Every Arts Preview Issue feels like a harbinger of good things to come, whether it’s the onrush of events suddenly crowding our calendars from September through December or the promise of high-season hijinks drawing snowbirds and locals alike from January through April.
But as A&E Editor Julie Garisto and I started considering what’s new in Fall 2014, we realized that almost everything — or more to the point, almost everybody — was new. In a changing of the guard unprecedented in the 10 years I’ve been surveying the arts scene in Tampa Bay, there have been major changes in the top leadership spots of three theater companies, two museums, a film festival and a film commission, plus next weekend we will see the debut of a brand-new theater festival. And that litany doesn’t even include one of the most highly publicized shifts of all: the naming of a new music director at the Florida Orchestra, whose tenure doesn’t begin until the 2015-16 season.
A mix of newbies and old hands have taken the reins — some interim, some permanent; some of them familiar faces, some not so much. Figuring they would have a lot to talk about — not just the challenges and opportunities facing them this year, but the state of the arts in Tampa Bay — we invited them for pizza and conversation last week at CL Space. (We didn’t try to include the orchestra’s Michael Francis in the discussion, since he’s not yet officially on board, but as Julie says in her Etcetera column, you can get an early look at him when he guest conducts in October.)
One thing’s for certain: It’ll all feel like new.