For over a year, B2 has been working closely with The University of Tampa on its project to add an Ars Sonora® musical bell sculpture to its campus. The Ars Sonora will be more than 100 feet tall, will have 63 custom-made bronze bells, and will be equipped with a sophisticated new technology that allows it to be played by a musician via a keyboard. It will also be strong enough to withstand not only Tampa’s frequent lightning strikes but also a Category 5 hurricane.
More than 20 years ago, UT President Ronald Vaughn and donors Susan and John Sykes began planning for how to bring the university’s focus on character and values to life on campus. The idea was born to include a bell tower, and the project has been spearheaded by Vaughn. B2 has been involved extensively in the process to share the project with the UT community and the broader community.
Often, when a major project at a university is unveiled, a PR team is brought in at the last minute to secure press coverage. With the Ars Sonora and UT, that was not the case. Instead, UT brought B2 in early so our team could collaborate and advise well before any announcement.
B2 worked closely with Eric Cárdenas, UT’s director of public information and publications, and B2 partner Renée Vaughn on a communications plan. B2 attended periodic planning meetings about the project, which allowed us to absorb details about the technical side of the construction and installation of the sculpture.
Early on, we agreed that the process of creating and testing the bells should be professionally documented. So, we went to Annecy, France and visited the Paccard Bell Foundry, working with St. Petersburg-based Roundhouse Creative Studios to be sure the images and footage would allow us to share the complexity and beauty of this project.
Having these photos and videos prepared before the project was completed was a key part of our strategy. Professionally created assets to share with the project announcement were critical to promoting understanding and generating excitement, particularly because there were no opportunities for in-person presentations due to the pandemic. With a project this complex, we felt it was essential to show the process and not just the end result.
Working with Cherry+Company, we helped develop a brochure for such key University audiences as the Board of Trustees, other key university boards, and potential donors. And as soon as we began working on this project, we also started thinking about the UT website, where there is an entire section focused on the Ars Sonora.
Bringing the Ars Sonora to the University of Tampa is a painstaking, meticulous process every step of the way. No detail has been neglected, from the technical development, to the construction, to the communication.
B2’s collaboration on the project has led to a thorough understanding of the project throughout the campus and the broader community, and it has led to extensive positive media coverage by a variety of outlets, including Engineering News Record (ENR), Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Bay Business Journal, WFTS / ABC Action News Tampa Bay, and WTVT / My Fox Tampa. We look forward to the next phase of the project as the Ars Sonora is installed, tested, and unveiled on campus in 2022.