Tampa, Fla. (October 26, 2017) – Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture & the Arts, the only area non-profit that ‘bridges the bay’ providing programming and private sector support for arts and cultural organizations, and arts education, held its annual BCA Impact Awards fundraiser last week. TBBCA Americans for the Arts pARTners and business and community leaders, arts and cultural organizations’ board members, directors, and curators from throughout the Tampa Bay area, were greeted at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel with leading-edge technology digital displays of art by local artists, presented by California based DAYLIGHTED. Honorary Chairs Margaret Word Burnside and Aaron Fodiman, and event Co-Chairs Stephen Gay and Lorna Taylor, welcomed nearly 400 guests as they enjoyed a lively cocktail reception in the art-filled courtyard, followed by a delicious three-course dinner and exciting program. TBBCA Chair’s Circle pARTner ChappellRoberts created a special ‘sizzle reel’ that kicked off the evening, while Russell Rhodes, Anchor of Fox 13’s Good Day Tampa Bay, was the engaging Master of Ceremonies. TBBCA 2017 Charlie Hounchell Art Stars Scholarship recipient for Theatre, young high school student Natalie Cottrill, wowed the audience with her talented performance from ‘Funny Girl’. Guests were then inspired by professional videos that celebrated and recognized the 2017 Impact Awards honorees for their outstanding contributions to and in support of arts and culture.
Peter Zinober Shareholder, and Board Certified Labor and Employment Lawyer with Greenberg Traurig, was revealed as a young musical prodigy who has continued his musical pursuits alongside an equally impressive law career. TBBCA honored Zinober for his exemplary service and leadership in support of Tampa Bay arts & cultural organizations for over four decades, including as Board Chair in the nascent years of The Florida Orchestra, the Public Art Commission, the State of Florida Cultural Affairs Council, and the Hillsborough County Arts Council.
Michael Francis, internationally recognized conductor, and music director of The Florida Orchestra, received the International Artistic Achievement Impact Award. The stirring presentation on Francis had the audience on its feet, as the Maestro was lauded for his leadership and for increasing engagement with the Tampa Bay community, including bringing The Florida Orchestra to malls and hospitals, engaging with youth, schools and universities, offering free programming, and performing in communities without access to a resident orchestra – all while vigorously carrying out the vision “to make the arts central to a higher quality of life and to truly inspire, entertain, and educate a wide and diverse audience.” Gregory Yadley, senior law partner with Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, and TBBCA founder, Past President and Board Director, and Vice Chair of The Florida Orchestra Board, bestowed the award to Maestro Francis.
Neil Gobioff and Gianna Rendina-Gobioff received the TBBCA 2017 Patrons of Arts & Culture Impact Award for their support through the Gobioff Foundation of many arts organizations within Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, including USF Institute for Research in Art, Jobsite Theater and Tempus Projects. The Gobioff’s video interview shared with the audience the many grants, programs and public art the Gobioff Foundation funds, including the recently launched Treasure Tampa initiative to facilitate creative place-making.
Ruby C. Williams, nationally recognized self-taught folk artist, was heralded for her accomplishments while facing many challenges. The video presentation captured Miss Ruby’s courageous rise from the struggles of the Depression, to ministry and civil rights work, and then her return to farming and creating art in the historic African American town of Bealsville, Florida, founded by freed slaves, including her great grandmother. To make her small farm successful she opened a self-built produce stand on State Road 60, and painted brightly colored signs to attract visitors. Her paintings have been featured in books and exhibitions, galleries and museums, including The Smithsonian African American Museum in Washington, D.C. Miss Ruby remarks accepting the 2017 Lifetime Artistic Achievement Impact Award could clearly be seen to have moved the audience. The videos on 2017 Impact Awards honorees may be seen at https://www.tbbca.org/programs-events/impactawards2017/
This year’s TBBCA Impact Awards sculptures were specially commissioned and created by Mark Aeling, MGA Sculpture studio. The musical entertainment was provided by Austin Vickrey Jazz Quartet. TBBCA announced next Impact Awards date of October 18, 2018.