Date ArticleType
5/26/2020 Member News

The St Petersburg Arts Alliance is pleased to announce our 2020 Individual Artist Grant Program Awardees

The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs to establish an Individual Artist Grant Program in 2015.  For our sixth year, with an additional private donation, the Alliance is proud to be able to increase the number of $1,000 grants from 15 to 20. The grants are intended to provide financial assistance to St. Petersburg artists for projects that support public engagement of their work in visual arts, dance, music, digital arts, and theater. This year’s grant recipients include:

  • A. J. Vaughan is co-owner of The Curiositorium.  His Variety Arts Video Shorts will create a permanent record of the emotions experienced during this unprecedented time in history. Audience members will have a chance to connect with the performances by sharing their personal stories, which will be included with the release of the videos. Although the majority of this project will be created remotely, the acts will be written with live performance in mind.  Pop-up performances will eventually be scheduled throughout St. Petersburg in public spaces.


  • Bonnie Agan will star in a full production of “Ann,” a witty one-woman show about former Texas governor, Ann Richards. The live performance is scheduled take place in early October at The Studio@620, and Agan hopes that reviving the character of Richards and reminding the audience of her passion for inclusivity and justice throughout her life a will light a fire under voters and motivate participation in the election.

  • Catherine Weaver is an artist whose passion is inspiring emerging young artists who live on the south side St. Petersburg. After choosing participants through an open call on social media, Catherine will work with them in her Uniquely Original Art Studio in the Warehouse Arts. They will create one large, abstract mosaic style art using mixed media and found objects, with each youth’s creative work being added to the pre-drawn piece. The resulting piece, “Surviving Together,” will be on display during an ArtWalk, with the proceeds to be divided among the participating youth.

  • Daniel Barojas will create a public mural with an integrated structure for a free community herb garden a public location accessible to Pinellas County and neighboring communities. The depiction of Pachamama (Mother Earth) incorporates the use of patterns and visual illusion by using pattern overlaid on the painted imagery. The incorporated structure will have several tiers of potted herbs arranged in a pyramid shape, with a visible QR code for the public to scan for additional information, including instructions on starting a home garden. The offering of free herbs will entice the public to look further into the artwork and meaning behind the mural. The theme of the mural promotes nature and mother earth.

  • David Manson will film a video and present his 60-minute original compositions of Brazilian jazz performed by O Som Do Jazz, his Brazilian jazz sextet. The multi-camera production will be shot and edited at Zoo Studios, St. Petersburg; and short segments of the completed project will be made available on YouTube and Facebook.  This project will financially support many area musicians and a local production studio; offer free concert clips to those interested in Brazilian jazz; develop an awareness among listeners; and foster collaborative projects among local musicians.

  • Jim Swallow is creating 3-D photographic images of 20 local artists working in their studios as if he is an on-site observer, employing a contemporary approach to the age-old technique of stereography. The work will be exhibited in the fall of 2020 at the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance or at Soft Water Studios in the Warehouse Arts District. The exhibit will provide a new approach to viewing the art and artists of St Petersburg by putting the art alongside a 3-D portrait of the artist in his or her creative working environment.

  • John Gascot will present “Americanos” as a solo exhibit of his work celebrating Latinx culture. This series will feature his signature Latin Pop style and include 2D paintings on canvas, as well as 3D mixed media works and assemblages. The collection of works is designed to spark conversations among its viewers, offering insight into the current American Latinx experience, the history and the folklore. John will post videos and live feeds to share the creative process of this series, and collection will be exhibited at a later date at the Woodfield Fine Art Gallery.
  • Julia Collver’s art form of abstraction is both intuitive and indicative of abstract expression.  She tells stories through painting conveys human expression that the written word or music cannot convey.  Julia will share her painting process on social media platforms using video and posting images of the process and also finished works.  Continuous promotion of her process and sharing finished works will prove educational and strengthening in the community that she seeks as an artist.  Posting online ensure others will be able to learn about building wood panels, making watercolor paper and how-to work in watercolor and oil paint.

  • Margaret Juul is creating a new body of work for inclusion in the Florida Artists Group (FLAG) show, which is scheduled for some time in 2021 in St. Petersburg. Her paintings will celebrate the natural beauty of our local parks, which are serving as places of respite during these turbulent times. FLAG stimulates the attainment of the highest standards of creative art within the State of Florida, and the exhibition will include the work of 94 other highly regarded artists from around the state of Florida. 
  • Aurailieus (Mark Stevens) is introducing The Bob Project 2.0, with a mission of scattering Bob the Robot art murals in the greater St. Petersburg area. Hidden gems nestled within the urban landscape, the murals will champion social causes, raise awareness of important issues or just do cute robot things. Murals create placemaking; add to a City’s walkability and sense of community; and can make places safer. Every mural will serve as a selfie spot to engage the public.

  • Mitzi Gordon is creating a limited-edition chapbook that shares the journey of the Bluebird Books Bus, a social art project she founded in 2011. Bluebird promotes reading, writing and creativity through the delivery of books, zines, performance, writing and papercraft.  The story is about art and the way it touches lives, and about dreaming and taking chances. This chapbook serves as a documentary and project history while illuminating Bluebird within the context of social practices. A public book release and reading event will be held later this year; and the chapbooks will be available for purchase online.

