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Letters to the Editor

Fine Arts building needs help badly

USF’s College of Visual and Performing Arts needs your help.

Despite its broken pipes, rusted sinks, peeling paint, moldy air-conditioning vents and cramped quarters, the art building will continue to be used — unless Gov. Jed Bush approves legislation that allocates $1 million to the college to design a new building. Florida Taxwatch labels this project a “budget turkey,” meaning it does not properly use state tax dollars. I cannot disagree more.

The art building at the University is woefully inadequate for the students and faculty who use it. The building is used by 24 times the number of people it was built for. The inside is so congested that many students must work outside. Those lucky enough to play under a roof are in a building that has tested positive for mold and asbestos.

It reflects poorly on the state educational system when the second largest university of the southeast cannot provide a safe and adequate building for its students. These conditions make it difficult to recruit art students and faculty to the area.

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP study found that local arts generated $402.2 million a year. Wouldn’t it be in the best interest of the Florida economy to attract people active in the arts to the Tampa area? A new building will help by hosting public school programs, art organizations and music festivals. It will simultaneously increase cultural appreciation and community involvement and contribute to the Tampa economy.

A $1-million appropriation to design a new building does not taste like turkey to me, and I urge all concerned citizens who agree to write Gov. Bush.

Mandy Cretella is a senior majoring in mass communications.