Tammy Hauser has a spent a lifetime working in the arts, founding Blue Sky Thinking to consult and provide administration for cultural institutions locally and around the country. Now, she heads up the Center for Architecture Sarasota, celebrating the beautiful physical environment in a community that helped drive the modern movement. We spoke with the new CFAS executive director about her own foundation.

Sarasota Architecture   

The first time I came to Sarasota I saw Victor Lundy’s Blue Pagoda and thought, “What is this Asian-style building doing here?” Then I went to the Selby Library and thought what is this building? There are a lot of iconic structures and I just set upon learning about the beauty in this small town. I learned about Paul Rudolph and his influence, about Carl Abbott. I learned about Victor Lundy designing a drive-in church in the 1960s. It’s completely, utterly something from another world.

Hancher Auditorium   

When I started my career, I went to the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium and worked under the director, Wallace Chappell. He recommended I study arts administration, which was a new field that wasn’t really understood and wasn’t professionalized at that point. It ended up being the perfect place for me. I was always a performer who also ran the box office. I was the lead actress and head of every high school community theater I was part of. I just never knew the field of arts administration existed for people like me.

The Stage  

I love Lillian Hellman. I just saw The Little Foxes on Broadway, which was fantastic. My wheelhouse is American playwrights from the 1950s to current day. I really love small, intimate, character-driven, intensive shows. I enjoy having Florida Studio Theatre here, and I’m going to the American Stage in St. Petersburg this weekend.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens  

When my son came here on Spring Break, we went to Selby Gardens. He’s a senior at the University of Wisconsin and was struggling to declare a major. I told him how I loved the arts and business so I went into arts administration, and his sister loved science and people so she went into psychology. I said, “I think you love art and science so I always saw you going into botany and landscaping.” We were in the bonsai trees and he said, ‘You’re right!” Now he’s a horticulture major, and I am going to try and get him a job at Selby.


My dog Poppy has been in the paper as a dog of the week. She’s a rescue dog who had a broken spine so she walks sideways. She’s a Pomeranian and she’s a survivor who just loves life. I like to dress her up; she’s got a Florida dress now with alligators on it. 

Eating Out  

I really like The Social;that’s one of my favorites here. I go to the Drunken Poet and to State Street quite a lot. I like a spicy/salty combination. Thai food is my absolute favorite, but I also like Vietnamese food and everything that covers those flavors.


I’m nuts about several podcasts. One of them I’m listening to now is My Favorite Murder. They just did a live podcast tour and my daughter and I got to go to a recording. I like anything by Gimlet Media. They have Reply All, which is a tech podcast where people call in with all sorts of techie problems and you can learn a lot. I really like the Mindfulness Meditation podcast, which I find really calming when I go to sleep. And I’ve always liked Crimetown, Homecoming, The Vanished, which all try and solve cold cases.

Alexander McCall Smith  

I have a whole stack of his books. He wrote The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. I met him in California. He made me fall I love with Scotland with his books, and this past May, I went to Scotland and visited 44 Scotland Street and a number of the neighborhoods and places that he wrote about. It was this wonderful adventure.

Servant Leadership  

I think of myself as a steward in the roles I take with nonprofits, and I encourage board members to feel the same way. We’re all here a short amount of time to steward an organization on behalf of donors, members of our community and the art form. I’m indebted to Cindy Peterson for creating the Center for Architecture and to the board members who have been here from the beginning. It’s a privilege to come in and really steward this organization to its next iteration, and then I will pass the baton to the next person. Servant leadership is a really important concept to nonprofits, which are not owned by one person.