Saddest Arts Trend

Tampa Bay's cultural brain drain

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Last fall, the Planet held a forum that asked how we can keep talented young artists from taking their talents elsewhere. Since then, two of the five arts leaders on the panel have themselves upped and left: Margaret Murray, late of the Arts Center in St. Pete and the Tampa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, has moved to D.C. to head up that city’s gay film fest. Carrie Mackin, the brains behind Covivant Gallery and the Booty Art Expo, headed to New York. And they’re not the only cultural movers and shakers who are moving on out. The Planet reported earlier in the summer on the departure for L.A. of actress Colleen McDonnell, whom theater critic Mark Leib called “one of the brightest lights on the local theater scene over the last decade.” And another bright light — Brad Cooper, he of the eponymously named, long-influential Ybor art gallery — is going to Greece. Stay tuned: We may have to amend our next arts forum to ask how Tampa Bay can keep not just young artists, but all artists, from flying the coop.

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