AN ILLUSTRIOUS PAST – AN ILLUMINATING FUTURE

Straz Center Completes Conceptual Phase of Master Plan

Straz Center President and CEO Judy Lisi and Straz Center Board of Trustees Chairman Gary Sasso announced today the completion of the conceptual phase of the Master Plan.

As it continues to evolve, the Straz Center will become a beacon for downtown, a bright spot attracting people to the Riverwalk and to our campus as an attraction, not just as a destination for seeing a show or attending a class at the Patel. The drive is not to merely keep up with the field, but to continue to reach forward with new visions of what a community can achieve with a state-of-the-art performing arts complex.  The Straz will become a gathering place, a cultural crossroads for the thrilling diversity of the Tampa Bay area’s people and as a sustainable campus whose architecture reflects thoughtful uses of the surrounding landscape and Hillsborough River.

Since opening in 1987, the Straz Center has become an established cultural and economic anchor for the Tampa Bay region, with an annual average attendance of 600,000 people. Ever-seeking to fulfill its mission to the community in creative, sustainable and exciting ways, the Straz Center has created a vision that will light the way for the future by integrating the environment, the community and the performing arts and ensconcing itself at the heart of the Mayor Buckhorn’s InVision Tampa plan.

The Master Plan, which was funded by the Frank E. Duckwall Foundation, has been approved by the Straz Center board and presented to Mayor Bob Buckhorn and city officials. A feasibility study, expected to take several months, is underway and will inform possible sources of funding for the projected $65-$100 million project.

In 2012, the Straz Center assembled a Strategic Advisory Task Force to address growth, enrichment and funding for the evolving role of The Straz for the Tampa Bay region and for the national arts scene. This task force, in collaboration with community leaders and planners, began to create a new vision to elevate The Straz’s status as a cultural attraction and point of pride for the city.

A Straz Center Board of Trustees Master Plan Committee was then formed in 2014 and though a vigorous selection process engaged the services of architectural firm Westlake Reed Leskosky. The ensuing plans, developed and conceptualized by Paul Westlake and Jonathan Kurtz, call for the creation of a Grand Terrace that flows to the river front, expanding the Patel Conservatory, reinventing and enlarging the Silbiger Lobby in Morsani Hall and adding a multi-purpose events center to accommodate growth in food and beverage, education and artistic programming – all while establishing The Straz as a model for diversity and inclusion that supports the arts and audiences across communities and cultures in our area and beyond.

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