Photo by Linda Chion Kenney
Lisa Rodriguez and Dawn Galia of Center Place presented Tad Denham of Tampa Electric with the new Center Place award- C.A.R.E. (Corporate Award Recognizing Excellence).

Center Place’s annual Arts Gala has become one of the greater Brandon area’s signature events, one that is eagerly looked forward to each year. This year’s Arts Gala held in April was no exception.

This year’s theme was Rock-n-Roll and more than 250 people put on their jeans and rock star T-shirts and attended the Gala at the TPepin Hospitality Centre in Tampa. This was a fitting theme when you take into consideration the special guest appearance by Jeremy Rosado, a local star from American Idol. Rosado performed three different times throughout the evening. “He was amazing! Jeremy is a wonderful young man from Valrico who has a tremendously talented voice and will go far. Our community is very fortunate to have such a star,” said Lisa Rodriguez, marketing director for Center Place.

The annual Arts Gala is Center Place’s biggest fundraiser. “This year’s gala was again a successful event, which, in turn, gives Center Place the financial means to continue our mission of providing easy access to the arts,” said Rodriguez.
In addition to raising much needed funds, the annual Arts Gala is a time present scholarships and awards.

The Pat B. Odiorne Scholarship was awarded to Casey Field, a Valrico resident who will graduate from Bloomingdale High School this year. Field was given the $1,000 scholarship for her active involvement in the arts. Field will attend the University of Florida.

The Annual S.L. “Spud” Clements Award was given to Bill and Connie Durkin of Durkin & Mason, CPAs, P.A. for their tireless support of Center Place.

This year, Center Place created a new award, the Corporate Award Recognizing Excellence (C.A.R.E.), to celebrate a business which has made significant contributions to Center Place and the arts. The award was given to Tampa Electric for its continued support of Center Place both financially and through the volunteer efforts of its employees.

 “With this award, we honor a business which is actively engaged in the cultural life of the greater Brandon community,” said Rodriguez. “Center Place believes that the arts make a positive difference in our lives, in our children’s lives and in our community,” added Rodriguez.

Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association Inc. is located at 619 Vonderburg Dr. For more information, visit or call 685-8888.

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