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Businesses and the arts align for Tampa streetcar

Twenty to thirty 4-foot streetcar sculptures will be painted by local artists paired with Tampa Bay business sponsors in a collaborative public works initiative slated for installation this Fall.  

Spearheading the project is Commercial Real Estate Women Tampa Bay (CREW), a business networking organization comprised of 130 local members, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in Tampa in 2016. Under a program it calls artLOUD!, the streetcar initiative will be CREW’s fourth public works project, which have included public sculpture and facade mural initiatives in downtown Tampa. 

CREW Tampa Bay is committed to bringing art to Tampa to create a sense of place, encourage tourism, beautify and make our city streets more vibrant for the community,” says Kristin Mora, a real estate attorney with the Pettit Worrell law firm. Mora is a member of CREW and co-chairs its artLOUD! Program. 

Artists from the Greater Tampa Bay region who submit their credentials will be considered for selection by the area businesses sponsoring the streetcar sculptures and will work together in creating individual concepts. 

Public works of this nature have been a trend around the country, but Mora says that she hopes that using streetcars as the subject matter will have a compounded impact for Tampa. Not only is the streetcar part of Tampa’s history and heritage, but she envisions the possibility of people using the downtown streetcars as a mode to tour and view the artworks themselves. 

“This is a step further for promoting the streetcar,” says Mora, adding that she hopes the project will “gain attention and ridership for the streetcar.” 

To date, more than 20 sponsors have been confirmed including The Dohring Group; Construction Services of Tampa; Cushman & Wakefield; Tampa Downtown Partnership; Coppertail Brewing/Pepin Distributing; Channelside District Community Redevelopment Area; Tampa Housing Authority, and CREW Tampa Bay. 

Yacht Starship, the dining cruise line that docks in Channelside and in Clearwater, proposed the concept to CREW and will host the preview party in October 2015 when the sculptures will be revealed. The sculptures will be installed in downtown Tampa, the Channel District and Ybor City. They will be subject to city approval and, according to Mora, the exact locations may also be influenced by the design of the streetcars themselves.

Read more articles by Kendra Langlie.

Kendra Langlie is a feature writer at 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.
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