alex-heffner-headshotArt is a powerful medium of political expression – and has been since the beginnings of recorded history. But in a political arena saturated with terse, ephemeral electronic message, does art – especially public art in an urban environment – still have legitimacy in fostering civic consciousness and building social capital?

That is a question which a distinguished author and panel will attempt to answer in a forum at the Museum of Fine Arts, sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College. Titled Art of Politics: A Silent Message in a Tweeting World, the forum will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg. It is co-sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and WEDU Television. Admission is free, but advance registration is required.

Peter Kageyama, St. Petersburg author and community development consultant, will lead a discussion of the impact of art not just as a form of political expression but also as a statement about the urban landscape in which we live. He will be joined by local artist Derek Donnelly, who creates large scale murals with an alliance of artists and community leaders through Public Art Project Inc. Donnelly will create an original work during the program. Dr. Tara Newsom, associate professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at St. Petersburg College, will moderate the program.

That art is a form of political expression cannot be denied. The earliest cave drawings are expressions about human supremacy over animals – or of one tribe’s dominance of another. Political art takes many forms – from dictators’ propaganda banners lining the streets to insurgents’ graffiti surreptitiously sprayed on outdoor walls to Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica, a most powerful anti-war painting. Certainly much of Salvador Dali’s work in St. Petersburg’s Dali Museum is infused with political meaning.

But in the 2016 political arena, dominated by tweets, texts and instagrams, does public art have the same impact it once did to generate public emotion and influence political opinion? The panel will join in discussing the impact of art not just as a form of political expression but also as a statement about the urban landscape in which we live.

Admission is free, but advance registration is required at solutions.spcollege.edu/

gmfslider-1St. Petersburg College is partnering with the Gasparilla Music Foundation to support music and education through the community outreach program, Recycled Tunes. Gently used instruments can be donated from Nov. 14-18 at SPC locations. The instruments will be refurbished by Recycled Tunes and then donated to Pinellas County Schools’ music programs.

The first 40 donors will receive a special music lover’s gift bag. All donors will receive:

  • A two-day ticket to the 2017 Gasparilla Music Festival
  • A ticket to the SPC’s MIRA (Music Industry Recording Arts) Fall Showcase at the Palladium Theater on Nov. 28

The donation drop-off times include:

  • 1-5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14 and Wednesday, Nov. 16
  • 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15 and Thursday, Nov. 17
  • 9 a.m. – noon on Friday, Nov. 18

The SPC drop-off locations include:

  • SPC Clearwater Campus (ST 122), 2465 Drew St.
  • SPC Seminole Campus (UP 192), 9200 113th N
  • SPC St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus (SS Building), 6605 5th N.
  • SPC Downtown Campus (DC 225), 244 2nd N., St. Petersburg
  • SPC Allstate Center (Main Entrance –Front Desk), 3200 34th S., St. Petersburg
  • SPC Tarpon Springs Campus (Mon., Wed., Fri. AG Building; and Tue. and Thur., FA Building, Library), 600 Klosterman Rd.

For more information, contact Rosaria Pipitone at 727-314-4722 or visit here.

Online Colleges ranked St. Petersburg College number one out of 112 Florida peer institutions for Best Online College. The college received a 99.61 overall rating. Each year, more than 20,000 students take classes through SPC’s award-winning eCampus online learning program. More than 650 online courses and dozens of degrees can be taken completely online.

img_0395-x2The United States Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, and so The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) honors Sept. 17 as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day as part of Constitution Week.

From Sept. 12-24, 2016, more than 38,000 new citizens participated in 240 naturalization ceremonies across the nation, and at St. Petersburg College’s Clearwater Campus, 122 new American citizens took the oath of allegiance at their Naturalization Ceremony on Friday, Sept. 16.

The Hon. Elizabeth A. Kovachevich, United States District Judge of the Middle District of Florida, led the new American Citizens, representing 32 countries, through their Oath as family and friends proudly witnessed.

SPC student Pa Yang gave an emotional opening address, speaking about her family traveling from Laos to make the U.S. their new home.

“I know you’ve worked hard and accomplished so much to be here today,” said Yang. “I’m proud of all of you who are in front me today. I congratulate you all on behalf of St. Petersburg College and to you I say, ‘Welcome home!’”

img_0307-x2Brittany Anchor, President of the Student Veterans Association at the Clearwater Campus, led the Pledge of Allegiance and described the ceremony as a beautiful thing to witness.

“I work directly with veterans who fought for our freedom and understand the value of our liberties,” said Anchor. “I get to witness people who also had to go through a life-changing process and now can enjoy the same liberties we value. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Music Education student Kodey Beard sang the national anthem and “God Bless America”.

“I never thought I would witness this day, but I’m really glad I had the opportunity,” said Beard.

The 122 new citizens came from the following countries: Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Lithuania, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Following the ceremony, Donald Jarrell, Community Relations Officer for the United States Citizenship Immigration Services, held an information session in the ES building about the process of becoming a United States Citizen.

