Creative Pinellas Announces Recipients of Professional Artist Grants and Artist Laureate

Artists from disciplines as wide ranging as dance, musical theatre and visual arts to literature and media arts were all recipients of the Creative Pinellas Impact Returns Professional Artist Grant, the organization announced today.

The program provides a grant to Pinellas County artists of outstanding talent and ability who bring recognition, awareness and interest to our community, inspire other artists and art lovers, and help make Pinellas County a vibrant arts and cultural community.

“It’s great to be able to offer a fourth year of this program with a track record of success,” said Barbara St. Clair, executive director for Creative Pinellas. “Artists who received grants from us in previous years are now mentors for our Emerging Artist grant and instructors for our Arts Insider Workshops. They also exhibited in our recent Arts Annual which was attended by art enthusiasts county and statewide. We are able to watch this program in real time and see how it functions as a mechanism to support artists in their professional career and as a means to build and sustain Pinellas County as a cultural destination.”

Individual artists receiving grants include: Stephen P. Brown (music performance), Carol Cleere (visual arts), Kate Helms (visual arts), Charlotte Johnson (dance), Victoria Jorgensen (media arts), Steve Kistulentz (literature), Gabriel Ramos (visual arts), Babs Reingold (visual arts) and Tom Sivak (musical theatre). Akiko Kotani (visual arts) was selected by the jury as the organization’s first Artist Laureate who will serve as a partner/collaborator with Creative Pinellas. Selected for the excellence of her work, her expertise as an arts educator, and her reputation throughout the arts community nation and worldwide, Kotani will share her talents to support the organization’s mission over the grant period.

“The quality of the 65 artists who applied is a strong indicator of the vitality of our arts and cultural community,” said Christopher Hubbard, programs manager for Creative Pinellas, “and part of what has driven us to introduce our new Artist Laureate program. We are looking forward to working with Kotani, our first ever Artist Laureate, and to exploring the new opportunities this program will allow us to discover.”

As part of their community outreach, grantees will be posting recurring blogs describing their progress and activities throughout the grant award period, which ends Sept. 13, 2019. Biographies of the artists who received awards and their individual blogs will be available at starting Feb. 15, 2019.

For more information about Creative Pinellas and its grant programs please visit or contact Christopher Hubbard, programs manager, at