ST. PETERSBURG — The Studio@620, a widely used venue for budding and accomplished artists of all kinds, has hired its first executive director.
Barbara Mazer Gross, 39, will use her arts marketing background to raise the profile of the studio founded 13 years ago by Bob Devin Jones. Jones will continue to serve as the studio's artistic director.
"I feel like the arts community in St. Petersburg is exploding and I want to be a part of it," Gross said. "This opportunity to work with the Studio@620 was a great way to get entrenched in this exciting arts community and feel like I was contributing to something really important."
For Jones, it's an opportunity to focus exclusively on the plays, concerts and visual arts that cycle through the Studio@620.
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Besides hosting countless shows and exhibits, the studio has also played a key role as an incubator of professional talent. A Simple Theatre, Freefall Theatre and the new Sunshine City Opera Company all launched their first performances there. At any given time, audiences might take in the work of poets or playwrights against a backdrop of locally produced paintings, photographs or pottery.
Gross will work on increasing visibility and revenue for the nonprofit, which has supplemented ticket sales with government grants, paid memberships and the help of volunteers.
For the past nine years she has served as director of client relations for Tessitura Network, an arts-related software developer. Before that, she directed development for Ruth Eckerd Hall and American Stage, where she was responsible for all contributed income.
A native of Nashville, Tenn., Gross originally worked as a singer, performing Jewish music in camps and religious institutions across several states. She is the cantorial soloist at Temple Beth-El in St. Petersburg. She starts at the Studio@620 on Aug. 16.
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