Creative Pinellas, the County’s Local Arts Agency announced the launch of its new Stretch Grant program for organizations to increase the impact of their successful events and activities in Pinellas County. Part of the “Impact Returns” grant cycle, Stretch Grants are designed to support events and activities that lend themselves to expanding beyond their geographic boundaries and that give residents and visitors alike the opportunity to experience what their neighbors in St. Pete or in Tarpon Springs, Dunedin or Clearwater might already be enjoying.
Stretch Grant funds can be used for marketing, administrative and logistical costs, facilities rental, support for artists and other costs specifically associated with expanding the program and event to serve a larger geography within the County. Events and activities that are eligible for Stretch Grants effectively showcase Pinellas County as a cultural destination, are open to the public, of interest to residents and visitors, happen over a multiple-day, but definable-time period to make it easy to attend and to market, already have an existing brand or following and a history of success, and can be sponsored or managed by a 501 (c) (3) arts or cultural organization able to accept funds. Additionally, they must be the type of event that can realistically be “stretched” to reach more people throughout Pinellas County.
“We are very excited about this grant,” said Creative Pinellas Executive Director, Barbara St. Clair. “While it is being done in other communities, it is a new concept for Creative Pinellas and we are very interested in seeing where we can take it. Right now there so many wonderful arts and cultural events happening throughout our 38-mile-long and 15-mile-wide county. But because we are so large – 280 square miles – residents and visitors don’t necessarily get the benefit of all we have to offer. With this grant we want to essentially share the wealth, and to make it more possible for people throughout the County to discover, enjoy and benefit from what is happening up the road or across the bridge.”
To facilitate the process, and ensure they have connected with organizations and events throughout the community, Creative Pinellas is working with the three Pinellas County arts alliances; the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, the Clearwater Arts Alliance and the North Pinellas Cultural Alliance to identify and nominate activities and events that meet the goals and focus of the Stretch Grants both within and outside of their specific service areas, so that the whole County is covered.
Once nominated, Creative Pinellas will contact the event or organizations and provide access to the Stretch Grant application. The application period is currently opened and nominations and applications will be accepted through December 15, 2016 although the alliances are encouraged to make their nominations as early as possible. Creative Pinellas has $18,000 available for this grant and funds are expected to be distributed in February, 2017. Funding will be based on the quality of the application, the number of applications and how well the panel determines the application meets the goals of the grant.
Additional information, grant guidelines, the nominating form and a sample application are available on the Creative Pinellas website at Stretch Grants. Events and organizations may also contact their local arts alliances to express their interest in being nominated for this grant.
Funding for these and other Creative Pinellas grants are dependent on the support and overall budget approval of the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners.
Learn more about Stretch Grants here.