With Arts & Entertainment Editor Kathy L. Collins

The SouthShore Arts Council has issued A Call To Artists seeking artists to commission public art for the South Hillsborough County area. The project is called SouthShore Community Arts and the call is open to professional artists living within a 50-mile radius of Apollo Beach. The artist must have experience working with the community members to develop, fabricate and install public art.

Interested regional artists must submit a letter of interest and qualifications by October 15. The letter must address the artist’s vision, interest and qualifications for the project. Interested artists must also briefly describe how their process will involve community interaction or participation, and how it will contribute to the design and implementation of the project.

Interested artists will be required to sign a contract with the SouthShore Arts Council, pass a background check, engage and participate in meetings with the Council, community members and stakeholders. The artists must also adhere to a timeline set by the Council to complete the project.

The vision behind this project is to engage the community, through art, to identify a common voice among the various communities that make up the South Shore area. Presently, the geographically close communities of Apollo Beach, Balm, Gibsonton, Ruskin, Riverview, Sun City Center and Wimauma struggle to find common threads among their differences. It is the hope of the SouthShore Arts Council, that this project will help to reconnect these communities culturally.

Michael Parker, president of the SouthShore Arts Council said, “We are in a position to elevate public art in the area parallel to the rapid growth of the area. We are looking forward to working with professional artists to make a cultural statement and impact in these neighborhoods.” Parker added, “We are open to formulating ideas with artists to showcase how high quality, publicly accessible works of art can contribute not only to the urban landscape, but also the suburban, rural and natural landscape to create a sense of place.”

The project is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, The South Shore Chamber of Commerce and the Black Rock Arts Foundation. In the past, this project has produced three very large public murals (Head Heart and Hands, Seed to Bloom and Best Little Town and a nationally recognized community based documentary film called South County.

For more information and to get the specific information needed for the letter of interest, please visit www.southshoreartscouncil.org.

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