Newly Formed Tampa Arts Alliance Gets Major Benefactor

Smith & Associates Real Estate Foundation has made a long-term commitment to the arts community in Tampa through a three-year commitment.

Tampa, FL. – Smith & Associates Real Estate Foundation has made a long-term commitment to the arts community in Tampa through a three-year commitment to fund the Tampa Arts Alliance.

The foundation’s funding is for operating expenses and the salary of the executive director over the three-year period.

The Tampa Arts Alliance was formed in June 2021. Initial funding was provided by the Gobioff Foundation and Tucker/Hall. Board members and arts advocates have also made significant contributions that helped establish the organization, including Tampa City Councilman Bill Carlson, president of Tucker Hall and co-founder of Café con Tampa.

Initial board members include Neil Gobioff, president of the Gobioff Foundation and CFO of Crab Devil, who is serving as chairman of the alliance; Dana Warner, an artist, teacher and arts advocate, as vice chairwoman; and Kathy Durdin, an artist and collector, as treasurer/secretary.

Additional board members include attorney Gary Sasso, a past board chairman at the Straz Center; philanthropist Sara Richter; tax attorney Frank J. “Sandy” Rief III of the Duckwall Foundation; Jennifer R. Malin, a marketing expert now with the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay; Lauren Brigman, a community activist and nonprofit liaison who chairs the board of Stageworks Theatre; Banker Henry Gonzalez III of Beach Community Bank, a former board president of the Tampa Bay History Center; Attorney Jeff Gibson, who serves on the Tampa Bay Business Committee for Culture and the Arts; and Executive Director Michele Smith, founder of The Resiliency School.

During its first five months, these leaders have focused on building organizational infrastructure while connecting with all levels of Tampa’s art community. This included five town hall meetings around the city to listen to and meet with artists, arts leaders and arts enthusiasts. The meetings resulted in a range of community recommendations for how the alliance can add value to Tampa’s arts scene. These ideas are now being written into a strategic plan.

“We shouldn’t be surprised that, even during a pandemic, there is tremendous enthusiasm in the community for helping grow the arts in Tampa. Every contribution of time, expertise and money has reaffirmed our mission to support the arts. Having long-term financial support from successful organizations like Smith & Associates shows that community confidence in our new alliance is growing rapidly,” said Gobioff.

In addition to donations received, the alliance has inherited an endowment that is managed by the Community Foundation Tampa Bay.

“The incredible support we have seen from the community will help us engage the arts community sooner than we expected,” said Smith. “The community wants us to move quickly to organize and mobilize the incredible arts assets of our city.”

“We are pleased to work closely with the Tampa Arts Alliance. As a long-time supporter of the arts, we know that a community thrives when it blends the best of its artistic talents with all the other attributes that the city embodies. Creative diversity and opportunities bring value to our neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life for our residents,” says Bob Glaser, president and CEO of Smith & Associates Real Estate.

The Smith & Associates Real Estate Foundation was established in March 2021 to act as a philanthropic arm of the company and its employees already engaged throughout the Bay area.

“The arts provide a cultural texture and context to our community, but they are also an important industry and economic engine that will help define the future of our economy,” said Carlson. “As AI continues to automate white collar jobs, we will rely more and more on creativity and innovation to guide our businesses into the future. It’s our responsibility to prepare our children and grandchildren for that future.”

The Tampa Arts Alliance is a collaborative nonprofit 501c3 established in 2021 as a catalyst and convenor of arts advocates dedicated to making Tampa a city known for excellence in the arts.

The work of the Tampa Arts Alliance will include, but will not be limited to:
• Helping create a clearer vision for the arts in Tampa
• Attracting funding for the arts
• Fostering greater awareness inside and outside the city of Tampa about the artists who work here and the arts venues, outlets and programming available
• Working with arts organizations to inventory Tampa’s cultural assets
• Helping connect local artists and arts organizations with each other
• Developing, enhancing and fostering greater availability of resources to support local artists and arts venues
• Advocating, as necessary, for greater support for and recognition of the arts by public authorities
• Identifying and creating places and spaces where artists can connect
• Exploring parts of Tampa (e.g., Ybor City) to encourage and support the creation of an arts district
• Gathering information about best practices and success stories in other communities known for the arts.



Michele Smith

The Tampa Arts Alliance is a nonprofit 501©3 established in 2021 as a catalyst and convenor of arts advocates dedicated to making Tampa a city known for excellence in the arts.

For more information, please follow us on Facebook at @TampaArtsAlliance.