Letter from our October 2017 Guest Editor: Suzanne Livesay, Vice President of Education, David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts
I’m delighted to play the role of guest editor for this month’s Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine. As vice president of education at the David. A Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, I direct the vision and logistics of the Patel Conservatory with the input of a dedicated staff of artist-teachers. Acting as the “principal” of the conservatory, I have the pleasure of working in one of the area’s most inspiring venues in a position that oversees performing arts training to students of all ages.
Ever since my children’s theater and school choir days growing up in St. Pete, the arts have been a source of joy, challenge and fulfillment for me. They led me to my undergrad degree in musical theater, a professional performance career just out of college and to my ultimate calling, directing middle and high school theater. My patient and supportive husband Gil also found youth work to be his life’s passion. So, our careers took us from central Florida, to Denver (twice), Atlanta and back to Orlando. In September 2014, my career led us with our two teenage, performing arts-focused daughters, Micah and Wren, to a transformed Tampa Bay area.
What has not changed since my childhood is the need for students of all ages to observe and participate in the performing arts. The benefits of exposure to and training in the arts reaches beyond a simple performance into the very being of the person, helping form who he or she is and will become.