Giving back is a major motivator for Trish Duggan, whose philanthropy, particularly towards organizations involved in human rights causes, is well-known. Two years ago, Duggan opened the 35,000-square-foot Imagine Museum on Central Avenue, a showcase for one of the most thorough, and diverse, collections of glass art in the country. Because she likes to do things in a big way, Duggan first bought the building, then worked with a noted collector and curator to purchase every piece of art, specifically to put on display. The Imagine Museum is an independent 501(c)(3) public charity; Duggan is an indefatigable cheerleader for the art glass movement. The former Patricia Hagerty, whose spent many years in the financial sector, is a noted glass artist herself, and the Imagine Museum includes a good number of her stylish and imaginative pieces. “I’ve got that creativity inside me,” Duggan said in an earlier Catalyst conversation, “and it’s coming out.”
Years in St. Pete
Since 2006, with a break in the middle
Organizations involved in
I’m very involved in Youth For Human Rights – I’ve worked with it in Mexico, Costa Rica and the U.S. That’s probably my main emphasis, I would say.
What gets you out of bed every day?
The joy of being able to play the game of life. I wake up at 6 a.m. every day full of enthusiasm and feeling fortunate to have an opportunity to help others, because for me life is an exciting and challenging adventure … Don’t stay stuck in any loss, ever. You can’t change the beginning of your life, but every single minute and every single day, you can change your life, Right from this exact moment. And I get up in the morning knowing that that day is what I create.
Why St. Pete?
Well, I love the culture here. There are so many museums in St. Pete, there are so many friendly people, and honestly, the mayor here has been incredibly supportive, as well as other government officials including Charlie Crist and Ron DeSantis. I moved from Silicon Valley, California in 2006, way ahead of the departures of Elon Musk, Tesla and SpaceX, or Larry Ellison from Oracle. Florida is absolutely a much more business-friendly environment, and that’s a major game that I play. Plus – it’s just beautiful here.
What is one habit that you keep?
The most important habit, to me, is to have positive thoughts every morning before I even get out of bed. If you focus your life on the positive, your life will be positive. For the most part. Especially if you focus on learning the lessons from anything negative.
Who are some people that influence you?
No. 1, L. Ron Hubbard. Frankly, I’ve learned from him that life is exactly the way you consider it to be, and in no other way. And how you perceive things is how they will appear to you. I also learned to recognize my own reactivity, prejudice and even upset and hatred. I’ve gotten an ability to see things through the other person’s viewpoint, and that’s been so valuable. The other person who really influenced me was my high school art teacher, who was always so encouraging to each student. I felt so validated, and I felt that my own unique style of art was so appreciated that it even led to a tremendous appreciation of other people’s viewpoints, and other artists and their creations. And that’s what led to the opening of the museum in St. Pete.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
A book would be “The Science of Survival” by L. Ron Hubbard. It’s so appropriate for today – it’s about, how do you survive? One can get a better insight into man’s most valuable possession, which is of course the human mind … Now, my favorite story is the story of Job, from the Bible. He never gave up faith, but persevered. And everything that he lost was eventually returned to him. Now, the practice would be never to judge another by their skin color, their religion, their wealth or political affiliation. Just ask yourself: What is that person doing to help mankind?
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
Well, I absolutely love to work! So that doesn’t change for me whether conditions go up or down. My joy comes from productivity. And I firmly believe that one’s own production is the basis of one’s morale. If you stay busy doing good things, you will feel happy. If you’re unhappy, do something to help others.
I’m working on opening a stunning international museum of glass art, which will include spectacular works from all around the world. I’m also vice president of the board of directors of the Peace Museum in Costa Rica. We’re going to be groundbreaking within the next few months in San Jose, the capitol.