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Plant City Observer Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 9 months ago

MAKE Plant City debuts to packed house

The new group of Plant City’s creative minds held its first event at the Corner Store Sept. 26
by: Daniel Figueroa IV Staff Writer

They are painters and sculptors, brewers and chefs, cartoonists, carpenters and tinkerers of all kinds. They are Plant City’s creative community and they are uniting to see art across all mediums thrive in Plant City. They are MAKE Plant City and they have arrived.

The recently formed group held its first meeting Sept. 26 to a packed house of nearly 50 people at Plant City’s Corner Store restaurant. It was standing room only as city planner Mara Latorre addressed the crowd as the group’s first keynote speaker. Latorre spoke about how artists and art enthusiasts can work with City Hall to foster arts in Plant City.

“If you want to see Plant City exploding with art, stick with it,” she said. “They (city commissioners) want to hear from you. Make your voices heard. Follow up and follow through.”

MAKE Plant City’s first event was held at the Corner Store.

With new developments like the ongoing midtown project coming to Plant City and some already established venues, Latorre said there could be options for creating multiple arts and creative festivals in Plant City if its citizens keep momentum going. Sticktoitiveness, she indicated, is the name of the game. There needs to be a greater awareness of who artists are and how citizens can support arts. With groups like MAKE Plant City she said, those elements of momentum, awareness and persistence can come together.

The creators of MAKE Plant City believe a sustainable arts scene is nearly inevitable in Plant City.

“The eggshell is cracking,” Charles Galvin, a local leather craftsman and founder of MAKE Plant City said. “There’s a lot of good art that’s getting ready to happen here.”

The group spawned from a question Plant City residents Vicky Saunders, Arley Smude, Galvin and Rebecca Nipper asked when they ran into each other at a meet up of makers in Lakeland this past July.

“Why were we all driving to Lakeland when there are so many creative makers in Plant City?” Saunders said they asked themselves. “We just needed a platform to connect everyone.”

The group recruited other creatives they knew, including Latorre, Saunders said, and MAKE Plant City was born with a mission to inspire and energize individual creativity and the creative community as a whole.

The group plans to hold meetings on a monthly basis that will inform and connect the creative community of Plant City. Each meeting, Saunders said, will feature a keynote speaker.

“We want speakers that can offer more than just showing the audience their work,” Saunders said. “Mara has a background in urban planning, experience in the art scenes of neighboring Tampa areas, and has a relatively fresh lens of Plant City. All these together offer a formula for thoughts on practical ways to to elevate the Plant City creative scene as a whole. MAKE Plant City is about inspiring creativity on an individual level, but also expanding it on the community level.”

The next MAKE Plant City event is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday Oct. 24 at the Bing Rooming House, 205 Allen St. The scheduled speaker is Jessica Frier.

Daniel Figueroa IV is a Staff Writer at the Plant City Times & Observer. He has been covering Plant City since 2017. Previously, he was the politics and veteran affairs reporter at the Ledger of Lakeland. He probably wants to ride motorcycles and trade books with...

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