TEA Connect Blog

14 September 2016

TEA Advantage: Peter Weishar, themed entertainment academic pioneer

Peter Weishar, Dean, FSU College of Fine Arts, is a TEA member, an approachable scholar with an apparently insatiable enthusiasm for academia, and a great friend to the international attractions industry.

Peter Weishar created
the first MFA program in
themed entertainment design

Today, he is a strong proponent for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). But like all TEA members, there was a time when Peter Weishar was completely unaware that our vital and collaborative association even existed.

Peter Weishar first heard about the TEA from former Disney Imagineer, George Head, Production Design Professor at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). At the time, Peter was Dean of Film, Digital Media and Performing Arts at SCAD, and he had just brought George into the fold to help flesh out the nation's first Master of Fine Arts program in themed entertainment design.

“At George’s recommendation, I attended my first TEA event at Universal Studios Orlando: a backstage tour prior to the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2010,” said Peter. He took the opportunity to do some networking with some of the themed entertainment professionals who were responsible for bringing those magical experiences to life. 

Peter was fascinated by the academic perspective he could perceive behind the design process. After attending that initial event, Peter was inspired to extend an invitation to the TEA to bring its SATE conference on Experience Design to SCAD in 2013. TEA SATE 2013 was the very first time that the TEA had held its annual design conference on a college campus - and it resulted in a huge success.

George Head introduced
Peter Weishar to TEA

Later, Peter moved on to become Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Florida State University (FSU). He again extended an invitation to TEA, and subsequently hosted the TEA SATE 2014 conference at the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida.

Peter’s relationship to the TEA is unique. His efforts have helped bridge a gap, assisting TEA's NextGen initiative to reach out to and cultivate students who want to build careers as theme park professionals. And his interactions with the TEA have helped him pursue his academic goals as he continues to develop new opportunities and fresh curricula. His latest work has resulted in a new, Themed Experience Institute program at FSU with the stated mission to be “dedicated to developing the next generation of designers and producers for Florida’s themed experience industry through teaching, research, and practical experience.”

Because Peter Weishar discovered TEA (thank you, George Head!) there are many interns and recent grads out there right now discovering the themed entertainment community and how they can be part of it. That number will continue to grow. The real-world, up close contact with TEA members and TEA member projects that Peter gains through his alliance with TEA helps him in his quest to develop and evolve relevant programs of study. Peter Weishar is making a great contribution that will shape the future of our industry. 

Matt Kent
wrote this article for TEA

Posted by Judy Rubin

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