New Arts Strategy Will Strengthen St. Pete’s Arts Economy in Uncertain Times

A new planning effort launched to help St. Petersburg’s artists, arts organizations and cultural leaders navigate the impact of COVID-19 and build on the City’s existing arts economy.

The public-private planning process is being led by the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance with support from the Downtown Partnership and City of St. Petersburg. Karen Eber Davis Consulting has been hired to develop the strategy.

The goal of the Comprehensive Arts Strategy (CAS) is to develop tangible recommendations for building on St. Petersburg’s existing arts infrastructure to create economic growth for the entire community. Leaders plan to have recommendations ready for implementation in the spring of 2021.

The strategy process will quantify existing art assets; recommend ways for artists and arts organizations to collaborate more effectively in fundraising, marketing and audience development; determine quantifiable measurements for new public and private funding sources and underscore the relationship between our community’s arts sector and larger economic growth.

The CAS will synthesize existing local data, survey national best practices and make recommendations about the potential benefits of developing an art and cultural brand for St. Petersburg while nurturing and supporting local artists and strengthening the arts economy.

The CAS will produce a five-year roadmap to grow capacity in St. Petersburg’s art community and with quantifiable measures tied to improved economic development and quality of life for visitors and residents.

The Comprehensive Arts Strategy will be directed by a steering committee of community, business and arts leaders including Paul Carder, Liz Dimmitt, Bob Glaser, Stephanie Gularte, Alex Harris, Dr. Kimberly Jackson, Duncan McClellan, Chuck Prather, David Ramsey, Christopher Steinocher  and Dr. Kanika Tomalin. Other individuals and organizations who represent points of intersection with arts, business, education and government will be invited to engage in the planning process.

John Collins of the Arts Alliance states, “It has been ten years since the City’s Advisory Committee worked on an arts and cultural plan. Since then we conducted an Arts Economic Impact Report in 2010 and again in 2015. Now we have arts districts and the SHINE Mural Festival. We have come so far as a City of the Arts – we’re excited to build upon what we’ve learned to create our future strategy.”

“Because of COVID, people are open to thinking about doing things in new ways and collaboration is more important now than ever,” said Jason Mathis, CEO of the Downtown Partnership. “The new St. Pete Pier, the opening of the new Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement along with the coming of The Factory St Pete and The Fairgrounds in the Warehouse Arts District brings us to a pivotal moment. We have an opportunity to recommit ourselves to support for art as a defining characteristic of our city. This strategy will quantify the strengths we already have and reimagine the future of art in St. Pete.”

Karen Eber Davis Consulting has been engaged to lead the process. Davis is well-versed in local area arts planning. She conducted the Pinellas County Regional Arts Dialogue Report & Community Plan and the Arts Council of Hillsborough County’s 2020 strategic plan. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Funding Streams and Let’s Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.

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