At the end of 2015, a wall street raid upended my position as director of global marketing communications, a job that I loved at a company that I respected, and I had a decision to make. Jump back into the corporate world and continue to devote time, energy and creativity to building shareholder value. Or use my skills and the depth of experience to build value for my community.
It became an easy decision. If I was going to work that hard and give that much of myself I wanted to be a force for positive change. The nonprofit world offered the best route toward that goal, and as a creative writer, it made sense to a focus on the arts.
At the same time, the board of Creative Pinellas had completed a series of community meetings and determined that they needed a full time Executive Director to move the organization forward. Believing my corporate experience and training would be valuable in stabilizing and ultimately growing the organization, I made the case that I was the right fit. The board agreed and I became the ED (now CEO) of Creative Pinellas, the County’s Local Arts Agency.
Since then, we have launched multiple successful programs, from grants for professional and emerging artists, to grants to send kids to arts summer camp. We have graduated 200 artists from the Co.Starters training program for creative entrepreneurs. We commissioned and now support SPACEcraft, a socially-engaged art project that travels around Pinellas County building a sense of community by encouraging people of all ages to interact and create together.
We have re-opened the former Gulf Coast Museum of Art, closed since 2008, as the Gallery at Creative Pinellas, and offer a range of dynamic, expansive and diverse programming. Admission is always free.
We partner with local organizations to create opportunities for artists, from murals on County rights-of-way to interactive artworks that support behavioral health and wellbeing. We publish the well-respected Arts Coast Magazine, a curated magazine focused on the arts in Pinellas County and we place work by amazing Pinellas County artists in area hotels. And we still have room to do more and to grow.
My role in the organization from the beginning and today is to provide visionary leadership. To build and support the best team possible, to be a champion of the arts in Pinellas County, and to connect people, organizations, and resources to grow and support Pinellas County as an arts and cultural destination.
Available as a presenter, speaker or panelist.