BEST ART PARTY

USF'S Exeunt Omnes

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In the annals of USF's School of the Visual and Performing Arts and the Contemporary Art Museum, Exeunt Omnes' revelry may be long remembered as a heady combo of The Last Hurrah and Paradise Lost. The evening of May 23, 2003, marked a final ceremonial adieu to eight retiring powerhouse fine arts professors, many hired in the 1960s during the dark ages of USF's infancy: Alan Eaker, Diane Elmeer, Charles Fager, Robert Gelinas, Jeffrey Kronsnoble, Mernet Larsen, Bruce Marsh and Theo Wujcik. In theatrical jargon, the Latin term exeunt omnes means "all exit." For USF's dramatically altered art department, the word "all" is more metaphoric than literal. What is literal is the way these influential faculty members helped make art one of USF's more outstanding and recognized departments. The Exeunt Omnes event began in USF's Theater One, where the '60s-attired CAM director, Margaret Miller, presided with sidekick and longtime Slide Librarian Linda McRae by her side. The packed house chuckled over tongue-in-cheek skits interspersed with videotaped profs offering candid memories and warm tributes. Spiels did get a bit long and gushy, but all was forgiven by an audience well versed in the evening's symbolism. In the end, more than one eye was teary as community artists presented arty old-age canes to their designated mentor/professor. Later, at the museum, emotions ran high amid an exhibition of the retirees' work, past and present. There seemed an electric current running through the galleries that night as art lovers witnessed something akin to Camelot's final bow. We wish all these profs a long and creative retirement. We are grateful for your contributions to the entire Tampa Bay area.

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