University of South Florida Student Recitals

The University of South Florida’s School of Music currently features its own junior and senior students during recital season.

Recitals are a part of both junior and senior music majors’ curriculum.

Junior and music education major Kelsey Donahoo had her clarinet recital March 31.

“I was just so excited to show everyone all these technical abilities that I’m able to do,” Donahoo said. “Once I took that final bow I was thinking ‘Wow, that’s another big step towards graduation. It’s almost here.’ ”

Students are responsible for not only picking and practicing their musical selections, but reserving the room and getting the word out too.

They create the flyers that are posted throughout the School of Music as well as the programs that are handed out to people as they walk into the Lewis and Enid Barness Recital Hall.

“I think it’s a great bonding thing for everybody,” said physics major and vocalist Regina Battista. “I think it’s such a great opportunity for everybody to learn and for everybody to learn about each other as well.”

Recitals take plenty of preparation with music students practicing many months prior to when recital season starts. They also have weekly lessons with their assigned music professor to practice their pieces.

“In college you’re mostly in your ensembles and then I’m focusing on teaching,” said Donahoo. “So to be able to build up my clarinet professional skills up to this level to be able to perform my own solo performance was an amazing experience.”

Recital season will continue until the end of the month.

NOMAD Art Bus Paints Smiles on Faces of Tampa Bay Children

Carrie Boucher’s mouth moves and syllables pirouette out. Sometimes they’re punctuated by smiles. Sometimes they’re not.

When she talks about the way she started her project — an interactive mobile art machine — you can see the enthusiasm swell in her eyes and pool to her feet in a colorful swirl.

Every so often, she tucks a piece of brown hair behind her ear with paint-stained hands: mermaid blue, ballerina pink and Fruit Gushers green. She continues talking, but the hands tell her story as the former teacher who refused to let art be treated trivially. In fact, Boucher grew up flouting the rules.

“In art class I quietly broke the rules and used tools and materials in any way I imagined might lead me to a new discovery,” Boucher wrote on her blog.

Beneath the dried tempera, her hands are worn. She spent a year teaching art to children in schools before she became “Lead Nomad” in her new venture: an art bus that travels to festivals and occasionally serves as an after-school program.

How could she expect to teach children to create, to express themselves and to love art if they kept getting pulled for FCAT tutoring?

“There will always be children who won’t be good at reading or math,” Boucher said. “But to not give them exposure to other things they might be good at and feel good about that could lead to a career for them is really limiting, and that’s frustrating to me.”

Instead of complaining about the school system, Boucher set out to create.

The art teacher wanted to create a program in St. Petersburg that would offer kids the resources to express themselves through art. She wanted everyone to have access, even if they couldn’t afford it or didn’t have the transportation. As her non-profit’s creed says, she wanted to bring the art-making experience to the people.

The NOMAD Art Bus was born.

From the inside, the bus is a shabby slice of an art classroom. The art lesson changes with the scene, but on one recent day, red Solo cups hugged Crayolas on a long plank where children, parents, and a few hipster strays escape from the mayhem of Localtopia 2015 to fold origami squares into hearts. Volunteers offer their heart-folding guidance and LEDs to nestle in the squares to make their hearts shine.

From the outside, the bus is an art-making temple. It’s hard to imagine the brightly splattered machine as its naked predecessor. The sherbet-colored brushstrokes on its exterior offer excerpts from hundreds of children and families: “Bikes for Life,” “Recycle,” “Love your planet,” “R hearts K,” “Follow me on Instagram,” “Aliens Exist,” and “To Shelby.” Beneath the paint lies ghosts of brushstrokes from thousands more. Although this time the bus is dipped in complementary hues of pinks and oranges, the bus was once a calamity of crayon.

Originally, the nomadic bus was doctor’s-coat-white. You wouldn’t have known the difference between the NOMAD Art Bus and a greasy moving van. Boucher knew something would eventually be painted on the outside of the bus — maybe a mural, she thought.

The monotone mobile made its way to the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts in 2014. The line to get inside the bus was snaking infinitely, and guests were getting bored and leaving. In attempts to keep her guests entertained long enough to stay in line and experience the inside of the bus, Boucher unveiled the crayons, and the iconic colorful exterior of the art bus was born.

Although the team switched to tempera, little has changed since.

When Carina Giuffre, 8, was asked outside about her favorite part of the bus, she held up her dripping pink art wand, appearing lost in introspection.

