Nov. 15, 2020

Steven High, Executive Director of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Joins the Club

Steven High, Executive Director of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Joins the Club

How does one fulfill the will of the world's most famous circus leader and art collector, John Ringling? Just ask Steven High, Executive Director of the John and Mable Ringling Museum Art, he can tell you how exact and precise that will states the art collection must be preserved and shared.
At the Ringling, every day is different, every piece of art tells a story, and every Monday is free. Listen to Steven's story and experience the passion he has for the Ringling Museum of Art (and his secret place on campus to enjoy a sunset!).
Come along and join the club!

• The Ringling Museum of Art Website & Facebook & Instagram & Twitter

• The Gallery at SCF Facebook & Instagram

• Katherine Bzura Facebook & Instagram

• State College of Florida Website & Facebook & Instagram & YouTube

State College of Florida Music Program Website & Instagram

• State College of Florida Theatre Program Website & Facebook & Instagram

• State College of Florida Foundation Website and Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn

Support the show (https://scf-foundation.org/suncoastcultureclub/)


Transcript

This morning. I am delighted to welcome Stephen High, the executive director at the Ringling museum of art to the suncoast culture club. He came to us here on the Suncoast in 2011. And I am going to let him fill out the rest of his biography for us this morning. It's not that I'm not up to the task, but I want him to really fill in the blanks and talk to us about his choice to join us here on the suncoast.

So without further ado, good morning, Stephen, and welcome to the club.

Well, thank you for having me.

And I want to talk to you about your now. Of your creative life, but I want to go back to some of the past. We're going to talk about what it's like to lead a museum in 2020 for certain, but I want to explore the history of you. Can you share with us some parts of the journey that brought you here to Florida?

What were your early interests? What about your former institutions? How did you make the decision to leave Savannah and join us here in Sarasota?

. well, I had a certain unusual background for being a museum director. I actually grew up in Idaho, and did not, really experience art or art museums until I went to college. And so it was at college that. I got interested and, this, field. And so following undergrad, , my first museum job was back in the seventies, at the museum of modern art in San Francisco, where I was a researcher,  both in curatorial and in the collections area of the museum.

I was there for a few years and then decided to move to Boston.  where I, again, found work in museums, both at the MIT museum and the Institute of contemporary art. So it was probably about that time that I thought this was a very interesting field and something I wanted to pursue. So I went to Williams college to get my graduate degree in art history.

And then, began teaching and running a contemporary art gallery in, Portland, Maine, founded , the Baxter gallery, which is now the Institute of contemporary art. There,  was there for a few years, was hired at enrichment to come and run their contemporary art space at Virginia Commonwealth university.

And now  at the time was the largest contemporary art space in Virginia. And I was there for 10 years and did, many, many exhibitions. that was my,  real run as a curator. I curated most of those exhibitions. and , I was working a lot internationally and in looking and working in. cultures that were undergoing change of one sort or another.

So I was very interested in how artists deal with that and how they, absorb these changes within their work. So after doing that for a number of years, I was recruited out West to Reno, Nevada, where. , there was a,  small museum, but it was a private nonprofit. I've been working in academia for a while.

And I wanted to try my hand at working with a board. and , we were very successful. We ended up receiving the national award for museum service, from the IMLS for the work that we did there and building community. we ended up, raising the funds to build a contemporary museum, designed by will Bruder, a well-known, Western architect.

And,  after a period of time there, it was time to move on. It seems like 10 years is,  a good, timeframe. 

   moved to Savannah and it was in Savannah and, I loved it, went through the, economic crisis in 2008 there, and it was difficult , but , it's a wonderful museum, one of the oldest museums in the country.

and I like to think of it as one of the oldest contemporary museums, because . They were collecting contemporary art. , and then I was recruited by, the Ringling and  they had an opening for a director. And we started talking about it.

