The World is OPEN
For citizens, businesses, groups–for all of us to become a
Smarter, Better Connected City, Learning Together
Welcome to OPEN – a world of ideas, activities and connections
The Open Partnership Education Network, operated out of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, takes a transparent cross-organizational approach to learning, synergies between institutions and individuals are identified, resources migrate organically to practical uses, and themes that transcend our city begin to take hold. This process makes us, literally, a smarter, better-connected city learning together – through OPEN.
The learnOPEN portal is a public hub, an online gateway that features people, actions and programs that are shaping our city now. Organized around key themes of city life, learnOPEN makes it easy to become informed and engaged in personally relevant, important topics here. Today. Please join in.
OPEN is rooted in the understanding that when we act as a connected community we move faster, more easily, and with greater innovation to manifest the solutions we envision.
OPEN believes that St. Petersburg has the talent, resources and will to re-think – and co-create – how cities and their business, social groups and citizenry thrive.
OPEN intends to catalyze and support city-scale collaboration in ways that tap the potential of all to engage, share, partner and build future-facing solutions.
OPEN provides a rich platform of online tools and services – and combines them with diverse in-person opportunities where people can connect, discuss and demonstrate how ideas become solutions.
OPEN makes it easier for those working and living within St. Petersburg to be inspired, educated, trained, funded and engaged in practical ways to address the issues we face.
Along the way – we just may change how cities thrive going forward.
The innovative OPEN initiative – inspired by the renowned Aspen Institute – is made possible by the generosity of the Aresty Family Foundation and the vision of philanthropist and founding investor Jim Aresty.“OPEN is about intellectual stimulation,” Aresty notes. “St. Petersburg is at an intellectual tipping point, ready to catapult to another level. I firmly believe that people have a desire to keep their minds active. In my view, St. Petersburg wants to be the best it can be – and I want to be part of making that happen.” —-Founder, Jim Aresty
OPEN Functions – Tools to Connect Ideas and
Thought Leaders Locally and Beyond
For intellectual engagement, the Aresty Speaker Series brings distinguished thought leaders from around the world into our midst. Aresty Speakers participate in dialogue across various topics and themes and may be hosted as stand-alone events or embedded into existing engagements, such as conferences and workshops.
For community connections, OPEN co-produces Microevents that invite participation from every corner of St. Petersburg life. OPEN network leaders collaborate with dozens of neighborhood and group organizations to identify events, gatherings, street fairs, hangouts, jams, conferences and more that can be co-created together.
The Et Cultura Festival brings St. Pete’s diverse creative and intellectual culture to life for five days each November. Spreading experiences in art, music, crafts, food and Interactive–speakers, panels, exhibitions– across multiple Downtown venues, Et Cultura and OPEN team up to showcase local talent and promising social innovations.
The learnOPEN portal seeks to make finding and connecting to cultural experiences of an intellectual nature easier and more intuitive by curating events offered locally into “themes” that transcend each experience. Further, we offer “containers” within each theme where locally-sourced media and news can be shared within that theme.
Digital news, opinion, storytelling, documentary and expression of all types is encouraged in the OPEN framework. We seek to provide digital media of our events and offer opportunities to engage in co-producing content that elevates our community dialogue collectively. The OPEN Reel project encourages ongoing creation, editing, and re-editing of digital media.
OPEN builds its events and initiatives in an open space where others can contribute or engage where and when it meets their needs. The learnOPEN.wiki is a portal built on Google G-Suite aiming to bring the resources, ideas and people working within the OPEN context together. This is a user-developed partner-facing inventory of who is doing what and how others might help.
Engaging Around What Matters To Us
Context drives OPEN’s engagement and sharing activities. And connections drive creative, lasting solutions.
OPEN is organized around areas of focus, each defined as a THEME. A theme is a multi-dimensional topic that touches almost everyone in the community in one way or another – today and long-term.
OPEN invites all of our voices, ideas, resources and engagement to converge within the context of each theme. As concepts become more clearly defined through collaboration, OPEN empowers solution proponents with connections to expertise, resources and potentially even funding.
In search of common ground through storytelling, art, and civic dialogue.
Explore the World of Science and Research
Join the community as we envision a smart, inclusive city for the future
Wellness, healing, laughter, art
A fresh take on learning intersecting education, music, and sports.
Grow, sell, taste healthy food through sustainable urban agriculture