This year, United Arts of Central Florida announced the return of a grant program to intentionally support professional artists in our community and lead toward a stronger local arts ecosystem. With the help of the National Endowment for the Arts, Verizon, and the Athletes for Artists program, United Arts was able to fully fund 26 local artists’ projects for a total of $130,000. Funded projects included themes of acceptance, food insecurity, homelessness, environmentalism, and cultural exploration portrayed through literary, visual, digital, and performing arts mediums.

“We are proud to fund such impactful projects, but our work is far from over,” said Jennifer Evins, president and CEO of United Arts. “59 eligible projects were left unfunded due to the number of applications and limited resources. We need to continue to grow our resources to match the growing creative aspirations and needs of our community.”

The vision of United Arts is to increase access to the arts for all people of Central Florida. To achieve this vision, United Arts has set strategic goals to grow its grants and outreach programs to be more inclusive, equitable, impactful and sustainable. The Individual Artist Grant Program is designed to support activities that further the careers of emerging and established artists to help them grow and thrive in Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties.

Jacoub Reyes “Postcards to the Future” – A participatory design project centered around the historical postcard collection at The Museum of Seminole County History. In this interactive, collaborative workshop, participants can interact with the collection and make their postcards through printmaking, drawing, and collage, creating personalized postcard blocks that will be printed on a large scroll.

Tamara Madison “Conjure: Sharing our Sheroes & Heroes” – A series of workshops and community sharing that celebrates family archive, community, and history through poetry. The events will focus on everyday unsung heroes and their triumphs despite adversity.

Nichole Spates “Orlando Mirages” – Orlando Mirages is an ongoing series of 25 photographs that address climate change, invasive plants, and the impermanence of the structures that we build.

Gisela Romero “Table Runner’s Stories” – In this solo show there will be drawings, stories and emotions shared by immigrants who leave their countries and come to the United States to start a new life.

Giovanna c Quezada “The Suitcase” – “The Suitcase” is a compelling theatre production that follows the journey of a Latina immigrant in the United States. This play aims to raise awareness of the struggles and challenges that the Latino community faces in Florida, which accounts for 24% of the state’s population.

Chris Trovador “Ink Addicted” – The show will use live painting, stand-up comedy, and improvisation to tell the story of a tattoo artist. The challenges of being a tattoo artist, the misconceptions about the art form, and the importance of family and healing will all be discussed.

Russell Bellamy “KinderCare” – Utilizing Stainless Steel, Copper, Wood, Rubber, and poof balls, this work will represent the wedge between adult and child medical care. The colorful yet isolated forms will represent a metaphoric escape, an escape from the claustrophobic restraints of an ailing body, mind, soul, and the physical escape from the uninviting spaces associated with adult medical care.

Christine C Peloquin “Mount Dora WT Bland Public Library Butterfly Mural” – The vision for this mural is 3 large scale scientifically accurate butterflies with vegetation that are indigenous to Florida and the Nunan Garden, specifically a monarch butterfly (adult sized), the red spotted purple butterfly (middle school height) and a zebra longwing, the Florida State Butterfly, (toddler sized). Designs will be scientific and educational to stimulate the imagination and creativity of young children.

Curtis C Tucker “The Stranger’s Tale” -. A story of faith and hope, “The Stranger’s Tale” examines modern homelessness through music and drama. This one-act opera is a chamber work themed on the issue of homelessness and the stigma often experienced by those affected.

Keith Lay “Distance Music”– a new paradigm for large-space outdoor concerts, creates a personalized, immersive experience for each audience member using the time it takes for sound to travel over a distance to construct rhythms and melodies.

Tasanee Durrett “Eyedentity” – This series of paintings will examine the social, racial, and spiritual history of Black culture from the 1950s to the early 2000s. This series will reveal the stories and presence of Black culture so that it will never be forgotten and will always be in the spotlight.

Sarah Johnston “The Gratitude Bowl Project” – a large ceramic vessel standing at 5-5 1/2 ft in height and 2-3 feet in diameter that addresses themes of encouragement, gratitude, and our connection to one another. The viewer will be encouraged to write down their response to text and prompts that are written on the outside of the vessel.

Estefany Londono “Earth to Table” – This interdisciplinary community ceramics project will bring together the intersection of ceramic arts and food sovereignty, creating a true “Earth to Table” experience. This artistic activism project will explore themes of sustainability, food sovereignty, family, community, connection, resilience, and healing via ceramic arts.

