If you've been vigilant, you've noticed that Ybor's Hillsborough Community College Art Gallery has been metamorphosing into a competitive art space. Who's behind such smart moves? Carolyn Kossar, hired as gallery director several years ago and recently appointed Art Gallery Coordinator, a newly created HCC position. Now in her third year, Kossar, also a photographer and fiber artist, has steadily changed the small gallery into a viable destination. One intelligent transformation was extending gallery hours to give community art enthusiasts realistic opportunities to view the art. Kossar has also organized a well-balanced bevy of exhibitions chosen in consultation with her Ybor art faculty board of advisers. Included were the Project Return Subconscious Spirits show with art by adults with mental illness, the Bud and Peggy Lee folk art collection, Barbara Beeler's photography, Clyde Butcher's vision of Florida's environmental paradise, and the HCC faculty exhibition. A Rose Marie Prins installation is scheduled for Fall 2003. Kossar spread her creative wings (and the art gallery's presence) with her involvement in the fledging HCC Ybor Festival of the Moving Image. She's also intent on forming community partnerships and critical links throughout the community. Considering impending catastrophic shortfalls in state funding, Kossar's biggest challenges lie ahead. Though she's requesting $21,600 for exhibitions in 2003-04, only $2,500 will be forthcoming. A big bundle of Planet "woopies" for Carolyn Kossar, whose aesthetic energy is enriching and expanding the Ybor cultural experience and, by extension, making a difference in the entire Tampa art scene.
HCC Art Gallery, Performing Arts Building Room 101, 2001 14th St., Ybor City, 813-253-7674.