And over about a year we had a conversation and then ultimately I decided to move here and I can't tell you how much I've loved being here. It's been really the highlight of my career. ,  my first museum I directed was in Maine, the Baxter gallery, and I was the entire staff.

 and so like everything. And then as I've moved along, I moved to larger and larger institutions and,  the Ringling is about the 25th or 30th largest, art museum in North America. And so it's,  been a real joy to come here and to work at the wrangling, to do the types of projects we're doing both.

  within the community and within our collections and expanding and diversifying the collections and working with, a really great board, in order to get the resources necessary, to do the  types of innovative things we want to do. , I have to say that, I couldn't have asked for a better career.

every day is different. Every day is, interesting and exciting. Sometimes a little overwhelming. but , within this field, you meet so many interesting people you meet. , so many people who really care about their communities and care about the arts and it's a joy, it's really a joy to,  be a part of that.

there certainly is a lot of passion among our ranks in the creative. World between museums and institutions and not for profit and the gallery system certainly. I love the way that you tell that story. And maybe my favorite part, which isn't in any of your say official biography, or  it's not something that pops out when,  you look at the long length of your career, but that you weren't exposed to too much art until college.

So as a college professor, that's making my day this morning.

Well, yeah, , where I  grew up, , my family, had farms in , Southern Idaho. And so I grew up working on those. , there was art school in that, but I'd never really kind of connected with it that much. And it was really in a pill. taking my first art history class , I was always good with history and I was always interested in history and I thought art history provided a lens into.

Our past, that was really unique , and that's what got me excited  first focusing on Asian art actually, and then coming around, , I did a period of study out at UC Berkeley  in around and all that time and, where I switched to contemporary. And I've been committed to doing contemporary,  work ever since,

And

then look at where you are now at the Ringling. How interesting

Yeah, well, we have a bit of both.  when I came here, you'll remember that, the museum had been pretty quiet in contemporary programming,  for quite a while. , and then the trail skyspace came and land. , in the middle of our campus. And so , with the addition of the skyspace, we were able to begin to build a much more robust program and contemporary programming and contemporary acquisitions.

And so that's,  been my love, but I also enjoy. just the,  range of work that we have here. I love learning about the,  Baroque and,  the Renaissance paintings that we have . They're truly wonderful works of art. I love learning about the Asian collection, ,  opening the door to the circus is something I had literally not been to a circus for.

probably since I was like eight, maybe. and that was a Shriner circus. And so,  to really see and , begin to understand the visual culture of the circus, , has been wonderful. So that's the great thing about my job is that, everywhere I go, always able to learn about the uniqueness of that particular institution, that particular community, but, it's also  an opportunity to explore new ideas that maybe would never have come across.

and I love. The person, the myth, the man that John Ringling is, was, and has become, reading his biography and making some connections to the art that I'd always loved. Seeing since I was a child at the museum and now challenging my students to think about. Why and how he put his original collection together and then how it really has changed.

And it's under the leadership of people like you, who guide the institution to its steps. And when you said the James Turrell Joseph's coat the sky space, it lights me up just to think that that opening literally where you can view the sky was the opening really. For the Ringling museum to begin to collect more contemporary.

I know art works out.

I mean, the museum had a past of being a contemporary institution. it just for about.  15 to 20 years ended up not going there, not showing a lot of contemporary work, but back in the eighties and nineties, it was a real dynamic. I mean, I was a curator at VCU at the time and I was following what the Ringling museum was doing.

, in the contemporary arena, because they were doing some pretty innovative things. And so, , the museum had a really dynamic past and contemporary art. Our first director, chick, Austin, really made sure that contemporary, historic and performance could all co-exist together on the Ringling campus.

And that's what he establishes what we are honoring, with our contemporary performance program. With our contemporary visual arts program and with the dynamic,  circus museum and all the other programs, and collections that we offer, they all, mailed together into kind of a wonderful, extraordinary experience.

And I can't help, but really think that John Ringling would be extremely proud of the way that his dream has changed and dynamically. Been inclusive and embracing of the future and all the vibrant qualities that he found to be existing right here in the natural landscape and with the people of Sarasota.

