State of the Art Grants Awarded by St. Johns Cultural Council

St. Augustine Community School of the Performing Arts Spring 2016 SOTA Recipient
November 1, 2016

Ten New Exciting Art, Music and Cultural Programs Funded

When someone buys or renews a "State-of-the-Arts" license plate in St. Johns County, they are supporting the State of the Arts (SOTA) Grant Program of the St Johns Cultural Council.  This year's grantees represent a diverse range of cultural activities serving diverse populations. Young people at the St. Johns County Youth Academy are given an opportunity to take piano lessons.  At-risk students can learn art as an incentive to complete homework. Senior citizens can learn the art of storytelling.  And a church can offer after school enrichment programs by using professional artists to teach children. "These are small grants, up to $500, that have big impact.  

The St John's Cultural Council is proud to support  so many worthy programs that help youth at risk, elders, arts in schools, and engage artists in valuable community development." said Andrew Witt, Executive Director, St. Johns Cultural Council.

Ten organizations recently received awards through the State of the Arts License Program. When county residents buy or renew a State-of-the-Arts license plate, the funds remain in this county.  Each license plate generates twenty dollars for this designated fund.   The Cultural Council Board opens the application process for these micro-grants twice a year and awards are made based on the amount of arts tags sold.  This year the St. Johns Cultural Council received more applications for grants than ever before making it a highly competitive process.  Award winners were selected according to compliance with the grant guidelines.

            To celebrate the grants that were awarded, the St. Johns Cultural Council will host a reception on Monday, November 7, 2016, 5:30-6:30 pm at the Crisp - Ellert Art Museum, Flagler College for the grant recipients and the community.   This lively gathering is free and open to the public. Plan to attend the reception and hear the compelling stories of the artists and organizations while enjoying light snacks and beverages.  


Fall SOTA grants were given for the following cultural programs:

  • St. Augustine Community School of the Performing Arts- $500- weekly music lesson in guitar, piano and voice at St. Augustine Youth Services; performances at the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida, Moultrie Baptist Church and Christ Episcopal Church. 
  • St. Augustine Ballet- Home for the Holidays- $500- sponsors twenty-five homeless children and their families to attend the holiday classic ballet, The Nutcracker.
  • Limelight Theatre- $500- a six-week storytelling project at Glenmoor Retirement Community to celebrate and perpetuate stories and memories of senior citizens.
  • West Augustine Groove Elite- $500- Community dance team supporting youth of all ages assisting them in building strength through their participation in the arts. 
  •  Artist Cultural Education (ACE)/Nancy Christensen- $500- sponsors weekly after-school arts activities by visiting artists in music, movement, poetry and visual arts at St. Luke's AME Church Kid Safe Zone program. 
  •  Compassionate St. Augustine- $500- Keys to Success program- purchase digital keyboards and accessories for the St. Johns County Youth Academy to facilitate music instruction and practice for incarcerated youth.
  •  Cyprian Center for Expressive Arts- $500- Forging Possibilities: Beginning Metalsmithing- to provide exposure to artistic craftsmanship through metalsmithing for incarcerated youth at the St. Johns County Youth Academy.
  • St. Johns Technical High School- $485- Live Drama!- partnership with Limelight Theatre staff to provide professional instruction in acting, improvisation and play-making for 7th and 8th grade students in intensive reading classes, culminating in a peer performance.
  • Switzerland Point Middle School- $500- Music Therapy for Middle School students with special needs by licensed Music Therapist, Minda Gordon, in partnership with the Cultural Council of Ponte Vedra Beach.
  • Southeast Branch Public Library- $375- artist fees for St. Johns Reads Presents: Cracker Cowboy Poet to present Florida personality and poet, Hank Mattson, in performance.

            Applying for the SOTA grant is simple and happens twice a year in Spring and Fall. Applications are available at To determine eligibility to the goals of the grants, the applications are reviewed by a St. Johns Cultural Council Board Committee. There is a focus on funding meaningful grants that will enhance and enrich the arts and culture for the under-served of the County. The next cycle of funding will be in Spring 2017.


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