Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts, Inc. announced Zora Carrier as its new director. Carrier, who has decades of experience as a cultural strategist, served as executive director of the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa from 2014-2022.
The Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts (TBBCA) connects businesses and the arts community, recognizing the “positive economic impact of a strong arts and culture presence in the community as a whole,” according to a news release. It was founded in 1989, with the mission of “uniting Tampa Bay businesses to promote arts and culture for a thriving community.”
Carrier was previously the executive director of Open Concept Gallery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a position he also held at Gallery Art Factory in Prague.
A native of Bratislava, Slovak Republic, he graduated from Comenius University in Bratislava with a doctorate in theology.
Carrier organized many exhibitions at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. He also teaches about art education and collecting.
In a phone interview, Carrier said he maintains a close relationship with the museum and will continue to support it in his new position.
“I want to be wherever there’s an opportunity to make an impact,” he said. “And I think this is a great opportunity to make an impact.”
“Zora is the right person to lead our organization. We are thrilled to welcome her,” TBBCA president Leslie Wager Hudock said in a release. We are confident that his deep understanding of the real-life challenges that arts managers face will guide TBBCA’s mission to bring businesses together to advocate for arts and culture for a prosperous society.
Carrier said one of the biggest challenges art directors face is creating an environment of collaboration between large and small institutions.
“I think that when the interest in art and culture goes down, that affects big, medium and small institutions,” he said.
Carrier also said that he thinks that a healthy environment for the arts depends on the institutions of art and culture, saying that those are the foundations that promote the well-being of artists and the education of the arts.
“If we say art is good for business and business is good for art, we want to work with individual artists, but I think institutions are very important,” he said.
Bringing back TBBCA’s Cultural Encounters program is something Carrier is eager to do. The program, which raised awareness of arts and culture through speaker talks, backstage tours and networking events, was discontinued in 2020. Carrier said bringing it back would be a great way to connect the community. and to introduce young professionals to the arts and local issues. culture.
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“I think it’s a process that should always create new opportunities,” he said. “I think it is important to start a conversation between the artistic directors of the different art and culture centers and to create a platform where they can talk to each other, either in languages or in different social contexts.”
Carrier says the organization will find these young professionals in different business rooms, with different mindsets. He said they also want to provide training on what it means to be board members of cultural institutions, to prepare them to be active members of society, not just listeners.
Giving people opportunities to explore art and reach out to those who might not think certain pieces belong to them is part of the organization’s mission, Carrier said. He also thinks that art can bring people together in a divided society.
“I think that’s going to be the name of the game, to get them to understand that it’s really for all of us and we can all benefit,” he said.