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East County Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010 12 years ago

American Ideals founder to create Ranch Arts Council

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — As a veteran composer and pianist, Bob Moffa doesn’t just feel music.

It’s almost a part of him. Nearly every thought and fiber of his being is dedicated to the arts and bringing each performance, with its emotions and passions, to life for others, as well.

So when Moffa first visited Lakewood Ranch, he couldn’t help but notice the area lacked enough of what he loved most.

“There wasn’t much in the area of the arts like sculpture, murals and concerts,” said Moffa, a Ruskin resident and founder of the American Ideals Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to bringing the arts into communities in the United States and world. “There are things being done, but there should be more. The foundation’s tag is to present American ideals through the arts. We have (for) over 30 years put the arts into communities without charge.”

Moffa, the lead organizer of the future Veterans Memorial Park at San Marco Plaza, now is working to create the Lakewood Ranch Arts Council, a group intended to bring all types of arts free to the public in Lakewood Ranch through corporate sponsorships. He hopes to have six charter board members in place by Sept. 1 to start organizing events, as well as people who would be interested in becoming members.

Board members must live in Lakewood Ranch and have a love for all types of the arts as well as an appreciation for different cultures.

The group’s first event, which will be done in partnership with the American Ideals Foundation, will be a concert by Moffa at Gold Coast Eagle Distributorship in late October, Moffa said.

The American Ideals Foundation has brought the arts into cities and towns across the nation but usually just for one-time events. However, it did start an arts council in Hernando County in the early 1980s that is still running, Moffa said. Lakewood Ranch’s council would be similar.

“We don’t want to do just one (event) and leave the area,” Moffa said. “We’re planting a seed to get it started. In the future, this arts council could be part of Lakewood Ranch even if it’s incorporated into a city. This is not a moneymaker.”

Moffa said the American Ideals Foundation would work with the Lakewood Ranch Arts Council for as long as it needs to get started properly, whether that is six months or several years.

“We’d like to bring in weekly and monthly arts shows in Lakewood Ranch as well as orchestral and outdoor concerts, pop and rock,” Moffa said. “We’d like to have more sculpture work throughout Lakewood Ranch and more cultural activities for children.”

Art shows could even include the work of children, senior citizens or disabled veterans, he said.

Having the council in place also will be a draw for businesses looking to relocate to the area, Moffa said, adding that in his discussions with large corporations, they often ask about what cultural and musical opportunities — whether music lessons or concerts — would be available to their employees.

“This is important for a community to have growth,” Moffa said of the council.

Cultural events, whether musical or dance performances or interactive poetry readings, will bring the community together and will make it stronger, he said.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

Anyone interested in interested in becoming a charter member of Lakewood Ranch Arts Council member or getting involved should contact Bob Moffa at (813) 416-8456.

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