Four years ago the Palm Coast City Council listed an expansion of city support for arts and culture among its top long-range goals. That goal is taking another hit this year. While the city is spending tens of thousands of dollars on its own special events, it is scaling back the amount of money it is awarding independent, non-profit cultural organizations in town. The city administration is recommending awards to 11 organizations totaling $20,000 this year, almost half the requested amounts.
The city’s accounts are a bit confused on that score: in one tally sheet, the total requested is listed at $35,000. In a different summary of the program, the total request is listed at $39,000. Both sheets put the recommended award total at $20,000.
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In 2007, Palm Coast had a $40,000 budget for cultural grants and handed out $31,595 between 10 arts groups. The city handed about the same amount the following year, but after developing tighter eligibility standards, the amount fell to $23,830 in 2009, split between eight organizations. Nine organizations were turned down because they didn’t meet the city’s definition of supporting the arts.
Those turned down last year included the Flagler Parent Foundation, the Florida Agricultural Museum, the Garden Club at PalmCoast, the Hispanic American Club, the Italian American Social Club and the African American CulturalSociety. Two of those—the African American Cultural Society and the Hispanic American Club—are in line for $1,700 and $3,000 awards this year, for events similar to those they applied for last year. The African American Society was turned down for all but $830 last year when the city deemed its Juneteenth and Kwanzaa events ineligible as arts events, just as the Hispanic American Club’s Hispanic Heritage Festival was somehow deemed “not a cultural arts event.” This year, it qualifies.
To qualify, organizations have to be based in Palm Coast, they must have applied by Aug. 27, their events must be open to the public, and “the city of Palm Coast must be acknowledged and recognized on all marketing materials,” among other criteria.
Among those who qualified: The Flagler County Art League, for its Spring Art Festival (formerly, Art in the Park), the Gargiulo Art Foundation, for its annual Affordable Art and Poetry Competition (currently on view at the Hollingsworth Gallery at City Market Place), the Palm Coast Arts Foundation, for its signature annual event—the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra’s Picnic and Pops concert—and the Flagler Auditorium. The auditorium, the leading cultural institution in the county—with a budget of $352,450 and dozens of major production—had requested $3,000. It was awarded a paltry $1,500, or less than the Philippine American Association’s tango dance and cultural exhibit, which got $2,300.
The Palm Coast City Council will discuss the grants at its workshop on Tuesday (Nov. 29) and approve the list at its Dec. 7 meeting. Here’s a chart of the proposed grant:
Palm Coast Cultural Arts Grants, 2011
|African-American Cultural Society||$1,700||Kwanzaa, Dec. 26, 2010-Jan. 1||$1,500||$1,700|
|Choral Arts Society||$9,500||Four concert series||$3,000||$2,000|
|Community Chorus of Palm Coast||$2,840||Two concerts||$5,000||$2,840|
|Flagler Auditorium||$352,450||The 2010-11 Auditorium season||$3,000||$1,500|
|Flagler County Art League||$14,160||2011 Spring Art Festival||$3,000||$1,500|
|Gargiulo Art Foundation||$5,219||Affordable Art & Poetry Competition||$3,000||$2,160|
|Hispanic American Club of Palm Coast||$45,700||Hispanic Heritage Festival||$3,000||$1,500|
|Palm Coast Arts Foundation||$34,808||Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra's Picnic & Pops||$3,000||$1,500|
|Palm Coast United Methodist Church||$25,961||Concert series||$3,000||$1,500|
|Philippine American Association||$5,000||Tango dance and cultural exhibit||$5,000||$2,300|
|Trinity Presbyterian Church||$18,870||Mosaic of art and music series||$3,000||$1,500|