Eckerd College Announces Debut of Multi-Million Dollar Visual Arts Center

The arts are alive in the Sunshine City. Telltale signs of this are evident along the radiant, mural coated walls through the 600 Block and the EDGE District. It’s evident in the nationally acclaimed exhibit halls of the Museum of Fine Arts and The Salvador Dali Museum. It’s evident in the fervor family and children alike share for the NOMAD Art Bus. It’s evident in muralists such as Chad Mize and Ya La’Ford collective efforts to educate and engage children in creative projects in the Tampa Bay Area.

The Burg’s identity as an arts bastion is further exemplified with the reveal of Eckerd College’s new Helmar and Enole Nielsen Center for Visual Arts. The 33,000 SF space features two galleries, a ceramics wing, digital arts and audio studios, a printmaking workshop and seven semiprivate student studios.

Helmar E Nielsen, the donor for which the center is named, provided $7 million in funding to Eckerd’s Visual Arts discipline. His contribution will endow a professorship in film production.

“These days film is the more prophetic of the art forms, not necessarily as a matter of substance or vision, but in its innate power. I have confidence that whomever is chosen to be the new professor of film production will have the discipline to teach technical skill, yes, but always couched in the depth of liberal arts learning.” – Helmar E. Nielsen.

For years, Film Florida and local film organizations across the state have worked exhaustively to bring major productions to the state. Recent critically acclaimed films such as the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, and The Florida Projected, for which Willem Dafoe is nominated for an Academy Award, have revived interest in the Sunshine State’s potential as a filming destination.

Eckerd’s overall investment in supplying students with the tools they need to tell stories seldom seen on the big screen is a testament to those organizations efforts. So, while this remains a remarkable opportunity for current and future students at Eckerd, we perceive its effects will be felt throughout the Burg for years to come.

Written by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey is the founder of I Love the Burg and That's So Tampa. In addition to regular contributions to each blog, he's been featured as a commentator to Bay New 9, The Tampa Tribune, The Tampa Bay Times, The Tampa Bay Business Journal and The Business Observer as well as national outlets including The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal.