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Arts Alliance will distribute grants early; deadline extended

Bill DeYoung

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The Arts Emergency Relief Fund should be announced soon, according to John Collins, executive director of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. Photo by Bill DeYoung.

Fifteen St. Petersburg artists will receive their community engagement grants a little early this year.

In conjunction with the City’s Office of Cultural Affairs, the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance annually awards 15 artists, across all disciplines, $1,000 each to create work designated for community engagement. Artists applying for the grants “must show commitment to the art form through education, training or professional experience and must show evidence of exhibition, public performance or being published during the past two years,” according to the official grant application.

It’s the fourth year for the Arts Alliance Individual Artist grants, and it normally takes several weeks, if not longer, for distribution. This time, the money will be awarded quickly. “If they meet the criteria,” executive director John Collins says, “they’ll get the award.”

Desperate times, Collins says, call for – if not desperate measures, they call for everyone doing what they can. “Originally, the deadline was going to be the end of this month. But realizing that people were going to have a tough time applying, we extended it. We have artists that could use the funding now, and there’s no reason can’t give them a hand up now, instead of a hand-out, so to speak. We can give them work.”

And the no-brainer clause? “The part that involves community engagement will not have to be done until after this all [the Covid-19 situation] comes down,” Collins says.

The extended deadline is April 24, with final distribution around two weeks after that. “It’s just a month early, but now is the time so many people are losing their gigs,” he says. “Particularly our musicians.’

There are, he adds, other artist lifeline projects in the works – nothing he can talk about publicly just yet.

The previously-announced Arts Emergency Relief Fund, a collaboration between the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance and Creative Pinellas (both umbrella support organizations) and a consortium of local arts interests is nearing completion.

“Some very committed individuals, artists, foundations and organization leaders have come together, and we’re putting the final touches on a program to award funds that we will announce soon,” Collins explains.

“There are so many little details that have to be done. Links have to be established, criteria have to be established, it’s all just about been established – now, we’re trying to get it all into the computer. And once that’s all done, we will be ready to announce.”

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