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Pinellas Arts Community Relief Fund launches today

Bill DeYoung



Artist Melanie Posner, creating a SHINE mural, October 2018. Photo by Bill DeYoung

The cavalry has arrived, in manner of speaking, for Pinellas County artists, arts organizations and small creative businesses whose livelihoods have been put in peril by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Pinellas Arts Community Relief Fund, a joint effort by Creative Pinellas, the Arts Alliance of St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Community Foundation, was established Monday afternoon. Applications for relief funds are being taken HERE.

The three establishing organizations launched the effort with $70,000 in seed money and a plea for community members and businesses to make donations to grow the fund.

“We were happy to provide management and to be an early contributor to this fund,” said Duggan Cooley, CEO of the Pinellas Community Foundation in a statement. “Our board of governors is very aware of the need to support the arts in this community, knowing artists contribute greatly to our quality of life but often may be living on the margins.”

The award amounts are $500 for artists, and between $500 and $1,500 for arts organizations and small creative businesses.

The rules of eligibility:

  • Professional artists are those working in visual arts including, painting, sculpture, murals, photography, etc.; performing arts including theatre, music and dance etc.; literary arts; performance, multimedia, and social justice art; and who are making a significant portion of their income through production/performance/sale of their artwork.
  • Arts organizations are 501(c)(3) organizations with the primary mission of providing arts and or cultural experiences to the public.
  • Small creative businesses are retail businesses run by artists or in support of artists (such as galleries, art curators/installers, etc.) whose primary source of income is arts related, and whose primary business focus is business-to-consumer or direct/artistic services to artists or arts organizations.
  • Applicants must be professional artists, arts organizations or small creative businesses as described above, and
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Artists living in Pinellas County or arts organization and creative businesses located in Pinellas County at the time of application and payment
  • Facing an immediate and urgent financial need directly caused by the emergency situation/disaster
  • Per IRS rules, graduate or undergraduate matriculated students enrolled in any degree program are not eligible for this award.

“This is an amazing beginning to an important ongoing effort,” says Barbara St. Clair, Creative Pinellas CEO. “It became very clear, very quickly that the arts community was going to be hit hard economically by the Covid-19 health crisis. We knew we needed to find an immediate way to help this valuable sector of our community.”

Arts Alliance executive director John Collins cited the “fragile at best” nature of the area’s arts and cultural ecosystem.

“This fund,” he said, “will provide some emergency relief to those who contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of our community.”






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