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 seventh year, with an additional private donation from the Jim Rolston Memorial Grant, the Alliance is proud to be able to increase the number of $1,000 grants from 15 to 16. The grants are intended to provide financial assistance and incentives to St. Petersburg artists for projects that support public engagement of their work in visual arts, dance, music, digital, literary arts, and theater. This year’s grant recipients include eight visual artists, three musicians, three writers, one dance and one circus performer!

Aleisha Prather is a visual artist who will be creating oversized milkweed flowers scheduled to be displayed at the First Night St. Petersburg celebration for 2021, 2022 and 2023. Her new materials and process will involve slumping plexiglass sheets to various melting points that infuse bubbles into its surface, refracting light that passes through the form in an organic fashion. Aleisha’s overall goal is to make large-scale works of art in a resourceful way that optimizes the use of the material and adds a touch of beauty and whimsy to St. Petersburg; to create art that evokes a sense of magic and wonder for viewers.

Anna Kate Mackle, harpist, in her duo, Mackle/Shaw (Shaw is percussionist), will be writing new commissioned original music.  This project would create a new work for the percussion and harp chamber music genre, and would be performed by musicians all over the world for years to come. The fact that both performers and the composer, Michael Ippolito, have ties to the Tampa Bay area and specifically St. Petersburg, would serve as an advertisement for the thriving arts scene in this community.

Ashley Rivers is focusing her art on the issues of femininity, identity, and the body.  Her project will include creating casts of multiple female bodies of all different shapes and sizes to address the perceptions of identity, femininity, and the "ideal" female body. Ashley’s project aims to use a mixed range of tones through metal powders, to empower strength, beauty, and hope within the eyes of the viewers, and to embrace the imperfections of what is "normal" for the individual identities and bodies of all women.

Beth Reynolds will be taking her photography to the next level in a new body of work using the polymergravure process. Photogravure is a process that combines photography and printmaking and Photopolymer is an intaglio printmaking or photo-mechanical process that uses copper plates and non-toxic chemicals.  Beth will give a free 1-day demonstration at the Morean Arts Center as well as a talk and video about the process. The video will be uploaded to the Morean YouTube site for anyone to watch. Beth’s goal is to teach this process and get more photographers to see where they can expand their image making. No respirators, no acid, no toxicity, no roadblock to creativity.

Desiree Hacker is a Borosilicate Glass Flameworker and she hopes to spread the word of self-care to modern women, young girls, LGBTQAIP+, males, and anyone else who will listen to the message of self-love through her installation, ‘Bringing Romance Back to Your Beauty Routine.’  Desiree will create glass ‘vanity-scape’ that includes items such as a comb, a hairbrush, a mirror, cosmetics, etc. Viewers will identify with the individual items displayed per ‘vanity-scape/ flat-lay’, and experience an emotional connection to not only the artwork that represents their own familiarity, but to the commonality of all humanity in moments spent on a beauty routine.

Gabriela Rosa aims to bridge the gap between circus and theater, create interesting characters and moving story lines through her circus production, Selvatica - inspired by the jungles of Latin America. Audiences will be immersed into a wild world through the use of brilliant lighting visuals, unique set designs, intricate costuming, and eloquent movement. Gabriela hopes to draw attention to some of the issues facing the jungles of Latin America such as poaching, deforestation, and climate change by empowering circus artists to use their skills in a meaningful way and help audiences understand more about the world we live in. Performance tentative set at Nova 535.

Glenn Stevenson will create 7 new music compositions that have the elements of Americana & Adult Contemporary songs. Glenn will play more than a dozen instruments, all on his own other than a few additions like flute and background vocals. He will be sourcing local recording studios, recording engineers & post production engineers. These songs reflect and are the signature of the life he is living as a lifelong resident of Pinellas County.

J.J. Pattishall’s mission of his project is to tell the story of the diverse musical and cultural influences that have shaped the sound of the Tampa Bay region, presenting it as a microcosm of the Gulf South alongside other important places like New Orleans, Muscle Shoals, South Texas, & Havana, Cuba. Part concert, part masterclass, part oral history, this narrated sonic journey through Tampa Bay will feature a live ensemble performing six original compositions at the Dr. Carter Woodson African American Museum.  J.J. will be collaborating with a diverse collective of skilled and talented musicians, writers, historians, and community members to bring this story to life in a way that is honest, engaging, and respectful.

