DEAFinitely Art and Music Fest in Safety Harbor this Weekend

By Laura Kepner

DEAFinitely Art and Music Fest
in Safety Harbor this Weekend

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November 20 from 4-9 pm
Safety Harbor Art and Music Center
Details here

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The Tampa Bay area is home to approximately 348,000 Deaf or hearing-impaired people, which according to The Florida Association of the Deaf, is the largest such community in Florida and the fifth-largest Deaf community in the United States.

Saturday’s DEAFinitely Art & Music Fest at the Safety Harbor Art and Music Center celebrates the arts and artists in the Deaf community – but everyone is welcome, even those who hear.

The Deaf Literacy Center of Tampa Bay in Safety Harbor is “a bridge to the world of information” for Deaf people and their families

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Rosa Rodriguez has served the Deaf community for 23 years, first working solely at the Safety Harbor Library and later as the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative’s Deaf Literacy Services Coordinator. The Deaf Literacy Center of Tampa Bay
is a bilingual/bicultural learning environment for Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing individuals in Pinellas County, providing small group and individualized literacy instruction, computer literacy, American Sign Language instruction, signed story times, special workshops, classes and book discussions.

Rodriguez is also an advocate for the arts, especially when it comes to Deaf artists, musicians and performers. In 2016, after she was given a Community Hero Award by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Rodriguez used the award to fund the Deaf Arts Showcase, which became an instant success.
. . .

Sunshine 2.0 and Fred Beam were featured in September
at the Kennedy Center’s Deaf Enlightenment & Arts Festival,

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Last year, the pandemic got in the way of a large-scale art event. “After a year of not doing it, I’m not sure how the response will be this year,” Rodriguez says.

But there’s good reason to fit this into your weekend plans. It’s a cultural experience most of the arts community doesn’t get a chance to participate in. “Some of the deaf children will be selling their art and I’ll be encouraging them to interact with participants to create art,” Rodriguez says. “The Deaf Arts Showcase is about awareness. It’s open to everyone.”
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Kids will experience the event hands-on beginning at 4 p.m. Entertainment geared more toward adults will continue into the evening with performances by Fred Beam, visual artist Ashley Hannan, Washington DC Deaf rapper Keith Sho’Roc Brown
, New York’s Sunshine 2.0 Performing Troupe, a Deaf DJ, Art “Talks” and family friendly hands-on art activities (mosaics, painting, drawing and more). Food trucks will be on site and wine, beer, water, soft drinks and snacks will be available for purchase.

“This is a wonderful annual event that showcases our local Deaf community,” says Carol Downing, American Sign Language interpreter for The Studio@620’s Radio Theatre Project. “It is a great day for all hearing and Deaf community members to celebrate the power and depth of ASL.”
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Tickets are $10 online through 11/17 and $20 at the door (cash only).
The event is Saturday, November 20 from 4 to 9 pm
at the Safety Harbor Art & Music Center
706 2
nd St N, Safety Harbor FL 34695

NY’s Sunshine 2.0 Performing Troupe

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