March 21, 2010

Taft Richardson Tribute Project Previews

This a preview of The Taft Richardson Tribute DVD for The Moses House. It's a Non-Profit in Tampa, Fl. I volunteer for. I am one of the Co-founders of their Street Music Workshop where we get local youth involved in the Sulphur Springs area to produce music mainly hip hop & R&B with some experimental elements.

Taft Richardson was born on September 2, 1943 in Lumberton, Florida. He grew up in Spring Hill, now a neighborhood of North Tampa. One day, in the early 1970s, while eating ribs, Mr. Taft had an artistic vision delivered to him by God. In the bones he saw a giraffe. This vision inspired Mr. Taft to devote himself to making bone sculptures and to delivering a spiritual message to whomever was willing to listen.
Mr. Taft’s family upbringing and African American heritage had also taught him to nurture and care for those in the community around him, especially the children. Mr. Taft’s artistic vision combined with his community activism led to the creation of the Moses House, a youth arts organization, which he co-founded in 1984 with his brother Harold Richardson.

On November 30, 2008, Mr. Taft passed away at the age of 65 after battling cancer. Deeply saddened by their loss, Mr. Taft’s family requested help with preserving his legacy and memorializing his importance in the form of tributes to “Granddaddy Taft”—as family, friends, and the community had known him.

Lance Arney and Mabel Sabogal, Ph.D. students from the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Florida, answered the family’s call and designed a tribute project with them. Lance and Mabel video recorded interviews with family members, friends, and admirers of Mr. Taft—some of the many people whose lives had been touched by Mr. Taft’s caring personality, spiritual vision, and artistic gifts.

On April 3, 2009, at the North Tampa Community Center in Mr. Taft’s own neighborhood, the Department of Anthropology, the Moses House, and Mr. Taft’s family co-hosted a public event in honor of Mr. Taft. (Download a copy of the flyer, designed by Lance Arney, here.) Additional tributes and performances dedicated to Mr. Taft were recorded.

The tributes that had been recorded prior to the April 3rd public event were presented to the live audience in the hope of eliciting more reminiscences and tributes. Moved by these recorded tributes to Mr. Taft, members of the live audience offered more in the form of performances dedicated to Mr. Taft and reminiscences about how he had touched the lives of all who had known him.

The DVD and community celebration of Mr. Taft received collaborative support from Dr. Kristin Congdon and the Folkvine Group at the University of Central Florida, Dr. Antoinette Jackson’s Heritage Research and Resource Management Lab, and Mr. Taft’s close family, who prepared and served a banquet of food at the conclusion of the tribute. DVD. 53 minutes. A Moses House Production. Co-directed and co-produced by Lance Arney and Mabel Sabogal. Copyright © 2009 The Moses House. All rights reserved. Cover image courtesy of the Heritage Research and Resource Management Lab, Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida. Text and cover design by Lance Arney.

Copies of this DVD are available for $15.00 each (includes shipping via United States Postal Service Media Mail). All proceeds from the sale of this DVD will be used to fund Moses House youth arts programs.