February 3, 2020

Each year the St. Johns Cultural Council honors a select group of women for lifetime achievement influencing arts and culture in St. Johns County with the Dr. Gail Pflaster  “Recognizing Outstanding Women in the Arts” award.   We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 ROWITA Awards.   This year’s honorees are:

Roxanne Horvath, a preservation architect and artist, has overseen the restoration or renovation of numerous historic properties including the Alcazar Hotel, the Ponce de Leon Hotel, the St. Johns Visitors Information Center, and the Hastings Elementary School.  She is a current member of the City of St. Augustine City Commission and, since her election in 2012, has been a champion of the arts, supporting public art projects and numerous arts and culture exhibitions and performances.  She is herself a multi-media artist who has exhibited locally and regionally and is a leader in local efforts to combat the effects of climate change and sea level rise.

Dr. Leslee Keys   Dr. Keys moved to St. Johns County in 1997 and has since been a leader in the conservation of historical and architectural resources.  She has served as Director of Corporate, Foundation and Government Relations and Director of Historic Preservation at Flagler College and has assisted more than a dozen St. Johns County organizations in securing a total of nearly $20 million to preserve and interpret historic assets and cultural resources.   She is author of three books about arts, culture and architecture in the County: Hotel Ponce de Leon:  The Architecture and Decoration; Hotel Ponce de Leon:  The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Flagler’s Gilded Age Palace; and Flagler College:  The First Fifty Years.  Recipient of honors and awards from more than 15 different preservation organizations, she currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the U.S. National Committee for the International Council on Monuments and Sites and is a past President of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.

Carole Prior is a drama instructor, teacher, artist, writer and director with more than 30 years experience teaching literature and theatre arts in northeast Florida.  She was St. Augustine High School’s “Teacher of the Year” in 1987-1988; was awarded the “National Theatre in our Schools Award” by the American Association of Theatre Educators in 1993-1994 and 1994-1995; and served on the national board of the American Alliance for Theatre Education.  Carole is founder of two successful local writing groups, “The Write Brainers” and “The Write People in the Write House.”

Leslie Robison is the Kenan Distinguished Associated Professor of Liberal Education in Art at Flagler College. She has a local community art practice engaged in exposing students to issues in our community and to effect change, collaborating with organizations including the Council on Aging, St. Francis House, St. Augustine Youth Services, the St. Johns Youth Academy, Wags and Whiskers, and the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center.  Robison’s studio practice employs a variety of media, from drawing to performance, to examine and challenge institutional power structures.  Her work has been included in numerous national and international group exhibitions including recent exhibitions at the Center for Contemporary Political Art in Washington, D.C.; ARC Gallery in Chicago, Illinois; and Praxis Gallery in Newcastle, England.

Karla Wagner is the proprietor of the Corazon Cinema and Café, an art house cinema that hosts rotating arts exhibits and supports local arts and artists by providing space for fundraisers and advocacy events.  The Corazon hosts film festivals, including the St. Augustine Film Festival; the Hispanic Cultural Film Festival; and LunaFest; it hosts actors and musicians, comedians, storytellers and artists of the spoken word.  Karla restored the historic 1880s building that houses the Corazon six years ago, creating a central meeting and dining venue for St. Johns County’s citizens and tourists.

St. Johns Cultural Council congratulates each of this year’s award winners.  We are grateful for their important, lasting contributions to arts and culture on the Historic Coast.  To RSVP for this year’s ROWITA celebration, which is open to the public and held at the Limelight Theatre at 6 p.m. on March 22nd, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/1064953327176210/