At a school like Florida Tech where STEM is highly valued, the highlight of local arts and new technology within community made its debut at its own auditorium.
Gleason Performing Arts Center held their first arts showcase on Oct. 4 presenting an array of space-themed paintings and the display of their new lighting system and LED screens.
The showcase also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the auditorium, with about 86 attendees at the event.
William O’Steen, the general manager, and Jeffrey Richardson, the assistant manager, created this showcase to not only show their new direction for Gleason but also to display their new equipment and abilities.
“We wanted to find an opportunity to thank the campus and community for taking part in the upgrades and improvements we have made,” Richardson said. “It was our way of inviting everyone to a free and inclusive event where we could show some of the types of events our building can support.”
According to Richardson, this was their first event that focused on their own creativity, with an attempt on utilizing their own production knowledge.
The front lobby was decorated with giant paintings from local artists Christopher Maslow and Mark Gilliam, as well as having a
lighting control booth for guests to interact with featuring colored spotlights.
Big LED screens were hinged on the front wall, presenting advertisements and graphics from Florida Tech College Players and Florida Tech Video Productions.
Before the main event, a special VIP event was held on stage for donors and the school’s administration to meet with Gleason staff and the keynote speaker, Salem Murphy.
The showcase opened up with Anja and The Band, an alternative/pop/rock group, for the first thirty minutes.
The performance was then followed by the keynote speaker, Salem Murphy, an actress and producer known for her role as the principal in season one of “Stranger Things,” as well as “Abe” and “Reckless.”
Murphy graduated from Florida Tech in 1986 in business and finance and was invited through the Office of Development for the showcase.
“I was honored to be part of the showcase,” Murphy said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to see all the ways in which Florida Tech has thrived throughout the years.”
Evan Olsen, assistant director of dining services, presented Murphy as the keynote speaker and interviewed her on stage.
“It was a great experience for me as an MC,” Olsen said. “It was my first time being a formal speaker outside of my dining services circle.”
Murphy explained her experience at Florida Tech, her personal growth and her journey in becoming an actress in the industry.
“Just to see how many wonderful things are happening here at Florida Tech is pretty cool,” Murphy said.
Olsen said that he would like Gleason to have more events like these geared towards the student body.
“After this event, I’d say there is an opportunity in doing showcase events of various talents, such as comedians and bands,” Olsen said. “Even though it’s utilized more for formal events, I would like the students to get more involved with Gleason.”
Richardson heard this type of feedback from the audience and is looking into making this showcase a recurring event.
“Much of the new equipment we use in our building is shown frequently at events around campus,” Richardson said. “We make every event we support on campus a way that we can show off some of the new creative equipment that we desire.”