“Painting,” Carina said.

Washing it is another story.

USF fine arts graduates put what they’ve learned on display

Clayton Petras is one of only 20 University of South Florida students graduating with a bachelor of fine arts this semester. One of the requirements to earn his degree is to collaborate with classmates and plan his final show at USF.

The weeklong USF Thesis Exhibit is hosted by the graduating seniors majoring in fine arts.

“You’re making a concise body of work and basically showing of the best of what you’ve learned,” Petras said.

A mix of art forms,from painting to sculpture to photography and more, will be displayed at the exhibit. Petras and fellow BFA student John Berdanier are both printmakers.

“I found printmaking as a way to create art faster, more efficiently, and I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve learned” Berdanier said.

Petras started working with the medium in high school and fell in love with it.

“I kind of already knew what I wanted to do, and that was a big step in terms of freshman year,” Petras said. “When everyone is taking their ‘gen-eds,’ I’m just taking them to get them out of they way so I can be taking art classes full time.”

Petras’ artwork typically depicts human and various animals’ anatomies. He says his mother, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, has largely influenced the subject matter of his art.

“My mom has Parkinson’s, and so just watching the mental breakdown, as well as the physical one that affects the body — those are kind of the themes I’m dealing with: decay and death and the inevitability of it, but also the beauty in it,” Petras said.

The USF Thesis Exhibit will be debut April 20 and run through May 1 at The Vault in downtown Tampa. For more information, visit

Photo Gallery: Local Designer showcases Earth-inspired fashions for her new line

For years, Julia Chew has been creating fashions out of her Tampa home for her line, “Xiaolin.” At 20-years-old, Chew has already made hundreds of items that have been showcased across the globe. She is currently working on the “Phoenix Bird” that will be displayed at an upcoming fashion show.

Although it may look like a regular living room, to Julia Chew, a designer, it’s a place where her creativity is brought to life.
Chew’s creations  usually begin on paper, and when they are ready to be conceived, she gathers her fabric and a few simple tools including needles, thread and measurement sticks.
Chew begins with a dress form that works as the blank canvas for her fashions.
After hours of hand sewing, Chew uses the dress form to hold her handmade fashions, like the “Phoenix Bird.”
Inspired by the Earth and its animals, many of Chew’s designs feature colors and elements common to the planet. On the “Phoenix Bird,” in particular, Chew hand sews hundreds of dyed feathers onto the dress.
For years, Chew has been designing fashions like the “Phoenix Bird.” Her line, “Xiaolin,” has been displayed in boutiques around the country and recognized in magazines and fashion shows across the world. Photos by Cassaundra Palmer.


Photo Gallery: The Faces Modeling Troupe Brings Crime Scene Style to USF

The Marshall Center Ballroom at the University of South Florida appeared to be a crime scene the evening of March 15 as The Faces Modeling Troupe and USF’s Faces collegiate chapter took the stage with a CSI-themed fashion show. There are seven Faces Modeling Troupes throughout Florida, and the USF chapter is making its comeback.

The USF chapter’s vice president and fashion coordinator, Jessica Davis-Hall, says the CSI theme is about “where we have come from and where we’ve been. We have been missing from campus, and the story evolves with us reappearing in the crime story.”

Faces, a non-profit organization, puts on shows every semester.

The collegiate chapter adviser, Terry White, said Faces helps to “keep kids from getting in trouble and help aspiring models get their name out there.”

CAUTION: extreme sexy about to take the stage in the Marshall Center Ballroom Sunday night with the Faces Modeling Troupe USF chapter.

Rows of seats wait to be filled right before USF’s Faces Modeling Troupe’s CSI-themed event Sunday, March 15, 2015. The caution tape warns of the extremely sexy models taking stage at 7 p.m. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fairchild)

Terry White, the USF Faces chapter advisor, receives news that the doors are about to burst with excited patrons.

Terry White, the USF Faces Modeling Troupe chapter advisor, receives word that excited patrons are waiting outside the door of the Marshall Center Ballroom for the CSI-themed event Sunday, March 15, 2015, at 7 p.m.

Anticipation rises as fashion show patrons wait to support their favorite models.