I think that every time 

I'm on your campus. 

well, I think you're absolutely right. He makes some really smart moves, with his will. Where many collectors  of his era, really wanted to control the,  outcome of their collections, such as Isabella Stewart Gardner, where she required that no works could move within the museum.

it's a Frick art museum in New York at a similar issue , they're not allowed to land work.  That was part of the Frick collection at that time. And, a lot of those, donors died kind of controlling what they had built to the detriment of the institution as a whole, where John, he said, well, one, you can't sell anything.

So,  anything that he acquired, we will never be able to sell, which is good preserves, 

I agree. Right. 

in his,  well, he, allowed for us to lend the work as,  much as we wished he also required that we would be free. The art museum would be free one day a week, which we've honored.

, but he allowed us to charge admission on those other days. Cause he realized  it's a business. We have to run a business. And so, , I've been very impressed, particularly  seeing my colleagues who are in these other institutions that have these pretty severe restrictions.

how open John Ringling was. He just wanted people to,  really appreciate and enjoy the work. And however, the best we could do that then, and then into the future, which is now, he laid the groundwork to make that happen.

and that is an elegance and his thought process as a businessman and his logistical vision. Has always impressed me and I like hearing that it,  continues to be such Super important part of the mission. And I'm glad that you mentioned the part of his will. I, tell that to students, as I'm asking them to go in person to the museum and , I tell them them what their ID 

they are admitted for free, but if they really want to take someone and impress them, like on a date, right. That they need to go on Monday. So that. There person can be admitted for free, as is everyone due to the stipulation in the will

Oh, you can put them on another day and pay admission, which is,  appreciated.  that's. Now we keep, float as an institution. , with the cross college Alliance, , we're a founding member of that as well. And so part of what we offer the cross college Alliance is free admission to all their students, anytime.

 , I tell them how valuable that is. 

 we're very happy about that too, because it's great to see, students on campus and, taking advantage of that.

and I think it's useful for them to encounter the new restrictions, be respectful with their cell phones. And we talk about a lot of that when I asked. To visit. You have a great staff that is in the galleries and watching out and really protecting the artwork. As we've seen around the world that, people have kind of lost their idea about themselves and the boundaries between viewing art and touching it or leaning on it or taking selfies with it.

So it's useful for students to encounter these kinds of boundaries and find out how to navigate them. I've found that to be one of the things that they bring back and they talk to me about is that it's just a different kind of space. And, I tell them yes, , they talk about its beauty and its grandeur.

And we talk about that. Yeah. Like this is open to you as a student, . We want you to experience these things while you're here in school. And then I tell them when I go to the wrangling and I want to go to the museum, I pay the admission. So you guys are,  in a special club as students, so

enjoy it, Yeah. , like you say, , I don't mind. Putting that money in the coffer. Cause I know how we're struggling through the pandemic together, which we'll talk about after the break. But I want to  know about your day-to-day life running.  the biggest place you say in your career.

 so can you share what a typical day is like for you 

. Every day is different. right now with COVID I'm doing lots of, zoom meetings. and so not getting around as much because. that it's just simpler  to do these, meetings online and that's both, local regional and national, meetings.

So, pre COVID, I traveled a lot. I followed our collection. I, would,  travel to New York, to see galleries and,  stay  in sync with what's going on today. and, of course all of that came to a close. So since then, I've been pretty much here. And,  thank goodness for zoom.

We can continue the business that we need to do and still remain safe. for instance, next week, I'm doing probably 15 to 20,  zoom meetings with my, staff throughout the department. We will be, presenting our equity statement, that we have just developed and was just approved by the board a couple of weeks ago.

And so we'll be sitting down with each department and really talking with them about the equity statement, what that means, , what our commitments are and  how they can help support, this initiative, to try to make the Ringling museum. As anti-racist institution as possible.

And so this is a  long-term project, but this is  where we're getting started, getting the staff on board. And,  already , the,  board is very much, supportive of the initiative. So that's a little bit about. this coming week, this week, I've been doing a lot of different research projects.

