R’kidtecture is a creative architectural design and construction project, organized to benefit the Outdoor Arts Foundation and R’Club, both 501c3 not-for-profit organizations.
R’Club is a St. Petersburg-based organization that provides preschool and before-and-after-school care at more than 40 centers. The Outdoor Arts Foundation is an innovative non-profit, community-based arts organization formed in June 2002.
In the past decade, The Outdoor Arts Foundation exhibited fiberglass sea turtles and manatees across the area, and in 2004 asked artists and architects to design and build dog houses for “Bowwowhaus.” Jay Goulde, the foundation’s executive director, said some of the turtles, manatees and dog houses sold for between $12,000 to $15,000.
Following the success of it’s “Bowwowhaus” project, the Outdoor Arts Foundation partnered with R’Club Child Care to bring R’Kidtecture to the Tampa Bay area. Twenty of Tampa Bay’s most accomplished architects and artists were individually invited to participate in this unique project.
Children’s playhouses were designed and built by the architects/artists and then unveiled at a preview party held at Reeves Import Motorcars in Tampa on March 26th, 2010. The participants were given the challenge of designing a functional children’s playhouse unlike anything the world has ever seen. Each team rose to the challenge.
As they are designed for children to use, “They were meant to be very interactive, but we also gave all of the participants guidelines for playground safety,” Goulde said. “We wanted them to be functional playhouses.”
Following the preview party, the playhouses were moved to Westshore Plaza and Tampa International Airport for a six-month display period.
Gala Charity Auction
The playhouses were sold at a gala charity auction called R’Kidland, at the Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center on St. Pete Beach. The auction was held on November 13th, 2010. The Outdoor Arts Foundation and R’Club are very grateful to the Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center, St. Pete Beach. for providing such a lovely event to support this fund-raising effort.
The event was hosted by Good Day Tampa Bay’s Russell Rhodes.
Proceeds from the auction benefited both the nonprofit Outdoor Arts Foundation and R’Club Child Care Inc. For more information, please contact:
Art O’Hara, Executive Director, R’Club Child Care Inc.
(727) 578-5437 or
Email: [email protected]
R’Kidtecture was planned to accomplish these goals:
- Give local architects and a select group of artists an opportunity to display their creative talents to a wide audience
- Raise awareness about the efforts of two Tampa Bay based non-profit organizations
- Provide participants with multiple opportunities for publicity and exposure
- Raise funds for R’Club Child Care and the Outdoor Arts Foundation
R’Kidtecture gives children insight into the creative process of architecture and design, to see how imagination can become reality with a little hard work and motivation. Photographs of the completed houses, along with the original drawings/designs for them, can viewed on the foundation’s web site and in a photo album on the foundation’s Facebook page.
The photos were taken the week of March 22nd, 2010, by internationally acclaimed photographer
Drew Gardner at the Hummer course at Reeves Import Motorcars. It was a challenging week with limited resources, but Drew made it work.
None of the foundation’s projects would be possible without the generous support of local businesses and individuals. Sponsors participating in R’Kidtecture are:
- Graphix Solutions of America
- Reeves Import Motor Cars
- Sirata Beach Resort&Conference Center
- Syd Entel Galleries
- Tampa International Airport
- WestShore Plaza
- Werner Donaldson Moving Services
R’Club Child Care, Inc.’s headquarters is located at 4140 49th Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33709.
The organization consists of pre-schools, pre-K’s, VPK’s- (Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program, a state funded early childhood education program to prepare four-year-old children for kindergarten), elementary and middle schools, and special needs schools. They serve 3,500 infants, preschool, elementary and middle school children daily in 40 locations. The organization’s mission is to provide quality early learning and development programs that strengthen children, families, and communities, with a focus on:
Art O’Hara, Executive Director of R’Club, explained that Deborah Nicklaus, one of the organization’s board members, originally brought the idea of this project to his attention. ‘We don’t do too many events, but this project was a great opportunity for both public awareness and fund-raising for R’Club,’ O’Hara said. ‘It’s a way to get more child care services for our community, because there is a State funding program that enables us to obtain a matching dollar-for-dollar contribution when we raise private funds. We set a goal of $100,000, as we are hoping to get matching funds equal to that amount, to meet our budget needs.’