  • Nikki Devereux is a visual artist who finds ways to reduce her carbon footprint by using the paper from magazines, newspapers, books and other discarded or recycled material to create illustrative photographic portraits. She transfers ink from her photographs onto wood, adding mixed media to tell stories through texture, color, and imagery. Her solo exhibition will be at the St. Pete First Art Collective (SPFCA) Gilbert Chapel Gallery; she hopes her art will not only beautify a space, but also inspire others to consider the effects their waste has on the planet.

  • Rachel Stewart is a visual artist and print maker who will develop a printmaking series of 10-15 works using new techniques on printed images from her previous wood reliefs.  Her experimental process will include layering multiple prints, colors and images. Selected works will be shown at the Morean Arts Center and the FLAG annual member exhibitions; and will illustrate to members of the arts community, students and museum visitors how printmaking and mixed media may be combined to create a new art form.

  • Sara Norine will present "Greeting from Home; the St Pete Postcard Project," a socially engaged project that gives participants an opportunity to create visual interpretations of “Home.” 1500 people will receive a zine explaining the tradition of postcards in St. Petersburg; an explanation of mail art; several stamped, pre-addressed blank post cards; and instructions. Participants can create their message using writing, collage, painting, drawing or printmaking, and mail the post cards to Sara at the Morean Arts Center. She will digitize and display them on her website, Instagram and Facebook; and display some in windows of community partners for the public to enjoy. 

  • Saumitra Chandratreya, an abstract fiber artist, is collaborating with poet Kevin Mooney to look at the characteristics of relationships in various stages through two distinct art forms. It begins with translating emotions created by relationships into poetic form; and then translating the poetic form into abstract images on fabric panels. The final piece will be presented in a shadow box where the poem is etched on the glass, and the abstract image can be viewed through the poem. The Secret Language of Intimacy exhibition will be on display at the First Unity Spiritual Campus as part of their growing Arts 464 Initiative; and will offer viewers the opportunity to appreciate the merging of literary and visual forms of expression. 

  • Sheila Cowley, a playwright, will collaborate with choreographer Paula Kramer and an ensemble of 11 artists to present a performance piece called Three Actors, Three Dancers, Three Visual Artists and One Piano Player. The words spoken by actors will inspire dancers to create movement. Watching and listening, a musician will create a living score that influences the performance; and visual artists will create new artwork onstage that reflects the action and the story. Art forms that are usually separate will come together onstage in a new performance work that every artist helped to shape. The piece will be performed at The Studio@620 during a Second Saturday ArtWalk; and it will be free and open to the public. 

  • Shelby Dillon, who teaches painting classes and exhibits in national art festivals, plans to create a safe place for creative individuals to learn. She has redirected her business model by developing online painting lessons, where she has offered her guidance free of charge and additional materials for a small fee.  When it is safe to reopen, Shelby will continue to host online classes and also move them to her studio space in the Warehouse Arts District for a more intimate, hands-on experience. She will hold workshops for artists to brainstorm business strategies and ways to sustain their artistic careers; offer coffee and journaling hours for anyone in the community to join, unwind, and exchange ideas; and use her Studio as a venue to promote the arts across the community during ArtWalk and through monthly events

  • Tess Oldfield will create a large-scale immersive lighting installation in St. Petersburg during a Second Saturday ArtWalk. Her work focuses on the intersections between visual art, music, technology and the senses. The suspended sculpture will incorporate small vessels made of translucent porcelain clay and 400 LED lights that will modulate to musical scores while the vessels cast spotlights and transform the room. Tess aims to isolate and heighten sensory experiences through light and rhythm; and her work provides an unique opportunity for community members to engage with art at the intersection of ceramics and technology. 

  • Tom Sivak will present Act II of Love v Death, a chamber opera focusing on two historical characters, Carl von Cosel and Mary Mallon, whose lives were dominated by a struggle between love and death. Act I, which featured Carl von Cosel, was presented last fall at the Palladium Side Door Cabaret. This fall, Act II will be presented in concert performance, either live or via a technological platform. The central character of Act II, Mary Mallon, was an immigrant from Ireland who unwittingly infected over one hundred people with typhoid fever, killing five. She was dubbed Typhoid Mary—an epithet she hated—by the doctor who diagnosed her. She was sentenced to a lifetime quarantine despite her objections and a legal battle. She died alone. There will be a talkback after the performance. 

  • William Leavengood and composer Constantine Grame, will present GASPARILLA: THE MUSICAL in a workshop in the form of a reading/singing of the musical ub the Palladium’s Hough Hall. This workshop will be free and open to the public to allow for feedback and to gauge audience reaction to the piece. It will provide employment to local actors, and like other  plays and musicals that are St. Petersburg and Florida based, it provides the community with increased historical knowledge and local pride in our local arts and artists. The longer term goal is to mount a full production of the musical in St. Petersburg in 2021. 


The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance strives to be the community voice for the arts -- empowering artists, arts organizations and creative businesses to work collaboratively. As an umbrella arts organization, we advocate for the arts, facilitate the growth of the arts community, and drive arts-related economic development in St. Petersburg.