I'm actually curating project with , one of my other staff on the artists, Sam Gilliam. That will be opening in February. and, so I'm in the middle of the final checklist of that. And actually I have a call a little later with one of the lenders, hopefully being able to secure the loans , I need from him.

So, that's one project. Another project I've been working on is really looking at our upper level membership and, creating a data. base of information that we can sort and, play around with to get a sense of how, , different cohorts of our membership, flow through the system , when they decide not to be a member anymore, what are some of the signs that are causing that and 

what are things that we can do? I keep them engaged and keep them involved with the museum. So that's,  another project and, I'm also editing the,  annual review that will be going to press in a couple of weeks. we're in the final stages of editing  that. So,   those are a few things I'm working on this week.

Yeah.

it makes me even happier. Is it you're able to sit down with me take this hour away. And it also gives me some comfort to know that I'm not the only person out there that's just working on really different things  all in the span of maybe one Workday and. It's been a challenge to kind of switch gears and between the, have you found that to be the case for you, like going from research to, 

donors and back to members then editing. 

, sometimes it can be, cause , you don't want to lose your place or where you are in particular projects. But overall, I find it pretty stimulating because you're not getting bogged down. In one sort of thing, and you get a little tired of working on one project, you can easily switch to the next.

 doing this for 40 years, I've gotten used to being able to balance more than one thing at a time. And so  there's a lot of different. issues that come before you, that you are not prepared for, , they come out of the blue, you have to address them.

And sometimes you have to address them. Right. That second, sometimes , it's a more systemic thing that you have to address over a period of time.

and it sounds like everything on your task list  falls into those categories. I was especially thinking about the equity statement that you've developed and that it will roll out. And you will have a series of, you said 15 to 20 meetings with the different. Parts of your organization.

And that to me represents something that's happening pretty privately right now, while,  there's the appearance that we're slowing down or that we're closed, but having been on your campus just recently, lots of safety measures and things are really operating. And then this lets me know they're operating at another level really.

And I think that's

Right. , the real casualty here , with COVID and with  us is that individual unique learning experience,  has gone digital.  in virtual, so all of those, education programs that you would normally get. Sitting in a room,  a group of school kids coming in, , reading books, having books read to them,  that we do called the Ringling order of art readers or lore.

, that's now virtual online. ,  so you don't have that personal interaction with people. But what we do have, which I think is really unique in,  our community is that we have. a really safe space to come. if you want to get  a change of perspective or a change of mind, you can come and you can wander our grounds.

And with 66 acres, It's very easy to social distance, in the museum itself because our galleries are so large. we've been able to social distance in there even on a free day, which is usually the busiest day  of the week. And this last week, I think we had a little over a thousand people in here on Monday.

but there's enough room that you can social distance. Interestingly, it's kind of like an old museum experience in the sense that you come in. There's not a lot of interpretation. It's about  art, on the walls, and it's up to you to make your way through the space safely and observe , the work and make  your own, What the work is about. ultimately we will go back and,  hopefully bring back, our volunteers to be able to provide these, personal kind of connections and,  dialogues and conversations, but that's going to have to wait until after the vaccine.  because , most of my volunteers are older and  at risk.

So  have you had a lot of contact with your volunteers I'm wondering how they're doing and how much they're missing their role there? 

Yeah, it's about 500 people who volunteer with us on an annual basis. And, yes, we do keep in touch with them. We have a volunteer, coordinating committee, which is made up of volunteers who help us, in. Making sure the volunteers are getting what they need. we also, do certain recognition type programs to our volunteers throughout the year.

And we're continuing those, although they're on zoom now. So again, not quite so personal. we, we hear from, some volunteers who really like to come back as soon as we're ready to have them and others are much more cautious  they're a little more hesitant about coming back and being in a position where you're actually.

engaging with visitors. Face-to-face as people are walking in the door that are  ambassadors,  are really wonderful. And they really make people coming into the museum feel welcome and they helped show them how to navigate buying a ticket or whatever they want to do.

but we can't have them in there now. Because, we have to provide protection for, everyone. And so now when you come in, there's  one of our staff that's sitting behind a plexi barrier and,  that person can direct you to, where do you get your tickets on that? But  the old way of doing business isn't happening anytime soon.

