Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts, Inc. has announced Zora Carrier as its new executive director. Carrier, who has decades of experience as a cultural strategist, was previously the executive director of the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa from 2014-2022.
The organization Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts (TBBCA) connects businesses to the arts community, recognizing the “positive economic impact of a vibrant arts and cultural sector on the community at large,” according to a news release. It was established in 1989, with a mission to “unite Tampa Bay businesses to champion arts and culture for a prosperous community.”
Carrier was previously the executive director of the Open Concept Gallery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a position she also held at the Gallery Art Factory in Prague, Czech Republic.
A native of Bratislava, Slovak Republic, she graduated from Comenius University in Bratislava with a doctoral degree in pedagogy.
Carrier curated many exhibitions at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. She also lectures on art education and collecting.
In a phone interview, Carrier said she maintains a solid relationship with the museum and will continue to support it in her new position.
“I want to be wherever the opportunity is to really make an impact,” she said. “And I feel that this is a this is a great opportunity to make an impact.”
“Zora is absolutely the right person to lead our organization. We are thrilled to welcome her, ”Leslie Wager Hudock, TBBCA President, said in the release. “We are confident that her deep understanding of real-life challenges faced by arts administrators will guide TBBCA’s mission of uniting businesses to champion arts and culture for a prosperous community.”
Carrier said that one of the biggest challenges arts administrators face is creating a collaborative environment between larger institutions and smaller ones.
“I think that when the interest in art and culture is going down, that’s impacting the big institutions, the medium size and the small as well,” she said.
Carrier also said she thinks a healthy art environment depends on art and cultural institutions, saying those are the bedrocks that promote the well-being of artists and arts education.
“If we say that art is good for business and business is good for art, we are looking to work with individual artists, but I think that institutions are very much a priority,” she said.
Bringing back the programming of the TBBCA’a Cultural Encounters program is something Carrier is eager to do. The program, which created awareness of arts and culture through speaker presentations, behind-the scenes tours and networking events, was interrupted in 2020. Carrier said bringing it back would be a good way to connect the community and introduce young professionals to local arts and culture.
Planning your weekend?
Subscribe to our free Top 5 things to do newsletter
We’ll deliver ideas every Thursday for going out, staying home or spending time outdoors.
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.
Explore all your options
“I think it is an avenue that needs to constantly be creating new opportunities,” she said. “I think it’s important to start the conversation of the art administrators from different art and cultural institutions and create a platform where they can communicate, either in the talks or in a different kind of social setting.”
Carrier said the organization will find these young professionals through various Chamber of Commerce, with diversity in mind. She said they also want to offer training on what it means to become board members of cultural institutions, to prepare them to be active members of the community, not just as an audience.
Giving people the opportunities to explore the arts and reaching those who might not think certain aspects are for them are also part of the organization’s agenda, Carrier said. She also thinks art can unite people in a divided society.
“I think that that’s going to be the name of the game, to make them understand that this is really for all of us and we all can benefit,” she said.