Studio@620 The Studio@620

The 2012 Studio Honors Presented by Tampa Bay Times: Something Else Entirely

At the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club

Since opening in 2004, The Studio@620 has been a gathering place where visual and performance arts flourish, lively public discussions ensue, and partnerships with other groups produce the possibilities that anything creative can happen there.

Studio Honors began as the Social Justice Pioneer Awards, which recognized some of the most influential people of our age, including John Hope Franklin, Susan Sarandon, John Lewis, Herb Snitzer, Ray Arsenault, and St. Petersburg’s own premier jazz musician Buster Cooper. The Studio Honors event represents what is best about the Studio by honoring six individuals who have contributed to the intellectual, artistic, economic, social, and cultural aspects of life in the Tampa Bay community and the world beyond.

The Tampa Bay Times is the presenting sponsor for the 2012 Studio Honors, scheduled for Saturday, March 24, 2012, at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg. 

While we wine you and dine you, prepare for an entertaining show full of surprises. You’ll witness a Procession of the Giant Puppet Ballet, musical performances featuring legendary bassist John Lamb, a salute to the honorees by Saint Petersburg’s Poet Laureate Peter Meinke, a rousing number
by a community chorus featuring Sharon Scott and the fantastic Dundu Dole Urban African Ballet!

Bob Devin Jones, Producer and Director
Nate Najar, Musical Director
Kimberly Jackson and Amber Brinkley, Event Co-chairs
Duncan McClellan, Award Design

Friends of the Studio sponsors include Sylvia Rusche, SPACE, and Sonia Raymund.

The 2012 Honorees

david j fischer David J. Fischer, COMMUNITY LEADER, has served the Tampa Bay region and City of St. Petersburg in extraordinary ways. As a leader in St. Petersburg city government, first as city council member and then as strong mayor under a change from city manager government, he brought vision, patience, fairness, humility, and management skills to a transition that saw many accomplishments during his tenure.  First elected in 1991, he governed with calm and evenness during a time of racial violence in 1996-97.  Colleagues who served on City Council during his years at the city’s helm credit him with bringing financial stability to the city. He listened to concerns of St. Petersburg’s neighborhoods, even as attention was focused on downtown development. He believes his longest-lasting legacy will be the trees planted during his administration, over 18,000 and an equal or greater number of shrubs throughout the city. Following his departure from office in 2001, Mr. Fischer became a member of The Florida Orchestra board of directors, serving as chair until 2004. He was named president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay in 2004. His leadership there was fed by a commitment to grass roots community changing organizations, such as Studio@620.  During the seven years he headed the Foundation, he increased its assets from $90 million in 2004 to $145 million in 2011, and he increased the Foundation’s involvement with at-risk youth. As an emeritus trustee of Eckerd College, Mr. Fischer demonstrates his commitment to education. His qualities, evident in all his endeavors, are vision, perseverance, fairness, authenticity, and humility.


glenn grieves Glenn Grieves, EMERGING ARTIST Honoree, is a Largo native and 2005 honors graduate of the Pinellas Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School.  In 2009, he was graduated in theater arts production and management from Manhattan Marymount College, receiving the Golden Key of Achievement in Production and Management. During college, he worked on lighting design and provided technical assistance for summer programs at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Mr. Grieves began working with Bob Devin Jones as stage manager for “Smokey Joe’s Café” at the Palladium Theater. He began producing in 2006 with “The Wild Party,” a co-production of Studio@620 and the Palladium, which grossed $20,000 over its four-performance run.  He also produced the successful “Girlie Show” in 2007 and 2008. His fundraising in New York City began with the New York Theater Workshop and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Since 2009, he has been, first an intern, now on staff, at the nonprofit MCC Theater Company as a member of the development team. The off-Broadway MCC Theater is known for its innovative work and support of students and new playwrights and will have its first permanent home, five times the size of current space, beginning in 2013 or early 2014. As a member of the development staff, Mr. Grieves works specifically in individual giving and Board relations. Mr. Grieves is the recipient of the 2012 Ola Mae Jones Emerging Artist Award, named in honor of Mr. Devin Jones mother.


