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More than a Mural

By Matthew Solomon, 11/17/17, 8:15PM EST

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, an entire mural must be a hundred times that.  I do not believe I have that many words in me nor the time to express them all, but I can give you a truncated story behind the art work popping up all around Ice Sports Forum.

The story has origins beyond the new mural in the party room upstairs, but that will be our jumping off point. Our party room as you may know has undergone plenty of renovation over the last 18 months including new carpet and the rebuilding of the entrance ways with an addition of a closet being installed. There was also a fresh coat of paint added. However, it still lacked the little touch that we really wanted to make it pop. So, we asked one of our very own to put her magic touch to work.

Vanessa Corson has been skating with Ice Sports Forum since the doors opened 20 years ago. She began skating at the age of eight in Clearwater, and felt a major relief a new sheet of ice was being put in Brandon. As a youth skater she did some competitions, but ultimately knew she wasn’t going to be a professional competitor. So Vanessa began to refine her technique and work on her credentialing to be able to perform in shows as well as begin coaching.

In college, Vanessa worked for the Lightning as a Lightning girl when they still skated. She captained the team for two of her three seasons with the organization. After that she performed in various shows at Busch Gardens and did the Ice-ploration show at Sea World.  In 2010, Vanessa started working at her home rink, Ice Sports Forum, part-time as a ‘Learn to Skate’ instructor. Over time clients recognized her skill and passion for coaching and she has turned a part-time gig into a full-time career. We love having her as a coach here.

In addition to skating, Vanessa has always been involved with art.  She took art classes in college for fun and even painted a mural on a door in the Tampa Police Department’s building.  She makes the props for our ice shows, does the eye-catching, neon-colored work for the bar specials, and painted the sign for Power Play Grill and Sports Bar seen on the patio.

It was a no-brainer that she would be the artist Ice Sports Forum needed to jazz up our party room. The mural took 40 hours to complete over the course of a few months. There is more she still wants to add, but that may come at a later time.  Vanessa is also going to create a mural/sign over the Skate Rental area. We cannot wait!

It’s not every day you have a skater spend the majority of her career at one rink, coach there, and create lasting pieces of art.  We are very lucky to have Vanessa and hope she stays for years to come! Be sure to check out her work around Ice Sports Forum and see a full mural album on our Facebook page.