The Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists visits USF

The Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists visited the USF campus to share their knowledge and expertise  with students.

The goal of TBABJ is to encourage students of color to pursue their interests in media.

Some of the biggest TV personalities who are involved in this chapter include: Rod Carter, Corey Davis, Garin Flowers, and Saundra Weathers. A few of these reporters took a trip to The University of South Florida to put on a workshop for college students.

“We work together to make sure we are addressing the needs of our community and making sure their stories and voices are heard,” TBABJ leader Loraine McBride said.

The Tampa Bay chapter was established in 1990. TBABJ represents journalists who live in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Citrus, Hernando, Polk, Manatee and Pasco county. Some of the goals this organization has are: bringing  together black journalists who work in related fields, serving  as clearinghouses for employment within the media, sponsoring events that encourage professional development among journalists of color, and awarding scholarships to promising young black journalists who plan on pursuing  careers on media.

“I feel like it’s important to give back to college students because someone once helped me and I was once in their shoes,” said McBride. “Someone took the time to sit down with me and it made a tremendous difference in my life. I got every single job that I really wanted. It made a difference.”

The members of this organization shared their expertise and backstories about how they began their journalism careers. When it comes to beginning  a career, some of the important tips they gave students are being  proactive and landing internships.

“I would encourage students to career shadow,” said McBride  “Learn how to pick up the camera. Learn everything you can because when you walk across that stage on graduation day, there is nothing like the feeling of leaving and  knowing  what it’s like to work in the news field.”

The second part of the workshop was dedicated to working with students one on one to give them critiques on their resumes and demo reels. The media professionals sat down and answered any questions that the students had. This organization is a keen on helping students in any way they can.

Some of the advice they gave in regards to resumes included: putting the most relevant information at the top, composing it  to look neat and professional, and being  descriptive.

In addition to workshops, this organization hosts a Gala once a year to give out awards and scholarships. Nada Blassy, a USF student, was the scholarship winner last year. She was awarded a $1,000 dollar scholarship for her achievements.

“I received a scholarship from the TBABJ for writing a news story relvant to Tampa Bay” Blassy said. “It was a great addition to my resume. Through this organization I find myself meeting people that are already working in the field and that is something a lot of students don’t get to say. So, I’m very grateful to this organization for helping me get my foot in the door.”

Bean Garden brings new art to St. Pete

The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg unveiled a new interactive installation last month called “The Bean Garden.”

Sitting in the center of the Atchison gallery is what appears to be a sand box.  The Bean Garden is filled with 2,500 pounds of dried great northern beans surrounded in a frame of solid juniper. It took about six museum employees to pour in all of the beans.

This interactive piece was created by Allison Knowles as part of the Fluxus movement, a period of art history that the museum hasn’t addressed before. According to MFA Curator Katherine Pill, it’s exciting for the museum to be able to fill in the gap of art history to showcase an incredible female performance artist.

“It is so cool to be able to feature a woman artist, it brings a lot to this museum,” Pill said.

The Bean Garden encapsulates a lot of the ideas of the Fluxus movement.  It is uniquely situated at MFA where usually you are not allowed to touch the artwork. Fluxus asks: who deems art? It says art is for everyone,  it should be treated as such. Employees expressed that it is an interesting statement to be exploring at the museum.

MFA borrowed this exhibit from a gallery in South Florida. According to Pill, the curator of the museum, Jade Dellinger, is an incredible source for Fluxus art.

“For Allison Knowles the artist, she was interested in the nourishment and the comfort that comes from food and its ability to bring people together.” Pill said.

Guests are invited to take off their shoes, put on the socks provided and then enter the installation, with  three people allowed to enter at a time. There is a sound box at the bottom of the Bean Garden. When you walk in it, it amplifies the sound made, casting a loud crunching sound that some find entertaining. 

Employees at the museum hope that there’s even a sense of camaraderie that comes over someone when they enter the exhibit. The Bean Garden was created to showcase an important message of art, but to also be a release of energy. When people enter the Bean Garden it brings them back to a “child-like” state. This was the artist’s intentions. The artists thought it was important for people to relax and have fun. She stressed that if you can combine the beauty of art and create a fun aspect then you have completed your mission.