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National grant will help fund revitalization efforts in The Deuces Live

Jaymi Butler

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The Deuces Live
An NEA grant awarded to The Deuces Live will fund concerts and dance performances along with aesthetic upgrades to the 22nd St. South corridor.

Cultural programming and aesthetic upgrades will be coming soon to the historic 22nd St. South corridor, thanks to a national grant recently awarded to The Deuces Live.

The nonprofit, which is dedicated to reviving and revitalizing the corridor known as The Deuces, received a $25,000 Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Deuces Live was one of only 51 recipients of this type of grant during the current cycle. The application process was a collaborative effort between The Deuces Live, Catalyst For Good, CapEx Advisory Group and the City of St. Petersburg, which has pledged to match the award.

“We are so glad to have partnered with The Deuces Live and to contribute matching funds for the project,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “The Deuces corridor is a vibrant, historic area of our city, and I am proud of its continued growth and vitality.”

CapEx partner Cailin McGough also praised the project. 

“A lot of communities wait for investment to happen, but Deuces Live is out in front, laying out a vision for a revitalized 22nd St.corridor,” McGough said. “The NEA grant and the city’s commitment of matching funds are a testament to that effort.” 

Our Town grants fund projects that integrate arts, culture and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical and/or social outcomes. The award will provide financial support for Arts Explosion On The Deuces Live, a multi-dimensional artistic and cultural infusion of regularly scheduled concerts, dance performances and theatrical productions that will highlight the cultural heritage of the historic African American corridor on 22nd Street. Funds will also go toward aesthetic improvements in the area.

“We want to create an exciting and engaging draw for the businesses and for the culture of the community and to work toward economic health and sustainability,” said Deuces Live Executive Director Veatrice Farrell. 

The 22nd St. corridor, nicknamed “The Deuces” after its double 2s, was once home to a thriving African American business and cultural community. The I-275 expansion of I-75 into Pinellas County in the early ‘70s effectively cut the district off from the rest of downtown, leaving lasting scars in the neighborhood and on local businesses. 

The Deuces Live has been a longtime advocate for the 22nd St. neighborhood. It was involved in drafting a multi-year vision for the corridor and has worked with local artists to create murals around the neighborhood, including under the I-275 overpass.

“What the grant means to me is an opportunity to bring back the history and heritage of The Deuces,” said Deuces Live Board President Antwaun Walls, a lifelong neighborhood resident. “Once upon a time there was music, food, joy, laughter and entertainment. Now is the time to bring things back to the way they used to be. We’re this close.”

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