Victorious McLeod “Divergent” Film Festival” – As a black multidisciplinary artist who primarily focuses on self-portraiture their work explores themes of self-identity, representation, and the intersectionality of blackness and neurodivergence. This project aims to challenge societal norms, raise awareness about ADHD and synesthesia, and promote inclusivity and acceptance.

Brian Villane “Artist in Residency Project at Timucua Arts” – An immersive live performance that will bring audience members through the galaxy – sonically presenting different celestial bodies through an interconnected series of miniature compositions representing each.

Joseph Harrington “Bringing Contra Dancing to Orlando and Central Florida” – Sustain and build a vibrant participatory contra-dancing scene in Central Florida and become a 501c3 volunteer organization capable of putting on much larger events available in similar-sized East Coast cities. GOCD is the only weekly contra dance in Florida and the only gender-free contra.

Donald Harrell “Orisirisi African Folklore Black History Month Celebration, 2024” – Illuminating African and African American life and culture in a way that crosses cultural boundaries and fosters mutual respect and understanding. It includes a performance practice that uses African drumming and, dance, song, and storytelling in the form of myths, legends, folktales, and narrative form that ranges from simple point of fact to talks and lectures on specific subjects.

Orit Reuben “Frame Acquisition for Pastel Painting Exhibition(s) and Education About Pastels” – A project intended to increase sales of pastel paintings and help pastel artists succeed through increased professional exposure to pastel artists in the community and education about the pastel medium.

Monica Diaz “Freedom to Fly: A Solo Exhibition” – Freedom to Fly: A Solo Exhibition will allow Monica Diaz Art & Design to expand its reach, producing a full-scale solo exhibition at Avalon Park Art and Cultural Center with the aim of inspiring and supporting other breast cancer survivors.

Yessica Lizarraga “Mexico Danza Orlando” – Staging Mexican folkloric dances and showcasing traditional costumes with the Central Florida Community to reflect the diversity within Mexico.

Roland Cruse “St Cloud Lakefront Outdoor Landscape Paintings” – As an accomplished plein air painter Cruse will create at least 18 exhibitable landscape oil paintings, at least 8 x 10 inches in size, on location anywhere along or near the two-mile recreational pathway in St. Cloud.

Patrick Noze “Introduction to Sculpture”– This project involves the introduction of wood and carving to help influence youngsters to develop an interest in sculpting. The less fortunate communities are rarely exposed to woodcarving or stone carving.

Julio Sanchez “JulSan Environment Art” – Using materials recovered from the shores of beaches, streets, and forests Julio will create art that the community can appreciate and be receptive to the message, “help our planet by recycling”.

Roberta Emerson “Fairview by Jackie Sibblies Drury” – Roberta Emerson will produce the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, FAIRVIEW by Jackie Sibblies Drury, for its Central Florida premiere. This project is intended to impact the entire Orlando community but most specifically to engage those marginalized and underrepresented voices in the community.

Laurie Hasan “Spirits in the Silver: Discovering Lost Film” – An exhibition to be viewed at Crealdé School of Art’s Showalter Hughes Community Gallery showcasing the found film photographs that have been recovered from abandoned vintage rolls of exposed film, which have restored and printed through archival techniques.

Belina Wright “Experience the Culture of Haiti” – The aim of this project is to have the community experience the cultural aspects of Haiti through art. This project also aims to share Haiti and its rich culture in a positive light so that all who take part have a true narrative of Haiti, not the negative stereotype portrayed in the media.

To be considered for the Individual Artist Grant Program, applicants were required to be artists with a professional practice in literary, media technology, visual or performing arts. In addition, they must be located and serve communities in Lake, Orange, Osceola or Seminole counties. Submitted applications were reviewed by United Arts staff for completeness and eligibility before going through a volunteer panel review process.

Artists can learn more at https://UnitedArtsCFL.org/grants/

About United Arts of Central Florida
United Arts of Central Florida is the local arts agency uniting the community and fueling the arts. With the help of individual donors, corporations, foundations and public funding, United Arts inspires creativity, builds community and strengthens the economy in Central Florida. United Arts is proud to facilitate arts education programs for all ages and provide critical funding and comprehensive marketing for local art, science, and history organizations and individual artists.

For more information, visit http://www.UnitedArtsCFL.org or call 407.628.0333.

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