 Right. Right. when we come back, I want to talk more about, how the COVID-19 and the pandemic has changed your thinking process and maybe a pathway towards the future. But right now we'll take a break and we'll return in just a moment.

  we're back. And  were talking about your volunteers  and the  coordination and the outreach. , even your visitor's pavilion has changed and you certainly hope that it will go back to more of the warmer greeting that,  a guest encounters upon entry.

I remember when I enter,  I'm usually kind of a rushy rushy, like I just want to get through the pavilion and,  get to the thing that I want to get to, or the meeting or whatever's next on my agenda. But I never forget that the person behind me might be from another country and setting foot there in the lobby for the first time.

So I, love the engagement that I,  see in your volunteers and the staff that work in the visitor's pavilion. I want to explore with you, the social distancing Ringling has always been a great space as we discussed to have some room to move around and to think, but as you move forward, From here, thinking about the vaccine and maybe the days ahead, 

how do you see the art world moving forward?

   COVID is an event and it is something that, will eventually end and,  go away. doesn't mean it's going to go away forever. And it means that I believe . We're going to be in  a environment of having these kinds of infections crop up more and more often as again, we are much more of an international, community.

So I think it's something that we're going to always have to be cognizant of, but I don't think that the fear that we have now. we'll continue, , once we're able to, deal with this particular, virus infection. so will it be a fundamental change in how we do business? , I really don't think so in that light, on the other hand, the social justice, issue and equity issue is a much more substantive.

Impact, to, institutions. And that is going to require us to really look hard at how we do our business, , how we reach out to people, , how diversified we are, , how does the museum reflect its community? And I don't think that's something  that, art museums,  also the entire cultural community.

Hasn't done too well with, as you can see with a lot of the, issues around, the theaters as well, as far as, racism and such. So that is  going to be a fundamental shift in how we do business. And I think that's really. Great and really, terrific. And we need to be, reflective of everyone in our community and, , within my workforce , I'm  proud to say that our board is very diversified and represents, all, communities within our,  footprint here.

 and that's been something we've been working on over the last seven or eight years. And so I I'm really proud of,  where we are there. my senior year staff is,  quite diversified. over 20% of the staff are people of color and I'm proud of that. our challenges, in. Being able to recruit staff  at the mid and lower levels,  with diversity.

and so that  a task that we have before us.  And with that equity statement comes a,  strategic plan to resolve some of these issues. And so we'll be getting to implement those. I think that these issues are things, all the arts and cultural organizations, certainly in the U S have to address.

 and I think they're coming to terms with it now.

I think you're right. And I am loving having this conversation with you as a resident of this geographical area. And you and I have both been witnessed personally to some. Really serious changes in direction, as you've said, with,  your board and  I'm loving your measured approach and that you can report back that there's certainly some things that you're proud of and that you understand that there's also work to be done.

I am very excited about some of the programming that I have. Scene and I'll be specific and say, especially with regard to the artists Johnsons and, what's coming up there in January for part of MLK day.

do you want to talk about that 

absolutely. Yeah. John  is a locally based, artists, but, nationally and internationally known. And he's a mathematician. He actually came to Sarasota to teach math at Ringling college. And he's, ended up staying and he,  works in poetry works in the visual arts. He works in film.

He works in  every aspect of the creative arts, and  advocacy. , one of his major, projects over the years, which is  solely now coming to a close was the Confederate flag , and bringing awareness to the flag. why is it there? , he does these projects with great flair , but they're very serious and,  challenging , subjects to,  deal with. So we're really happy to have him. He's an artist in residence with us, with our performing arts group. So he'll  actually , be doing a  performance on, MLK  day.

And so, we'll actually do partially live in the theater. And then, there will be  a live stream that you can access,

I'm excited. that he's coming in under performance.  I always. Figure out more about the intellectual elegance of John sends his work through his performances.  he is very dynamic in his presentation and he explains things to me in his performance in a way that I understand more deeply. So I'm very much looking forward to that in January.

