Project Description

A Night of Conversations

by DANNY OLDA

On a Thursday evening, as art-lovers filed out of a busy gallery reception of the Professional Association of Visual Artists at the Creative Pinellas offices and galleries, a warmly lit auditorium began to fill. Six of the most recent Professional Artist Grantees—Elizabeth Baker, Roxanne Fay, D Yael Kelley, Steven Kenny, David Manson and Andee Sun Scott—sat down with Samantha Samson and me of to speak about the artistic process, creativity, and more.

The evening began with introductory presentations of each of the six artists, an overview of their practices, their current projects and interests. Following opening presentations, the conversation kicked off with a question to Elizabeth Baker regarding one of her most popular Impact Returns blog posts: How can artists transform their relationship with failure and setbacks into something productive and positive?

The artists spoke on a wide variety of ideas and topics. For example, musician and composer David Manson addressed dispelling the myth of the Florida artist as insignificant as well as the importance of paying artists for their work. Actor, writer and director Roxanne Fay discussed the balance between sticking to one’s creative guns and adapting creative work to better suit audiences. Artist Yael Kelley related finding truth in her artwork, being socially introverted yet being earnest and generous with oneself through art.

Finally, the discussion was opened up to the audience who responded with fascinating questions and comments examining the pragmatic concerns of making a living, the state of the arts locally and the unique concerns of working as an artist in Pinellas County in relation to artists working elsewhere. The event concluded with expressions of thanks for the artists and the event and, finally, lively discussion leading out of the auditorium and into the night.

The panel, left to right, Andee Sun Scott, Roxanne Fay, Elizabeth A. Baker, Steven Kenny, D Yael Kelley and David Manson.


Conversations in Art+Innovation is a series of conversations, panel discussions and lectures that present some of today’s most forward-thinking and creative people working in the arts and culture in Pinellas County and beyond. Through these series of conversations, we explore some of the newest ideas and most compelling expressions between art, people and the places they inhabit. Sign up on our email list here to find out about future Conversations and other events.