Date ArticleType
4/3/2020 Member News

Pinellas Arts Community Relief Fund Releasing Initial Round of Funds to Artists

Over $55,000 in emergency funds will be delivered to over one-hundred Pinellas County artists in the next few days as a result of collaborative efforts that resulted in the formation of The Pinellas Arts Community Relief Fund.   Created to provide immediate financial relief for artists, arts businesses and arts organizations affected by the Covid-19 emergency,  the Pinellas Arts Community Relief Fund committee has announced that the first wave of funds will be released to artists within the next week with additional funds to be distributed a few days later.

A joint effort of Creative Pinellas, the Pinellas Community Foundation and the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, the Pinellas Arts Community Relief Fund was established to respond to the financial suffering of artists, arts organizations and arts businesses whose livelihoods have been suddenly decimated by the cancellation of performances, closure of arts walks and arts businesses, and the shuttering of arts education programs.  The application process opened only one-week ago, on March 31, and the response confirmed the profound impact of COVID-19 within our arts community.


“We received close to three hundred applications from artists and arts businesses of all kinds” says Dugan Cooley, CEO of the Pinellas Community Foundation, who is managing the Arts Community Relief Fund.  “The need is clearly great, and we are moving as quickly as possible in order to get the funds into the hands of the people who need them.  We started with the artists first and have worked our way through that.  Over the next few days, we will be focusing on arts businesses and organizations, and getting to them as quickly as possible as well.”


Because the need is greater than the available funds can support, grants are being awarded based on demonstratable need, prioritizing funding to the most vulnerable.  All applications are reviewed and evaluated by a volunteer advisory committee using a common set of guidelines for a fair-minded process.  The total number of awards granted is based on the amount of money raised to support this fund. 


“The really good news,” says Cooley, “is that the community has come together with an amazing show of support.  While we still need further contributions to meet the needs of the community, we have already raised $110,000 for this fund, in less than two weeks.  Donors like the Milkey Family Foundation, the Gobioff Foundation, Pinellas Community Foundation, Creative Pinellas and the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance have all made significant contributions.  And we are seeing donations from artists and supporters of all kinds.  It is truly uplifting in all this time of challenge, to see the power of our community coming together.” 


Applications for the Pinellas Arts Community Relief Fund are temporarily closed as the current applications are reviewed and available funds are distributed. The Arts Community Relief Fund committee is committed to continuing to raise funds, and to seeking support from donors, philanthropists and foundations in order to reopen the fund to new applicants as quickly as possible. 


To contribute to the Community Arts Relief Fund please visit


Community Donors:

Laura Bryant, Paul C. Carder, Creative Pinellas, Rebecca E. Davis, Dolores Esposito, the Fairgrounds Project, Patrick Fisher, Victor Gardner, the Gobioff Foundation, Dr. Hank Hine, Linda J. Hoffer, Helen L Huntley, Steven Kenny, Tom Kramer, Mickett Stackhouse Studios, Milkey Family Foundation, David E. Ramsey, Mimi and Rich Rice, Mathew Richter, Willy Rudowsky, Teresa L Sullivan and anonymous donors.



Committee Members:

George Ann Bissett, Dunedin Fine Ars Center;  John Collins, St. Petersburg Arts Alliance; Duggan Cooley, Pinellas Community Foundation;  Katie Deits, Florida CraftArt;  Helen French, Dance/Beacon; Elizabeth Gelman, Florida Holocaust Museum; Stephanie Gularte, American Stage;  Alex Harris Ph.D, Arts Conservatory for Teens; Yvonne Marrullier, The Dali;

Carol Mickett, Artist/Mickett Stackhouse; Paula Parrish, Morean Arts Center; Julie Rocco, Foundation for a Healthy St. Pete; Barbara St. Clair, Creative Pinellas.