Patrons and Fashion lovers wait for USF’s Faces Modeling Troupe’s CSI-themed fashion show to begin, and their favorite models to walk out in the Marshall Center Ballroom on Sunday, March 15, 2015, at 7 p.m. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fairchild)

"We got any Jamaicans in the house?" Eager patrons rep their heritage at the FCSI Fashion Show.

Eager patrons respond to the question “We got any Jamaicans in the house?” at USF’s Faces Modeling Troupe’s CSI fashion show Sunday, March 15, 2015, at 7 p.m. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fairchild)

Draped in caution tape and black patent later, Jessica Davis-Hall  is no stranger to the camera. Work those angles, girl!

Draped in caution tape and black patent leather, Jessica Davis-Hall is no stranger to the camera as she walks down the catwalk at USF’s Faces Modeling Troupe’s CSI fashion show Sunday, March 15, 2015. Work those angles, Girl! (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fairchild)


Donning nude leotards, the “Autopsy” act features models of all shapes and sizes at USF’s Faces Modeling Troupe’s CSI fashion show Sunday, March 15, 2015. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fairchild)

"Faces has been left vulnerable. Betrayal has ruined Faces and left it to fend for itself." The "Autopsy" act featured all shapes and sizes donning nude leotards.

Donning nude leotards, the “Autopsy” act features models of all shapes and sizes at USF’s Faces Modeling Troupe’s CSI fashion show Sunday, March 15, 2015. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fairchild)

The stems on Jessica Davis-Hall are hard to ignore as she struts the runway during the "Autopsy" act in a sparkly nude leotard.

Donning nude leotards, the “Autopsy” act features models of all shapes and sizes at USF’s Faces Modeling Troupe’s CSI fashion show Sunday, March 15, 2015. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fairchild)

During intermission,  fashionable male attendees take to the catwalk and compete for "best dressed."

During intermission, fashionable male attendees take to the catwalk and compete for “best dressed” at USF’s Faces Modeling Troupe’s CSI fashion show Sunday, March 15, 2015. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fairchild)

The "Conviction/ Acquitted" act featured more stripes than a jail in summertime. These models got the stripes and the groove.

The “Conviction/ Acquitted” act features more stripes than a jail in summertime at USF’s Faces Modeling Troupe’s CSI fashion show Sunday, March 15, 2015. These models have the stripes and the groove. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fairchild)

Friends of Jessica Davis-Hall show congratulatory love to their favorite model, fashion coordinator and vice president of the Faces USF chapter.

Friends of Jessica Davis-Hall show congratulatory hugs to their favorite model, fashion coordinator and vice president of the Faces USF chapter at the CSI fashion show Sunday, March 15, 2015. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fairchild)

All models take your places! The FACES gang gathers for a final photo after a successful fashion show.

The models of USF’s Faces Modeling Troupe gather for a photo after a successful CSI fashion show Sunday, March 15, 2015. All models take your places! (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fairchild)



USF senior passionate about performing arts shoots for the stars

Many have fantasized, at one point or another, about being a famous entertainer. Most, however, do not pursue those dreams.  Naomy Ambroise, a young Tampa performer,  is determined to turn those dreams into reality.

Ambroise is a senior enrolled in the School of Theatre and Dance at the University of South Florida.   She has only been involved in theater since high school, but if you ask the students at the college, Ambroise’s name stands out.

“Naomy is very multi-talented, very dedicated and truly inspiring,” said Danielle James, fellow dance and theater arts student.

Being a performing arts career is not easy.  Besides theater performance, students take ballet classes on body disciplines and memorize pieces for performance in class regularly. The two weeks while a show is being put on require 14-hour days.

“I chose to be a performing arts major because there was just like a satisfaction you get from being able to reach people,” said Ambroise.

Ambroise has been involved in four productions while at USF.  She recently auditioned in New York for acceptance into theater graduate schools; 11 more are interested.  She plans to attend after graduation or become an apprentice for a theater company.


In the past decade, 3D printing has seen a large rise on the consumer front. Three years ago the University of South Florida brought this resource to students and faculty.

Using their Bullbucks, students can make 3D prints for $0.06 per ounce, with a minimum print of $1.00 . The 3D printing lab is located in the Advanced Visualization Center (AVC).

The physical aspect of the 3-D prints has drawn students of different disciplines, like Matthew Wedebrock, who works in the 3D printing lab.

“I like to make simulations, video games, so being able to actually take some of those 3D models and see them, feel them in real life, is a wonderful thing,” said Wedebrock.