, the performance program has, Really, evolved, under, Elizabeth Dowd. Who's  our current, Curry Coleman curator of performance art here at the Ringley and she has brought in some amazing programs. However, unfortunately, Many of these have had to be canceled because of COVID.

So she's still struggling with how we're going to allow it. She's trying new ways of,  slowly engaging the audience into live experiences with performance. But, it's been really difficult, for,  her and the performance art team to, , continue to do their program. So what they ended up doing is starting these artists and residency programs.

 since you can't bring a crowd here, we bring the artists here and we provide the artists with support. They can be in  ,  the parade rehearsal studio,  , they can be up there  being able to work on, production , or , some performance or a rehearsal ,  we provide them that space to experiment and then they can wander throughout the museum and engage with whatever else is going on and they'll stay .

In our scholars cottage,  while they're here and  we've been doing a lot of that bringing artists in for a long weekend or for a week , to kind of explore. And then we hope once we come post COVID that we'll be able to bring those artists back,  actually present 

Three. It's almost like you're building up this amazing database,   you're bringing the artists into the space.

Yeah. , and building relationships there too, because I think the artists really enjoy coming here and spending time with us and,  we get a chance to really learn from them.

I think that is so key concept to support artists through the gifts of resources and support and the physical location of your campus. And I'm sure the scholars cottage is amazing. Just the idea of being able to live in the scholars, cottage at the Ringling museum of art in that reminds me of  Really creative promotion that you have going on. Do you want to mention that

 it was, the and gala,  giveaway. So, um, gala was a, event that the museum did a number of years back, uh, was stopped,  a year before I got here. And. It was, sort of, uh, non gala. And so it was a way for people to gather and raise money for the museum, but it wasn't a dinner or it wasn't , an elaborate, event.

And so we started to launch that again last year and really create basically just a great party. And so we had a great first year of it. And then of course this year with COVID, we couldn't do it. So instead, what we did is we created this chance to win we're one,  couple could, Spend the night in the scholar's cottage, they would have a catered dinner in the Belvedere tower, the very cop of the cottage zone.

And then, in the morning have breakfast on the terrace.

It's something we've never done. We've never offered, that kind of access to, anybody other than, visiting scholars. And so, it was very popular. We ended up sewing a lot of tickets, which raised for us over $35,000, which is very much appreciated. And, the lucky winner will,  be, staying with us sometime in March.

 it's  great. And I think as is something that we might consider doing again in the future. So it's a nice way to celebrate certain aspects of the campus, make a little money and . Create a , unique experience for someone.

I really agree. And it,  gave my heart some joy when I investigated that promotion and thought, well, that's wonderful because normally to imagine that you're spending the night, you just kind of have to do that while you're on the tour of the Cod is on. But now these two lucky people will get to experience it.

And I'm sure that we'll get to go along with them on the journey.  

The campus is really interesting , at night. , it's a big campus and it is, empty, except we always have security.  we have animals that exist. We have foxes, sometimes  lately. We've had a couple of baby raccoons that have been playing around right in front of, the, Asian center.

, the animals, the birds, , the quiet that you have down there at night is,  really spectacular. And being able to sit out on the terrace at night and look out over the Bay is,  a pretty wonderful experience.

Yes,  I'm going to continue to imagine that it would be. And, it's a,  beautiful place to go in my imagination. So I think that's a great segue. I promised you some rapid fire questions, which are a fun part of our podcast. And Steven did not get any preview about what these would be like. And so he's trusting me a lot here.

, they're  either or sometimes, , or a short answer and, , it's meant to be lighthearted and fun and,  this isn't the therapist's couch and we're not gonna judge you for any of your answers.  I've got about 10 or so for you?

So 

Okay.

beach or mountains.  well or write well motto or mantra,  concept or process. or power  artist.    

The Banyan cafe will be opening in January and we're   redoing the inside of it. So it's going to look really pretty. That will be a good place to go for lunch.

