2016 Individual Artist Grant Awards


The St Petersburg Arts Alliance is pleased to announce our recipients of the

2016 Individual Artist Grant Program

The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance established an Individual Artist Grant Program last year with funding provided by the Office of Cultural Affairs, and is proud to be able to continue the grant program in 2016. The grants are intended to provide financial assistance to resident artists for projects that support public engagement of their work in the visual arts, dance, music, digital arts, and theater disciplines.

This year the finalists will begin their artful projects in June, and later present their photography, playwriting, dance, sculpture, multi-media, and mural painting.

  • Catherine Woods invites the viewer to experience our city’s beautiful clouds and water reflections in a photo collages 4’ – 6’ in length. The collages are being printed with durable inks on archival paper and with work being done to the surfaces with paint and encaustic to enhance the dimensional quality of the images. Images will be layered so the viewer will see new elements each time they visit her publicly displayed project.
  • Rachel Fearing Stewart will present two new three-dimensional wood sculptures made from found wood pallets and plywood. The sculptures will introduce the community to new ways to use wood and express conceptual ideas about tree growth. By studying the tree rings, she will finish each piece by carving, burning, defacing and replacing elements from the wood surfaces to create a strong textural surface. Her works will be displayed at Studio@620 for the public to view.
  • James Oleson will make and present a multimedia sculpture inspired by Japanese/Chinese paper lanterns and festivals, as well as mythological forms. This large-scale piece will take shape as an illuminated phoenix that will be crafted from rod steel, muslin fabric, colored dyes, adhesives and LED lights. A free public presentation will be held during International Friendship Day, Sunday, August 7 at Bloom Art Center. International Friendship Day was proclaimed by the United Nations in 2011 to build communities and help move toward world peace.
  • Tom Sivak is the composer/librettist for a new operatic work entitled “Doctor Dilligaff’s Baboon.” The comic chamber opera with a cast of four and accompaniment by a piano and cello will be 70 minutes long. The audience will be an essential element of the new performance, and will provide performance feedback to develop the work further. The Palladium will provide the venue for the concert reading with a tentative performance set for date of August 15, 2016.
  • Peter Meder is an automata artist, maker of handcrafted moving figures, which conveys movement or emotion to tell the story. The challenging process in making and mechanizing a three-dimensional figure begins with practical, imaginative design that will go through many transformations using new and unconventional materials and methods (Worbla thermoplastic body, using a 3D printer to make parts, roto-casting resign techniques). The end result is the viewer enjoying the interaction with the automation and is entertained.
  • Brooks Peters will present FACES and FACADES, a photography show which will feature a series of original, new portraits and cityscapes. By focusing on actors, musicians, dancers as well as the aesthetic landmarks in the city’s day-to-day life. The diverse spirit of the people of St. Petersburg will be reflected and celebrate the city’s cultural history as revealed in its streets, storefronts, neighborhoods, murals and buildings.
  • Ya La’ford will present two very large exhibits measuring 74” x 52” x 2” that will be open to the public. These exhibits will explore the metaphysics of space and time and how objects and perceptions change when we move around in space. The ideas are to challenge conventional thinking and engage in creative activism that’s community focused, inspires connectivity and seeks to express a positive relationship with the natural around us.
  • Carlos Culbertson will engage the St. Petersburg south side community by painting a large mural that recalls and honors the history of the African American community. He will demonstrate the possibility of a career in the art world to the youth living in the area, and the positive imagery will echo the history of the area. A photographer will record the process.
  • Wendy Durand will use her art to help a segment of our community who work with families dealing with the life changing events such as cancer, disability or loss of a job due to illness. The community of women, survivors of catastrophic challenges, founded the all volunteer non-profit, “Women with Purpose.” The functional vases, featuring the female form, can be used to expand volunteer involvement and leverage financial support using art as the vehicle. “Women with Purpose” will resell or silent auction these vases for fundraising purposes.
  • Helen Hansen French will present “The Motherhood Project” which seeks to explore the complex and nuanced experiences of artist-mothers. A film will be created incorporating artist-mothers from across all disciplines, drawing on their personal experiences and highlighting their creative work in relationship to their families. By offering a dance and literary workshop (in conjunction with Maureen McDole and Keep St. Pete Lit) participants will write about mothering and its relationship to their art from. The written word will be a jumping off point to create the dance movement. A finished presentation will be presented at the Palladium Theater in November.
  • Michelle Fielding will incorporate her design skills and the digital arts into a presentation that will feature the work of all the artists in order to promote them as well as our City of the Arts.


Photo:  “Kinetic Ring” – sculpture by Catherine Woods.