jai hinson Jai Hinson, CHOREOGRAPHER and EDUCATOR, is founder and executive director of the nonprofit Life Force Cultural Arts Academy. She is also Artistic Director of Dundu Dole Urban African Ballet and choreographer for the annual production of The Chocolate Nutcracker.  Since Ms. Hinson presented the first dance class in 1991, Life Force has provided programs for children, adults, and families around the Tampa Bay region. Performances by the dancers and drummers of Dundu Dole and the touring company of The Chocolate Nutcracker reach audiences throughout southeastern United States.  Jai began her study of dance at age 9 in Newark, New Jersey.  She received a scholarship to the Dance Theater of Harlem when she was 14 and has studied with internationally recognized choreographers, including Alvin Ailey. She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration from Springfield College in Tampa.  In 2006, she received Bank of America’s “Local Hero” award, one of many ways her work has been recognized. Ms. Hinson’s example of community engagement and enrichment conveys to young people trained in Life Force programs, and many give back by offering their expertise to others through teaching and performing.  Life Force employs Florida artists to work with young people in a program focused on mentoring and employment called “Each One Teach One.” Life Force graduates continue their education, frequently through performing arts and academic scholarships. Many graduates start their own businesses or pursue careers in various fields including education, health care, accounting, banking, and travel. Whatever the choices, those who have been part of Jai Hinson’s programs have been inspired by and benefited from the education and experiences that nurtured their talents, taught them skills, and built the self-confidence needed to succeed.


johnnie b mack Mrs. Johnnie B. Mack, CIVIC ACTIVIST, is a woman of leadership and courage. In 1982, she began a Crime Watch program in south St. Petersburg.  At the time, there were no associations representing African-American neighborhoods. Working with a group of 13 people, the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, and CONA (Council of Neighborhood Associations) as CONA’s first African-American member, Mrs. Mack expanded from her own neighborhood to others nearby. In addition to pursuing elimination of crime, she led efforts to improve the appearance of property in the neighborhoods.  In the Crime Watch endeavor, St. Petersburg police leaders gave her strong support. In her words, “Chief Johnny Harris worked closely with me. Chief Darnell promoted the group also.” Eventually, she was so successful that she visited other states promoting Crime Watch alongside Academy Award winning actor George Kennedy. Mrs. Mack has continued to work with neighbors and police to ensure quality of life in the community. A current focus of her pride is the resource center, where residents and police can talk about issues and concerns. In a recent interview at the Salvador Dali Museum’s “Our Town” program, Mrs. Mack spoke about what has motivated her to be a community activist, at times putting her own safety at risk because she remained a stalwart ally of police, despite those who at times considered them enemies. “I wanted us to have one city. Not north side and south side. I want to teach young ladies to be moms. I want to teach young boys to become proud black men. We need love and to stop looking at color.”

bill maxwell Bill Maxwell, JOURNALIST and EDUCATOR.  A Florida native, Mr. Maxwell grew up watching the civil rights movement unfold and observing—and being influenced by--resulting changes in his hometown, Fort Lauderdale. Race relations in America have been a central theme in his professional writing and teaching work since then.  At Studio@620, he has been a speaker at Social Justice Roundtables, and he and Bob Devin Jones collaborated on “Negrobilia,” produced at Studio and in Clearwater. The Florida Humanities Council sponsored performances of Mr. Maxwell’s play “Parallel Lives,” in which Mr. Devin Jones acted. Mr. Maxwell’s first college teaching assignment came when he joined the faculty in Chicago of Kennedy-King College where he taught English and journalism for 18 years before turning to active journalism.  He has taught at colleges and community colleges in Florida as well as Illinois and Alabama, and most recently, he has been an adjunct professor at St. Petersburg College. In 1994, Bill Maxwell joined the Tampa Bay Times, following a journalistic career that began with the Fort Pierce Tribune and continued to the Gainesville Sun, where he spent six years as a columnist and was syndicated by the New York Times. Growing up in a migrant farm family, he has written about the difficulties migrant families face. As an educator, he views education in America from all sides. He has written about the shortcomings of schools but he has also taken parents to task for their role in children’s academic success or failure. His book Maximum Insight (2001) is a compendium of his columns. Reviewing the book, Publishers Weekly said, “Maxwell offers his perspective on the environment, education, politics, migrant workers and his life as an African-American. This is journalistic writing at its best….”