View more pictures here.

St. Petersburg College Foundation received $46,332 in scholarship funds from the Florida College System Foundation (FCSF). The funding presentation took place at the Board of Trustees’ meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20. FCSF awarded more than $893,000 in scholarship funds to Florida’s 28 colleges throughout the state. The scholarships are aimed at relieving the nursing shortage and helping students who are the first in their family to attend college.

SPC Foundation scholarships include:

  • Nursing and Allied Health scholarships:
    • $15,524 from Florida Blue
  • First Generation scholarships:
    • $25,680 from Helios Education Foundation
    • $5,128 from Bank of America

img_0446-lSPC student and Helios Education scholarship recipient Yadira Aguilar Rivera received $1,500 as a first-generation college student. She’s a sophomore working toward an Associate in Arts degree in General Education. She hopes to complete a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.

“I had to work two jobs in order to pay for college because of my immigration status,” said Rivera. “This scholarship enables me to focus on what’s important for my education. It allows me to be one step closer to my goal without financial uncertainty.”

With more than 60 percent of SPC students relying on tuition assistance, the Foundation’s scholarships are increasingly important in helping these students achieve their academic and career goals.

The SPC Foundation is accepting applications for scholarships until Sept. 28 for the Spring 2017 term. All materials, including application and letter of recommendation, must be submitted by 5 p.m. Sept. 28 to be eligible for Spring 2017 consideration. Applications for 2016-2017 Study Abroad Scholarships will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Nov. 1.

For more information about scholarships and to apply, visit the SPC Foundation website.

isps-bannerSt. Petersburg College is hosting one of the most widely-watched events of the political season on Monday, Sept. 19: a debate by candidates for U.S. House District 13. The debate will be staged at the Palladium Theater, 253 5th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, and is co-sponsored by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions, the Tampa Bay Times and WTSP 10News. WTSP will broadcast the debate live from 7 to 8 p.m.

Political observers in Florida and around the nation are closely watching the campaign in District 13, which covers central and south Pinellas County. That’s because it is one of 15 House seats targeted by the Democratic Party nationally to gain control of Congress, and it features two well-known local candidates with a record for reaching across the aisle to seek consensus. They are former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Democrat, and the incumbent, U.S. Rep. David Jolly, a Republican.

Long held by Republicans, District 13 became a more competitive district after being redrawn by court order in 2015. It is considered a swing district in the battle over control of Congress in this election. Rep. Jolly was elected in 2014 following the death of U.S. Rep. C. W. Bill Young, who held the seat for almost four decades and was a widely respected centrist.

Rep. Jolly has to an extent followed Young’s example, voting against his party’s majority on several key policy issues in his first term and speaking out against Congress’ focus on fund-raising at the expense of legitimate legislative work.

Former Gov. Crist spent most of his political career as a Republican, but switched to Independent for an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 and to the Democratic Party in 2012.

The event is open to the public and admission is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at the Palladium box office, limit two per person, beginning at noon Wednesday, Aug. 31. For more information on the event, please visit the Institute’s website or call 727-394-6942. For questions regarding tickets, please contact the Palladium Box office at 727-822-3590.

spc_horz_rbIn response to the recent, nationwide closure of ITT Technical Institute (ITT Tech), St. Petersburg College (SPC) has developed a transitional team to support ITT Tech students.

SPC has a team of admissions, advising, and financial assistance staff members ready to assist ITT Tech students to enroll in classes as early as September 12 (SPC’s Express Term) or October 10 (one of SPC’s 8-week fall modules). SPC offers several programs aligned to ITT Tech programs, including Information Technology, Business, Health Sciences, Criminal Justice and Drafting and Design.

SPC staff can help answer questions about:

  • Transcript evaluation and credit transfers
  • Financial aid
  • Degrees and certifications
  • Academic programs, including any specific requirements
  • Veterans’ Services

Note: SPC is waiving its $40 application fee to students displaced by the ITT closure.

spc-itt-tech-help“We are prepared to assist ITT Technical Institute students who are looking to finish their degrees or certification programs,” said SPC President Bill Law. “This is an unfortunate situation that has affected thousands of students working to build a better future for themselves and their families through their pursuit of higher education, and we hope we can accommodate ITT Tech students in achieving those goals.”

St. Petersburg College offers regionally accredited college certificate programs, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees, as well as a number of workforce certification programs. Many industry-recognized certification programs may be completed in just a few months.

SPC, Florida’s oldest community college and the first in the state to offer four-year degrees, has 10 learning centers conveniently located throughout Pinellas County and offers many programs completely online. The college also offers students many free resources, including: advising by certified career and academic advisors, tutoring and homework help, job prep, internships, accessibility services, and much more.

For more information, students can contact SPC at (727) 341-4400 or information@spcollege.edu.