In order to be able to make a print, students must come with a 3D model, which can be created from scratch on a variety of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) programs or found on social media sharing sites.

Howard Kaplan is a visualization developer in the Advanced Visualization Center. Kaplan,a graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design, has 10 years of digital arts experience.

“There are many different ways in which you can get a 3D model. You can use a CAD software to build up your model, you can use digital sculpting tools that are freely available,” said Kaplan. “Even Photoshop has the ability of taking an image and kind of doing a 2D, 2.5D, or 3D extrude to it and then exporting out for 3D printing.”

Several times during the semester, CAD workshops are given in SCA 222. The printing lab is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Visualization Lab is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information, visit the AVC website at

Spanish restaurant in Tampa still dances with tradition

 Ybor City’s Spanish and Cuban restaurant, the Columbia, was founded by Casimiro Hernandez Sr. in 1905. The Spanish traditions of the restaurant have been carried through family generations for over 100 years.

2014-11-29 12.08.39

“I enjoy the food here,” said Columbia customer Mark Anthony Puglio. “The food here is excellent. It always has been, since I was young.”

Continue reading “Spanish restaurant in Tampa still dances with tradition”

Old Tampa cigar factory repurposes property, emerges as community cornerstone

A historic three-story brick building has become a hot spot for artists in Tampa.

Santaella Studio for the ArtsBuilt in 1904 by wealthy cigar maker Antonio Santaella, the building was the home of the Santaella Cigar Factory.

The Santaella Cigar Factory was not only known for being one of the largest and most Babe Ruth at Santaella Cigar Factoryefficiently equipped factories in the city, but also for being Babe Ruth’s favorite place to stock up on cigars.


After being vacant for four years, Gray Ellis never thought he’d come to be the owner of such a factory.

Continue reading “Old Tampa cigar factory repurposes property, emerges as community cornerstone”

KES The Band brings Caribbean flair to USF

Kees Dieffenthaller and DJ Robbie perform at the Caribbean Culture Exchange’s general body meeting. (Photo by Jasmin Lankford)

The energy in the room was electrifying. Toes were tapping and hands were clapping to the rhythm of Caribbean drums, guitars and a single soulful voice. Instantly, a woman felt as if she was standing on a beach in Trinidad, surrounded by clear water. Instead, she was inside the Marshall Student Center at the University of South Florida.

The music of KES The Band transported its listeners to the island it originated from, combining calypso music with R&B and reggae to create soca. USF’s Caribbean Cultural Exchange hosted this temporary island escape. The student organization treated its members on Oct. 15 to a meet and greet with KES.

“I have to say blessings to my management,” said Kees Dieffenthaller, the lead singer of KES. “They listen to what I want to do, and I really want to meet young people, vibe and just talk.”

Dieffenthaller visited the CCE’s general body meeting to answer questions from USF students and to sing several songs.

Continue reading “KES The Band brings Caribbean flair to USF”

Goody Goody, a slice of Tampa’s history to reopen

TAMPA, Fla.– Tampa’s longtime residents will once again take a bite of a burger, or a slice of pie, from the iconic Goody Goody restaurant. Former co-owner, Mike Wheeler, recently sold the restaurant and hopes its history continues.

“One of the motivating reasons of my selling it was that I wanted to see the Goody Goody remain a Tampa tradition,” Wheeler said.

The restaurant is now owned by businessman Richard Gonzmart.

“To sell it to somebody that we felt had high integrity and knew the restaurant business,” Wheeler said. “I think we found just the right person.”

Richard Gonzmart, the co-owner of Columbia Restaurant, used to visit Goody Goody, bringing food home to his family every Sunday. Michael Kilgore, chief marketing officer at Columbia Restaurant, says preserving the business was Gonzmart’s rescue mission.

“He wanted to try to preserve it and so as soon as it happened he started talking to Michael Wheeler about trying to buy the rights to it,” Kilgore said.

Goody Goody was first a drive-in restaurant, giving curb-side service from 1930 until 1984. The curb-side service was removed in late 1984.

A design has not been drafted yet, but it will continue as a family dine-in restaurant. As per the menu, the famous burger “POX”, pickles, onions, and secret sauce, is impossible to replicate, making it unique.

“They’re so unique and different and it’s just not like the hamburger with lettuce and tomato that you find in so many places,” Wheeler said. “They always go with a special…it’s called a ‘POX’, which stands for pickles, onions, and X, that sauce.”