O’Hara said the funds raised will be used for scholarships, and for subsidized child care in the R’Club for children whose families can’t afford it.
Nicklaus had served on the local division of the Children’s Home Society, and her family owns the Sirata. The creative Nicklaus family members are long-time supporters of both children’s charities and the arts, including R’Club and the Outdoor Arts Foundation. ‘The Sirata has been great,’ O’Hara said. ‘They have given us free weekends at the resort as staff incentives, and they sponsor a ‘Principal Appreciation’ luncheon we hold for R’Club staff.’ Family member Lenne Nicklaus-Ball, the eldest of the Nicklaus siblings, exhibits her art with the foundation – original paintings and sculptural artwork. Valerie Nicklaus Hval and her mother, Beverly Nicklaus, personally selected the art and custom picture framing in the multiple buildings of the Sirata Resort.
O’Hara said that R’Club operates seven pre-schools from St. Pete to Tarpon Springs. ‘I’m hoping for seven people to bid on and buy seven playhouses at the auction,’ he said, ‘and then donate them to the seven pre-schools for the children. The person buying them could put their company’s name or any other credit they’d prefer on the playhouse.’ R’Club will provide significant public acknowledgement for playhouse donors on our website, newsletters, etc.
Other ideas on O’Hara’s wish list include:
* after school programs in high schools, including tutoring and assessment, with a focus on community service
* expanding pre-schools, getting kids ready to go to school, expanding the R’Club’s HIPPY program (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) a parent involvement, school readiness program that helps parents prepare their three, four, and five year old children for success in school and beyond.)
* expand our programs in the middle schools
* bring in more specialties in art, music, dance and martial arts
O’Hara said that Jay Goulde, Executive Director of the Outdoor Arts Foundation, ‘works really hard on these projects. He brought in 18 of the 20 groups of architects.’ He said, ‘We were able to bring in two groups, GLS Construction and Garcia-Freid Corporation. We also had some of our disabled students from the Paul B. Stephens school working with the artist and architect on one of the playhouses, the Joanne Osborn & Stack Design. The students put their hand prints on the acrylic materials of a really colorful house, and had so much fun with it.’
The Outdoor Arts Foundation has a history of partnering with other not-for-profits. Projects are designed to promote art and artists, and beautify the community, while also helping children, animals, marine creatures, the gulf, the environment, and humanitarian causes.
When the public display period is over, and the playhouses are moved out of Tampa International Airport and Westshore Plaza, Goulde plans to move in artistically decorated fish sculptures – large 6′ x 3′ tarpon – now being created in the foundation’s Fins Across Florida: Tampa Bay Tarpon project.
For more information, please contact:
Executive Director, Outdoor Arts Foundation
Email: [email protected]
727-723-8620 – office
813-245-8538 – cell
R’kidtecture IN THE NEWS:
Charley Belcher checks out R’Kidecture: Video reports featuring artists Eileen Goldenburg, Silas Beach, Stack Design, Tampa Preparatory School and playhouses
Fins Across Florida on Studio 10
Jerome Ritchey and Holley Sinn are your hosts every weekday at 10 a.m. on Studio 10, News WTSP-TV
Visions of play, St. Petersburg Times, Sunday, March 28, 2010
Charley Has a Recess to Remember on Fox 13
Houses Built Just for Kids, The Tampa Tribune, March 17, 2010
Playhouse Challenge, The Tampa Tribune, October 23, 2009
Playhouse gallery- Gallery of options for children’s playhouses on TBO.com
Another current project from the Outdoor Arts Foundation:
Fins Across Florida: Tampa Bay Tarpon – Public art project connects artists and businesses for gulf