Local Routes – Art in the Time of COVID (Episode 606)

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Birds-eye view of Havana, Florida.

In just under 30 minutes, we cover quite a bit of our local territory. In this episode, we head to Havana (and get the chance to fly our drone over the part of the town). We also spend some time in downtown Tallahassee. Then, we dig down into the ground of north and south Tallahassee and learn why the Red Hills are red and why other areas are so sandy.

We also visit Lake Elberta in Tallahassee on a beautiful spring day, as we are surrounded by quite a few birds, (who are quite vocal—you can hear them in the background of my standups) but more on their habitat and some plans for it in a moment.

Havana puts the Ah-hah in Art

necklaces and other jewelry displayed on a table and in a box
Handcrafted jewelry on display at a Pop-up event in Havana, Florida

Art is the focus for our first adventure on this episode of Local Routes. WFSU’s Mike Plummer visits Havana to explore efforts to create AHA. It’s pronounced “Ah-Hah”, but’s it’s not a joke. AHA stands for Artists Helping Artists. Led by the efforts of the business/community organization Havana Main Street, the long-term goal of this organization is to create a haven for artists, and in turn, create a new tourist and revenue source for the town.

Music with a Mission

Now we move from visual art to musical art. Cat Family Records in Tallahassee is adapting their business model after the pandemic ended their live music events. WFSU’s Devin Bittner explores the history of the business. The company was started by brothers Scott and Nick Bell. Here’s a look at how they’ve changed their mission in the last year to focus on different activities.

A group of people on a stage and in audience
bandanna performs before a live audience pre-pandemic. (Photo: Addison T. Mathis)

New Plans, New Tech, New Events

Music, painting, and hand-crafted art are not the only types of art that has faced challenges this year. Arts organizations and festivals like Theater with a Mission, Word of South, and the Chain of Parks have had to adjust their plans. Many have incorporated virtual activities and limited ticketing plans into their events. WFSU’s Calendar of Events is a great way to find out about upcoming events or help get your organization’s information out to the public. Check out what’s coming up for the week, or add your event to the calendar. There’s even a virtual category. Plus, if you sign up for WFSU’s Calendar of Events Newsletter you can find out what’s happening each week. It’s a great way to stay up to date on what’s happening in our community.

What puts the red in the Red Hills?

Pile of red soil
Pile of red soil found in the Red Hills of Florida.

WFSU’s Rob Diaz de Villegas and the UF/IFAS Leon County Extension Agent Mark Tancig dig into the reasons why the soil in our area can be so different. Why do some parts have red soil and others have a mixture of sand? Rob and Mark journey north and south and look at the dividing line in the dirt… I mean soil. (Seriously, don’t call it dirt.)

The Birds of Lake Elberta

South of the FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium, just off Lake Bradford Road is Lake Elberta.  WFSU’s Rob Diaz de Villegas has often showed us the popularity of this area for a wide variety of birds in the region.  In this episode we highlight a video seen first on WFSU Local Routes Facebook Page about the return of Purple Martins. 

WFSU’s intern Chloe Thompson also shares with us information about a special trash cleanup date she’s organizing at the lake on Saturday, March 27th. You can learn more about the event and register at wfsu.org/LEcleanup. If you want to learn more about Chloe’s internship, check out her post on the WFSU Ecology Blog.

SciGirls 2021 Goes Virtual

Logo, company name

The SciGirls Summer Camps, run by the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and WFSU Public Media have helped local middle school girls explore the worlds of science, technology engineering, and math (STEM) for years. Like most things in 2020, the pandemic prevented the camp from happening. However, this year the girls can take part in a virtual experience. The deadline to apply is April 8th. Learn more at the Maglab’s website.

A man standing on a stage

Oliver Sacks: His Own life

The PBS program American Masters is hosting the Ric Burns documentary, Oliver Sacks: His Own Life on Friday, April 9th. You can see it on WFSU Public Media that evening at 10 pm ET. Thanks to a grant from American Masters, WFSU Public Media has the opportunity to explore more about the work and influence of Oliver Sacks. Join WFSU Public Media and Midtown Reader on Wednesday, March 31st at 7 pm ET for a discussion about Sack’s book “An Anthropologist on Mars.”  The book explores 7 cases that Sacks wrote about.  We are offering free copies of the book to the first 60 people to register. Plus, we’re talking with folks from the FSU College of Medicine and Capital Regional Medical Center about their work and the influence Sacks had on their fields.  You’ll be able to see some of those stories in our next episode of Local Routes which will be coming to you on Thursday, April 8th

book with circles on cover and name An Anthropologist on Mars also logo for WFSU Public Media and Midtown Reader

Have a great March everyone!

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Suzanne Smith

Suzanne Smith is Executive Producer for Television at WFSU Public Media. She oversees the production of local programs at WFSU, is host of WFSU Local Routes, and a regular content contributor.

Suzanne’s love for PBS began early with programs like Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and continues to this day. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri with minors in political science and history. She also received a Master of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of Florida.

Suzanne spent many years working in commercial news as Producer and Executive Producer in cities throughout the country before coming to WFSU in 2003. She is the National Educational Telecommunications Association’s Content Peer Learning Community Chair and a member of Public Media Women in Leadership organization.

In her free time, Suzanne enjoys spending time with family, reading, watching television, and exploring our community.