mark medoffMark H. Medoff, PLAYWRIGHT, DIRECTOR, SCREENWRITER, EDUCATOR, was born in Illinois and moved to Miami where he attended school and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Miami. He also holds a Master’s degree from Stanford. The first of his plays to reach New York City was When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder? for which he was honored in 1974 with Drama Desk and Obie awards for “Outstanding New Playwright.” The play for which he is most recognized is Children of a Lesser God, which opened on Broadway in 1980 and received the Tony, Drama Desk, and Laurence Olivier awards for “Best Play.”  In 1986, Mr. Medoff co-wrote the screenplay for the movie version of Children of a Lesser God, for which deaf actress Marlee Matlin won the Golden Globe Award and Academy Award as best actress.  Mr. Medoff  has published 26 plays. Among them is Tommy J & Sally,  first produced in 2002 in Washington, DC, with Bob Devin Jones as director. In 2009, St. Petersburg audiences saw a Studio@620 production, and Mr. Medoff, who at the time was teaching at the University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance, conducted a workshop at Studio in conjunction with the production and an audience talk-back on opening night.  He also engaged in audience talk-back sessions in Washington, and an interview with him in the Washington Post on March 15, 2002, notes, “…his latest work [is] a two-person hostage drama that examines contemporary race relations….’In that theatre, what I found was that so many people appreciated the aggressiveness of the dialogue on race. And I really appreciated that. We pretend that we’ve addressed the racial issue in this country but we haven’t.’” For close to 30 years, Mr. Medoff taught at New Mexico State University where he headed the Department of Theatre Arts, co-founded the American Southwest Theatre Company, and has taught courses on playwriting, screenwriting, acting, film directing, and producing. He has also taught at Florida State University. For his work as an educator, he received the Kennedy Center Medallion for Excellence in Education and Artistic Achievement.

About The Studio Honors

"The Studio Honors give us an opportunity to acknowledge individuals whose lives reflect the ideals and programming characteristic of the Studio," says Bob Devin Jones, Artistic Director of the Studio@620. "We invite old and new friends of the Studio to celebrate the 2012 honorees, former St. Petersburg Mayor and CEO of the Tampa Bay Community Foundation David Fischer, outstanding emerging artist Glenn Grieves, choreographer and educator Jai Hinson, civic activist Mrs. Johnnie B. Mack; journalist, author, and educator Bill Maxwell; and Tony Award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and educator Mark Medoff.”

Bob Devin Jones will produce and direct the 2012 Studio Honors celebration. Glass artist Duncan McClellan, who creates the Studio Honors awards, says, "At Studio@620 their motto is 'the answer is always yes'. This infectious message can be seen at any Studio event. Bob and his team create an enthusiasm for community that is palpable and keeps you wanting more."  Studio@620 trustees Amber Brinkley and Kim Jackson are the gala co-chairs.

The 2012 Studio Honors will begin at 6:20 p.m. on Saturday, March 24. Individual tickets for dinner and entertainment are $175 or $1,500 for a table of ten. Sponsorships are available as are program ads. All proceeds benefit the Studio@620, a 501(c)(3) entity. Reservations are required: contact 727.895.6620 or or     


Chance Drawing! One Week at a Tuscan Villa!

Some lucky person will be spending a week in a private villa in San Sano, Italy! Ron and Sherry Sacino have donated a week’s stay in their private, two bedroom, two bathroom villa located in the Tuscan countryside.
Blackout dates for 2012 are June 23rd—September 22nd, 2012. It is requested that the villa is used in 2012. Suggested Donation of $50 per chance, limited to 200 entries. Winner will be announced during the Studio Honors awards ceremony but you do not need to be present to win. Purchase your chance online!

For complete rules click here: Studio620officialrules-2-24-2012.

About Casa Amore

Casa Amore is filled with light and space built into the side of a hill on the ground floor with all doors and windows opening out onto a large, multi-level garden terrace that overlooks the vineyards in the quaint village of San Sano. Casa Amore is located on the front side of a newly restored medieval building (about 12th century), now home to eight separate apartments.

The two bedroom, two bathroom villa has a large, fully equipped gourmet Tuscan kitchen with connecting dining and living rooms – a wonderful entertainment area for friends and family and plenty of room for everyone. The living room has a flat screen TV, DVD player and iPod/CD stereo. The winters are warmed with a wood-burning stove in the living room.

For more information visit

Patron Sponsors

Smith & Associates Realtors
Al May Central Art Supply Company Bank of AmericaBella Brava City of St. Petersburg Creative Loafing Eckerd CollegeHermanHOME Florida Humanities Council i love the 'burg Gobioff Foundation Florida Arts and Culture - Florida Division  of Cultural Affairs Kahwa Coffee Roasting Law Offices of  Diane Bailey, P.C.Progress Energy Renaissance Vinoy Hotel Rouson & Associates Sembler Company Stetson University College of Law St. Pete Brasserie St Petersburg/Clearwater  Convention and Visitor’s Bureau St. Petersburg Times SunTrust Bank TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach Trust for Public Land Tyrone Frame & Mirror USF St. Petersburg Watermark