2007, TBBCA has annually provided valuable funding resources to some of the most talented high school students in the nation, helping them to pursue higher education in the arts at the college, university or professional arts training program of their choice. The judges will select six students, one in each category, to be awarded $2,500 each.
The 2016 CHASS winners will be announced in early April and an awards ceremony will be held Wednesday, May 11 at TBBCA Cultural pARTner The Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg. The awards ceremony is free and open to the public.
CHASS Theatre Judge Eugenie 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-feet-1-inches, 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; Saturday Night Live; as Alice Cooper’s favorite Dominatrix on the TV series Something Wilder; HBO’s Arliss; the indie feature Donald and Dot Clock; 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.
Literary Arts Judge Lisa Unger is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of fourteen novels, including her new thriller INK AND BONE (June 7, 2016) and 2015’s CRAZY LOVE YOU, a creepy and complex tale of obsession, addiction, and more, which The Washington Post calls a “sinister thriller.” Never one to play it safe, Unger pushes the boundaries and “scores another bull’s eye,” says Kirkus. Additional accolades include selections as a Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee for Best Book, International Thriller Writers Finalist for Best Novel, France’s Prix Polar International Best Book Finalist, Silver Falchion Award Winner for Best Book, Florida Book Award Winner, Bookspan International Book of the Month, Target Emerging Author, Indie Next Book of the Month, and Best Book of the Year (Sun Sentinel, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Suspense Magazine, and Amazon).
Unger’s books are published in 26 languages worldwide, have sold millions of copies and have been named top picks by the NBC Today show, CBS Good Morning America, Walmart Book Club, Harper’s Bazaar, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Publishers Weekly, Washington Life, New York Daily News, Entertainment Weekly and more. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR and Travel+Leisure Magazine. Unger currently lives in Tampa Bay, Florida with her husband, daughter and labradoodle.
Vocal Music Judge Dawne Wisner Eubanks holds a bachelor’s 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, the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, 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. Eubanks 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.
Instrumental 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. Wilborn 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 received her BFA from The Juilliard School in 2001. Upon graduating she was invited to join Buglisi Dance Theatre. Tobi Tobias of the NYC Village Voice hailed her as “altogether luminous,” and Nancy Wozney of ArtsHouston says her “generous and radiant performance stands out.” 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. French has been instrumental in staging BDT’s works at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, North Carolina Dance Theater, The Alvin/Ailey Fordham B.F.A. program, George Mason University, University of California at Long Beach, and Richmond University.
In addition to working with BDT French is also a member of Karen Reedy Dance, most recently starring in a dance film Les falaises, which was released in 2015. She has participated in a residency at White Oak Dance, performed with Nilas Martins’ Dance Company, in the Guggenheim’s Works/Process program, and presented a solo show at Studio@620 featuring the re-created works of Ruth St. Denis, Doris Humphrey and Jacqulyn Buglisi. Her own choreography has been shown at The Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Clark Studio Theater, Kaatsbaan, Studio@620, and St. Petersburg College. She was awarded a 2015 Individual Artist Grant from the city of St. Petersburg to help fund the creation of When in the Within, a movement love letter to her hometown of St. Petersburg. Helen is committed to arts education and developing the next generation of artists as well as contributing to the arts community she lives in. She is a founding member of the St. Pete Dance Alliance and co-producer of BEACON: a performance series for St. Pete. She has taught at the dance faculties at George Mason University, The Juilliard School, Flint Hill School in Virginia and the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, and currently is on faculty at John Hopkins Middle School and St. Petersburg College teaching the Alexander Technique as well as dance.
Visual Arts Judge Michael Murphy is a South Tampa native and founder/owner of one of Tampa’s most highly regarded art galleries and master framers. Murphy’s art career began with an after-school art gallery job when he was just 14 years old. His early art experiences exposed him to the professional art world and gave him the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and meet and work for art legends including Robert Rauschenberg. Michael Murphy Gallery/Gallery M is praised for its support of local and national, emerging and established artists, and for its high quality, masterful framing. Murphy has represented prestigious, well-known international artists as well.
With the “Modern Masters” exhibit, Murphy’s eponymous gallery proudly displayed the works of Pierre Matisse and Alexandre Renoir, notable and successful artists on their own and namesake kin to the legendary French artists Henri Matisse and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Also exhibited were the works of the historical masters Chagall, Miro, Picasso, and Henri Matisse. Murphy’s gallery has shown the amazing art of Alexandra Nechita, a young influential artist, dubbed a prodigy before having her first exhibit at the age of 8, and likened to Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall. Michael Murphy gallery currently represents and exhibits Patrick “Shane” Pendley and Bassimi Ibrahim, among other acclaimed artists. Murphy has served on several charitable boards, including America’s Second Harvest Food Bank, the Chamber and Culture Affairs Committee, and the board of the Florida chapter of PPFA.
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.” Through pARTnerships and sustainable programs, TBBCA provides advocacy, valuable funding resources and support for arts education, artists, and arts and cultural organizations, and builds awareness of arts and culture as important economic drivers in our community and essential contributors to our quality of life.
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; MedHOK, Inc.; Stephen Gay & Associates, Realtors; Linda and Michael Connelly; The Wilson Company; The Tampa Bay Times/tbt*; Tampa Bay Magazine; Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP; B2 Communications and Alex McKnight Archival Images. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation online at www.tbbca.org. For information on CHASS sponsorship and naming opportunities, please contact TBBCA Executive Director Susana Weymouth at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 221-2787.