By Julie Garisto, AliveTampaBay Correspondent
Arts communities couldn’t thrive without sponsorships and other means of support from local businesses. It’s in this spirit that the Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts has recognized Robert “Bob” Glaser, Smith & Associates Real Estate’s President and CEO, with an Impact Award for his three decades of participation in more than 50 organizations throughout Tampa Bay, most notably on numerous fundraising and nonprofit boards.
Glaser has served as Chair of the Morean Arts Center/Chihuly Collection, and on the boards of the Tampa Theatre, Florida Aquarium, Palladium Theatre and the Blue Ocean Film Festival, among others.
An avid cyclist, the prominent broker and business owner has three children and lives in St. Petersburg. AliveTampaBay caught up with Glaser to find out why he devoted so much of his free time to helping local organizations.
AliveTampaBay: You are known as very “hands on” in your work and a beneficial force for local real estate. How have you helped Tampa Bay evolve into one of the real estate industry’s most prolific markets?
Bob Glaser: I have been fortunate to have worked in my career in all facets. I have sold homes, going house to house and working the neighborhood of Hyde Park as well as other neighborhoods, learning the trade from several of the best mentors, Mary Smith and Dorothy Yates. After joining Smith & Associates, I had the opportunity to define our work through the growth of the company, branch management and expansions. As the market grew so did the company, leading in luxury sales and in new home development markets. With a dedicated sales team and staff, the company has grown to be the largest independently owned in the Bay area, with over 1 billion in sales annually. While having the pleasure of representing the firm nationally, and internationally, I am proud to keep the company front and center in all the opportunities the market has to offer.
ATB: Could you tell us a little about what sparks your interest in the arts?
BG: I wish I could say I was artistic in some way. Actually my Dad was a carpenter, and after he saw something I worked on, he said stay with sales. It’s the people in the arts I am attracted to — they are the entrepreneurs of ideas, movement and color, allowing us to pause from our workplace to enjoy another facet of our brains.
ATB: What led you to leveraging Smith & Associates to help foster arts and culture in the community?
BG: Our involvement came from within. The associates are encouraged as part of their work to not only participate but serve on committees and provide leadership roles. We are local so it’s easy to reach us for an ask. We have, for our 47 years, dedicated at least $125,000 a year to the arts, some years more, some less, but always feel it’s our priority to mix the arts with our business.
ATB: As an emeritus board member of the Morean Arts Center, what do you look forward to from the facility in the near future, and are there any other local arts projects you’re involved in that you’d like to discuss?
BG: I am proud that the staff and board have accomplished the changes needed to sustain this 100-year-old institution with the new location of The Chihuly Collection, the work in progress at The Center for Clay, and all the classes being developed makes this a viable program for future generations.
ATB: Hypothetical scenario: You have visitors in town for one day, last-minute notice. Where do you take them?
BG: If they like a walk I suggest a walk up Beach Drive in St. Pete and up Central to see art and shops. If they like a different trail, I suggest the same in Tampa — the Riverwalk, Tampa Museum of Art, and around to UT, with a stop at Oxford Exchange.
Interview has been condensed and edited for brevity, clarity, and style.
Julie Garisto is a correspondent for AliveTampaBay.