Theatre and Arts Continue to Grow in Pinellas
By SARAH TELESCA
If you were hoping for some positive arts-related news—something there never seems to be enough of—you’re in luck. Both theater and art fans can get excited— two of the area’s art institutions, freeFall Theater and Dunedin Fine Arts Center, are continuing their upward trajectory with new additions in management and funding.
St. Petersburg’s freeFall Theater Company, now entering its tenth year, has announced some exciting new managerial additions to their lineup, marking their growth from startup into a “sustainable institution,” ensuring freeFall continues to evolve and grow as they enter into their 2019/20 season.
The new additions to the team include Amanda Chandler as the new Director of Development, Jen Brown as Patron Services manager, and Susan Haldeman will be moving into a new role as the company’s Managing Director.
Matthew McGee, freeFall’s Community Outreach and Marketing Director, emphasized the benefits of having working creatives on their management staff as a non-profit organization:
“It’s a real benefit to have someone who has acting experience, who loves theatre in that way. They know it backward and forward. Working at freeFall doesn’t feel like a day job because it’s completely an extension of what [we] do, working in theatre every day. Amanda, for instance, is such a great new hire for us because she has done theatre work in so many capacities. I think her heart is really in making sure we continue to stay fiscally sound and make sure that we can continue to make sure to do the things that we need to do. She has a real vested interest; her heart is in it.”
Further north, Dunedin has some exciting new additions to boast as well. The Dunedin Fine Arts Center recently received a $2 million donation from community art enthusiasts and DFAC supporters Nancy and David Bilheimer, for whom the Center’s west wing was re-named after. The Bilheimer’s donation allows DFAC to complete their new food-arts studio, which is on track for a soft opening the week of January 7, 2019 and aims to replace some of the culinary skills that have been missing since the disappearance of Home Ec classes by “teaching the art of cooking.” The donation will also get put to use expanding hands-on activities in the Center’s children’s museum and installing new, high-quality audio/visual systems. There are, like the Bilheimer’s said, “exponential returns, which they see growing with each event and exhibit.”
For those interested in DFAC’s new food-arts studio events, keep an eye on their website, or, if you’re looking for something family-friendly to do in the meantime, check out their upcoming free events at the Children’s Art Museum on December 15th and 16th!