State seed money for the arts could jumpstart an arts program for the county’s schools.
Two county not-for-profits have been awarded a total of $45,000 by the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs under the Specific Cultural Project grant program. According to their guidelines, these grants are designed to fund a cultural project, program, exhibition, or series involving arts in education and discipline based cultural or artistic projects. Culturally underserved communities are encouraged to apply.
The Weems Memorial Arts in Medicine Program (AIM), ranked fifth on the awards list with a score of 91.8 out of a possible 100 points, was awarded $25,000.
A second grant of $20,000 was awarded to Apalachicola to pay a portion of the salary for a part-time director for the Apalachicola School of Art, which will pitch in an additional $4,000 for the salary. That grant ranked sixth on the awards list with a score of 91.5.
Maureen Murphy-McKloski, who administers this grant program, said all but five of the 44 applications for funding for the 2013-14 fiscal year were funded. One applicant withdrew. The total money awarded by the program statewide was $830,523 so Franklin County received about five percent of the money.
Joe Taylor, who chairs the city’s History, Culture and Arts board and is executive director of Franklin’s Promise Coalition, is listed as the contact for both grants.
In the grant application, AIM is described as an arm of Franklin’s Promise Coalition, governed by its board of directors, but with “a devoted committee which plans and manages the program.”
The funding will be put to use in expanding the two main thrusts of the AIM program. According to the grant application, at the time the request was made, AIM provided an average of 12 “bedside arts experiences” per week, and eight community outreach classes/workshops per week. Both programs will expand by 25 percent with the new funding.
Bedside arts experiences are conducted within the hospital, local nursing homes and in the residences of homebound patients, according to Taylor. In an interview earlier this month, he said the bedside program has had limited success at Weems because, people in the hospital were often too sick to participate. But, he said, several swing bed patients, those receiving transitional care and rehabilitation, “benefitted greatly” from AIM.
AIM has taken the bedside program to St. James Bay Rehabilitation Center and to several homebound patients, including the late Vince Raffield, Taylor said.
AIM’s community outreach classes and workshops are held at the Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Art (the former Cotton Exchange), the community service center (the former Apalachicola High School), and the Carrabelle Municipal Complex (the former Carrabelle High School). Plans are under way to add the Eastpoint Firehouse as a community outreach venue, Taylor said.
Classes/workshops have included drawing, pottery, improvisational theater, Oriental exercise disciplines Tai chi and Qui Gong, and Zumba, a Latin-inspired dance fitness program. Future programs will include photography, belly dancing and oral histories, according to the grant.
Taylor said, due to reduced AIM funding, some community outreach activities have been suspended. Leslie Coon continues to offer pottery classes and Jeanette Taylor has resumed Zumba classes after a hiatus. Both work as volunteers in formerly paid positions. Both classes are held in Apalachicola.
Zumba and the pottery class were two of the best received AIM programs. “They consider the work they are doing so important they chose to continue it,” said Taylor.
Liz Sisung, who was in charge of theatre programs for AIM, said she has not been working with AIM for some time but would consider participating if AIM becomes more active.
The grant application said AIM will add a new paid artist to the program during the 2013-14 funding cycle. Taylor said there will be a call for artists to identify this person. He mentioned Lane Autrey and Ed Springer as possible instructors.
Based on the grant’s timeline, once funding is in hand next month, painting classes will resume in Carrabelle and community outreach drama classes will also start back up.
In August, a plein air art exhibit is planned at Weems and a new dramatization of the healthcare contributions of Dr. John Gorrie will be performed as part of the annual Festival of Ice.
In September, there will be a photography workshop and in December a program of caroling will be added to the ongoing bedside arts program.
The grant application estimates 6,774 individuals will participate in 66 proposed events. Elders 65 and older account for 1,694 of the total; youth age 18 and under for 316 participants.
AIM programs will take place in Calhoun, Gulf, Liberty and Wakulla counties as well as Franklin, according to the application.
The second grant will launch a program to provide art education opportunities to Franklin County students and the community at large.
The funding will pay a part-time director for the Apalachicola School of Art, housed in the Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Art on Water Street which is provided by the city free of charge. The city also pays utilities, maintenance and insurance for the building.
Based on the application, the program will conduct at least one dozen three to four-day instructional workshops taught by leading artists, and six to 10 weekend instructional workshops serving at least 10 participants each.
The grant application estimates the workshops will bring a total of $74,800 in lodging, $22,440 in meals and $14,960 in other spending to the county. It predicts that an additional 3,500 attendees at special events related to the arts program will spend $42,000.
On average, students attending the workshops will pay $300 each, generating $60,000, notes the grant. Sixty-five percent of this is paid to the teachers and the remaining $21,000 will support programs to bring art to the community.
These community programs include developing and implementing an arts academy for children ages 6 to 18, which will offer at least 12 classes tailored to specific children’s age groups. Most of these classes will be held at the Center for History, Culture and the Arts, but an outreach program will work within the local schools.
“The Arts Academy will partner with the Franklin County School and the Apalachicola Bay Charter School to take arts instruction and hand-on projects into the schools,” reads the application. “All 1,200 children will be exposed to creative learning and the benefit of the arts.”
Taylor said the academy will probably begin its work at the charter school and then expand throughout the upcoming year.
The School of Art will partner with AIM to “address the creative and health needs of a diverse local population.”
The new arts director will also help organize at least three annual events to encourage arts and promote the area as a cultural arts destination. In addition, each year during high season, the arts center will offer works by local artists for sale, with part of the proceeds paid back to support the School of Arts.
The application estimates 3,672 individuals will participate in 179 events over the 2013-14 season. Programs will be held in a dozen counties in addition to Franklin.
The budget for the grant indicates the art director’s salary will increase to $48,000 in the 2014-15 fiscal year, so presumably the director will become a full-time employee.
What are the minimum requirements for the new position?
“We haven’t written a job description,” Taylor said. “They should have at minimum a background in art history, arts coordination or implementation. We hope to find someone local. Honestly we have nobody in mind for the job.”