Yvonne Freeman, also known as “the hamburger queen”, worked the last 46 years until 2005 as the manager and the official baker of those delicious pies.

The new location will open in South Tampa sometime in 2015.

The Art of Hairdressing: Shear Talent and Personality

Rosalia Becerra Barragan is not a typical licensed hairdresser. Six years ago, her interests changed from fashion to hair, allowing her to better apply her creativity.

“Ever since I was very young I’ve always been creative and I’ve always been interested in doing hair,” she said. “First it was fashion and then hair really interested me a lot and it allows me to be very creative in my work.”

Everyone is unique, and hairdressers often create clients’ style based on their personality.

“It’s not only just color in a box that you’re going to mix together. You have to determine what their underlining pigment is to get to that result,” Barragan said.

Barragan’s client Laura Rodriguez comes every few months, and today she retouched her “peek-a-boos”.

“I would not trust anybody else with my hair but her,” Rodriguez said. “You feel beautiful… and like a million bucks when you walk out of here.”

Barragan studied at Woody’s Hair Styling School in Orlando and continues to attend advanced education to grow as a professional.

“Hair is always evolving. Fashion is evolving. So you have to keep up with what clients are requesting,” Barragan said.

She currently averages 120 clients per month. But Barragan said her greatest achievement is her clients’ happiness.

“When they’re happy, I’m happy.”

Located at 1128 SE Carlstrom Field Rd., Shear Talent Hair Design specializes in more than just hair. It provides manicure, pedicure and massage services as well.

Bradenton man turns photography from hobby to career

Billy Dzwonkowski is a self-taught photographer. He picked up his first camera when he was 12 years old and began his career at 19. Dzwonkowski currently resides in Bradenton, but frequently makes the trip to Tampa for photo shoots. He photographs everything from high school pictures, to Tampa Bay Rays games and Campus Lodge pool parties.

USF Graduate Opens Violin Shop in Tampa

Ethan Morency was another unsure college graduate until he decided to open the Violin Shop Tampa in 2013 combining his business degree with his passion.

“I graduated in spring of 2013,” Morency said. “I was out there applying for a lot of jobs, got a lot of interviews, but nothing that really piqued my interest and I wanted to fix that.”

The shop specializes in the sale and repair of violins, cellos and bass instruments. Since its opening, the business has doubled in size.

This venture came in partnership with Dereck Coons, who worked as Morency’s manager at a music shop in Melbourne, Florida.

“[Ethan’s] created a really warm, inviting atmosphere here for people to come in and hangout and purchase violins and get repairs done,” Coons said.

Music has been a part of Morency’s life for almost 15 years now. When he’s not working with violins, he’s the lead singer of his band, Anew.

“I always think music has to be a part of my life,” Morency said. “It’s who I am.”

Morency’s advice for recent graduates: absolutely follow your dreams.

“Focus on what you enjoy doing and something will fall into place,” Morency said. “You have to pursue it, you have to work hard, but it will happen.”

Violin Shop Tampa is located at 4009 Henderson Blvd., Tampa, Florida.

Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Supports Tampa Bay Artists With Inaugural Event

Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea held their inaugural event “Art of the Roast” for the arts on Sept. 9.

CEO and president of Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea, Ted Abrams, has been with the company since 2001 and had one major thing in mind: brewing success.

“What we are trying to do with this event is to create,” Abrams said. “We do a quarterly coffee so at the beginning of every quarter on a calendar basis we come out with a new origin of coffee that has a great story behind it. What we are looking to do is to commandeer local artists in Tampa Bay to create our first quarter 2015 coffee.”

Ivaldo Robles, a local artist present at “Art of the Roast,” showcased his work on abstract expressionism.

“I believe that art is very important for the community in Tampa and all over the world,” Robles said. “It represents an important subject for all communities for children and adults to have an open view of the culture of that community and to have a venue to be creative and to open up new opportunities in the future and this is a great part of it.”

The company was established in Tampa Bay in 1984. Joffrey’s continues to draw inspiration from the arts, originally from the great American dance troupe, the Joffrey Ballet, which coincides with their company name.

Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea offers more than 100 varieties of coffees and teas and in 2012 become the official specialty coffee of Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort and Disney Vacation Club.

Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea is located in Ybor where locals are fortunate enough to experience world-class coffee.