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ArtSpotlight

Lifetime Achievement Spotlight

Herbert M. "Tippen" Davidson, Jr.
CEO, The
Daytona Beach News-Journal
Arts Advocate

Tippen Davidson was there at the beginning - when his grandfather and father emptied their bank account to buy a newspaper in Florida. Born in Chicago on August 2, 1925, Herbert M. "Tippen" Davidson, Jr. is the grandson of the founder of The Daytona Beach News-Journal, one of the last of the family-owned newspapers in the United States. Mr. Davidson joined the newspaper in 1947, with the exception of a period of time when he worked for the Chicago Daily News. He succeeded his father, the late Herbert M. Davidson, who died in 1985 at the age of 89, as editor and publisher, and company president. He represents the third generation to serve as publisher of the family-owned newspaper. His grandfather, the late Julius Davidson, was publisher from 1928 to 1962. His late wife, Josephine Field Davidson, was editor from 1985 until her death in July 1995.

 

Widely known throughout Florida as a leader in the arts, he was chairman of the Florida Arts Council, 1970-1974 and 1981-1982. He was named Florida's Ambassador of the Arts in 1982, and received the state's 1995 Arts Recognition Award. He attended the Juilliard School of Music, and in Daytona Beach founded the Daytona Beach Little Orchestra, which he formerly conducted, and the Seaside Concerts, in which he played viola for 12 years. He was instrumental in bringing the London Symphony Orchestra to Daytona Beach for biennial festivals. In 1989 he was made an honorary member of the LSO, and in 1998 he was awarded the Order of the British Empire. He founded the Seaside Music Theater in 1977, which has become a nationally recognized professional theater. He co-founded the Florida International Festival in 1966 and served as president 1966-present. He has also served on cultural arts boards such as the Volusia County Cultural Arts Advisory Board, Florida Cultural Alliance, Stetson University School of Music Board of Trustees and the Arts for a Complete Education. He has received several arts honors such as an Honorary Music Doctorate from Stetson University, the Distinguished Career Award for service to Professional Theater from the Florida Theater Conference, Business Committee for the Arts National Award, and Florida Professional Theater Association's Fallon Award.

 

Thoughts from his colleagues...

 

"My experience in working with Tippen Davidson is that he’s always been a very aggressive advocate for the arts. He’s always championed the case for culture, and understood the importance of cultural life – not just in terms of the quality of life for residents, but also its impact on economic development."

Ken Rollins
Director of the Florida Gulf Coast Museum,
Past president of the Florida Art Museum Directors Association
Former director of the DeLand Museum of Art

 

"... through his involvement in the founding of arts-advocacy groups such as Arts for a Complete Education and the Florida Cultural Alliance, Davidson has spearheaded initiatives that help make the arts part of a well-rounded human experience."

Jennifer Coolidge
Director of the DeLand Museum of Art

 

“He strongly believes in the power of the arts to humanize the next generation. He’s willing to stand out there and motivate the masses everywhere. That’s because Davidson has continued and expanded his family’s traditional arts patronage by putting his money where his mouth is."

JuDee Pettijohn
Florida Deputy Secretary of State for Cultural Affairs

 

“Such dedication comes from his family’s example, and from a lifelong belief that the arts are simply central to a rich, well-rounded life. He has incorporated into his life the significance of the arts for a full human experience, with the arts one of the more important components. He’s not only a musician but also an art collector. Tippen helped put together The News-Journal’s art collection and his own personal art collection, emphasizing American art. But his impact is much wider. He is THE prime mover in establishing and continuing to establish a foundation for the arts in the Volusia County region. Tippen is a leader and while The News-Journal has developed model programs for direct support of the arts, from the smallest to the largest, he was encouraging professionalism among all of those groups. And his work on committees and boards has been crucial for building support at every level.”

Gary Libby
Museum of Arts and Sciences’ Director emeritus



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