Kate Cummins is a large scale mixed media artist that will be creating a new body of work intends to create between 10 and 15 paintings and seek out a forum that calls for a deeper consideration focused on climate change. Using motifs such as a grid, totems and abstracted florals, Kate of what climate change means through cogent, accessible abstraction that includes recognizable symbols and sign posts.

Martha Joy Rose (Joy), professor and artist, will be editing the second draft of her book SING OUT SISTER about her twenty-year journey to bring the Museum of Motherhood project to St. Petersburg with the intention of bridging the gap between the practical and the academic using personal stories juxtaposed with her life on stage with stories of America’s first female sociologists. SING OUT SISTER aims to impact St. Petersburg by contributing to the vibrant artistic, museum, and educational community in the area. Once finished, the book will be available in print and online, with readings and gatherings that address topical issues regarding women and families situated within St. Petersburg’s unique and special geography.

Neverne Covington will create a body of work fusing two methodologies: encaustic and monotype making translucent images inspired by our geography and land but not necessarily in representational format, more interpreted. Neverne is excited to introduce these new art forms to our community as well as safe art practices she has learned from her instruction taken at Making Art Safely in Santa Fe, NE.  She will then teach these practices at various venues in our community.

Paula Kramer is a dancer and choreographer planning to create a three-fold multi arts project IN CELEBRATION of her 85th birthday honoring the dance, visual and writing artists who have been her collaborators in St. Petersburg.  

1. Integrated Arts Workshops for Creative Clay Member Artists
2. Creative Clay Art Exhibit at The Studio@620
3. Two half hour dance performances at The Studio@620 featuring excerpts of dances she has choreographed for professional dancers living and working in St. Petersburg.

Robin Roth-Murphy will be creating “Sangha,” which means community in Hindi, a mixed-media, life-size, female sculpture made from repurposed, reconstructed objects. Sangha will represent women in our community who have suffered trauma from past abuse, addiction, and incarceration. “Sangha” will help educate the Pinellas County community about the Red Tent Women’s Initiative’s important cause. To drive awareness, Robin will host two free, interactive public events in conjunction with Red Tent.

Stephanie Johnson will begin utilizing a studio through her production company, The Literary (‘LIT’) Minute, for one of her premier web shows, "Scholars & Prose".  By highlighting, and interviewing, well-known and rising authors of color, the web series allows readers to discuss the cultural dynamics of writing, and at times, interact with the authors to gain a deeper understanding of their work. Stephanie creates media content that raises awareness and resolves issues stemming from the educational oversight and exclusion of canonical readings that provide cultural enrichment to student education in black communities worldwide.

Takeya Trayer is creating a mixed media book called “My Mommy is My Daddy,” an illustrated playful take on how masculine of center female parents and single mothers take on multiple roles.  It is necessary that Black women birthing, people of color, masculine identified parents and LGBTQ people of color are represented in children’s stories to be inclusive of the changing family forms. The book illustrations are cut paper collage with some digital editing and manipulating with the hope of framing and finishing the original book pages as individual double sided art works.  The framed art will be shown in intimate spaces.  The book is published through online platforms, Kindle, Apple Books, and Kobo and also with print availability through Ingramspark and Amazon. 

Thom Namaya will create the AGENT ORANGE sculpture that memorializes the victims of Agent Orange.      With the 50th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War approaching, artist and USN Veteran, Namaya, wishes to honor and remember those with Agent Orange syndrome. In particular, the millions of Vietnamese who currently suffer from Agent Orange Syndrome. The sculpture is made up of barrels approximately 9 to 10 feet tall and about 9 feet in width. The barrels are a "simulation" of Agent Orange. Accompanying  the art work will be "Tree of Memory and Forgiveness,” there will be space for people to write on orange shipping labels with yellow ribbons, a memory of someone they have lost or who is suffering from Agent Orange.

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.