Okay.  it's always a favorite of mine. bit of a facelift

Pretty big one. It should be 

 Okay. I hope our listeners are paying attention to that part. So January you guys, two extra hours of restful sleep per night or an extra $5,000 a month.

I go for the extra sleep.

you on that favorite opera.

  Oh, I like

It was in,

Verona. 

 And just hearing in your voice, the memory of it, it harks back to our nostalgia for,  live events.   

respect.

substance,  use too much.

 And thank goodness for editing because we'll take out your arms. I like that. That's what I like about editing. 

 I have probably seven or so, but I'm going to have some more, cause  we have a new line of Ringling masks. That's going to be cutting in, to the shop in the next week or two. And they're really,  cool. . One is  a logo mass. Another one is, a mask of the wagon wheels and the circus museum.

pretty cool. And then last one is one of the floral pieces from a broke collection, but really quite

so

you're roping me in. I'm about to expand my  mask wardrobe. It sounds like very soon

jazz or classical  pumpkin or peppermint.

 okay. We're going to do a little visualization real quick. We're going to close our eyes. It's Friday, . The weather is beautiful. of a place on the waterfront to have a libation as the sunsets to celebrate being alive.

 Well, just stand at the end of my street,    Sapphire shores, this, this beautiful little Bay. And, it's just a lovely place to have an evening drink, which we do

often another place that I do, but you're not, supposed to is, over, tree trail. at the museum where it takes you right down to the Bay. But, I don't encourage that from anyone because the security will end up kicking you out.

Hey that place will have to stay in our imagination.

believe that Sapphire shores is aptly named , for certain. 

  I recently did a session with, you need a snail with a lot of their, high school students going off into. The cultural arena. And, it was really,  great to have the opportunity to,  talk with them and to respond to questions.  I was me and a couple of other folks who are participating in it.

And I think what really came across is to, , just really have a vision, for, where you want to be. And,  that you have to, work. Hard and,  do the work necessary to get you there. , but , working in this field is extremely, rewarding, 

and it pays well . In addition. so I encourage people to explore the arts, explore working, in the cultural arena. cause I think it's something they'll enjoy for the rest of their lives.

I would agree with that. And it's exciting to think about where this next generation of, cultural workers will take us with their ideas about the future. to wrap up there one powerful or 10 powerful things

 Yeah, , there are lots of ways to support the museum, but simplest way. And I think the one that you would, enjoy is just come visit, as it was pointed out, we are free on Monday for the art museum. , and , you can access the grounds for $5  any day and,  wander,  around the Arboretum.

 we really didn't. Talk about this, but the grounds are in accredit Arboretum now, and they're really beautiful. And I,  encourage people to come and just spend time walking around the grounds.  , that's the simplest way and to tell and share that with your friends and family and,  any, visitors that are coming into town clearly there's less and less of that right now.

But, eventually it will be safe to travel again. And we look forward to welcoming 

  I can tell you that I will be advising lots of people to spend some time, especially during the month of December, when maybe we have some downtime and we want to get out and enjoy the weather to come take a walk with me at the Ringling. , it's one of my favorite places. So you never have to ask me twice to meet you at the Ringling museum.

That's for sure.

One of my favorite places on the planet. And I will remind our listeners that they can find out a lot more about what you have currently on exhibition and look at the calendar and there'll be links on our website@suncoastcultureclub.com. So let me one more time. Welcome you to our Suncoast culture club.

And I know that our conversation has been illuminating that maybe thought they knew you or thought they knew the Ringling. And , for people who are finding out about the Ringling in our own backyard for the very first time. So thank you again for joining me , Steven.

Thanks. Nice to be asked. And I enjoyed the conversation.

I did as well. And I look forward to forging connections with all of my artistic partners into the future. And it's not always a question Mark, but it's full of possibility. Right?

Well, and good luck to you at the state colleagues gallery as well. I look forward to seeing lots of things. You see things happening that. 

Thank you. Somebody told me yesterday that maybe the pandemic has given me permission that I've always been looking for to blow the lid off the pot. So stay tuned for that. Thank you again, Steven.  Bye-bye