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Creative Pinellas receives $500,000 in NEA grant money

Bill DeYoung



Photo: Unsplash

As the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Pinellas is poised to continue its mission – providing much-needed support for artists and arts organizations county-wide – well into 2022.

The funds are coming from the NEA’s American Rescue Plan (ARP), earmarked for Covid recovery.

Barbara St. Clair, Creative Pinellas’ executive director, said that applying for the half-million – one of the highest tiers in the NEA grant structure – was imperative because Pinellas is a large county with a large number of artists and arts organizations and support groups.

“Obviously, so many of them were hit hard by Covid, and had to make a lot of changes,” St. Clair said. “So it’s partly internally, for struggling individual artists and arts organizations.

“In a smaller community, a smaller amount of money would go much further. In his community you really need a big chunk of funds in order to help enough people to make a difference.”

The agency will roll out the grant application process in early 2022. The plan is to create grants for Pinellas County artists ranging from $2,500 to $10,000, and grants for Pinellas County nonprofit arts and cultural organizations ranging from $2,500 to $50,000.

A complex survey is also being arranged, to ultimately result in an action plan that will aid the arts community in creating a sustainable, post-pandemic future.

Creative Pinellas, partnering with the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, the Pinellas Community Foundation and the Foundation for a Healthy St. Pete, created the Artist Relief Fund in 2020, granting thousands of dollars for local artists and groups at the height of the Covid crisis.

Those funds, St. Clair said, amounted to “crisis money,” along with funds from the federal government’s CARES Act.

This new money has a different purpose.

“It’s money to move forward, and build capacity and strength in what we’ve got,” she explained. “To figure out what our shared vision is, as Pinellas County, and individual visions for the different artists and different arts organizations … it’s an infusion of funds that will allow us to become stronger and better.”







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    Barbara St. Clair

    November 19, 2021at10:09 pm

    Thank you, Bill, for bringing this story forward.

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