Creative Pinellas Announces Recipients of Rapid Returns Grant

A Wide Range of Individual Artists and Arts Organizations Receive Awards


Artists from a wide range of disciplines and interests including dance, theatre as it relates to military veterans, puppetry, literature and visual arts, and organizations with programs that take children out to Boyd Hill Nature Reserve, on an imaginary adventure to France, Vietnam, Nigeria and El Salvador, were all recipients of Creative Pinellas’ Rapid Returns grants program, the organization announced today.

“We are thrilled to be providing these grants,” said Elizabeth Brincklow, Director of Community Engagement for Creative Pinellas, who organized and ran the grants program.  “We had 127 individual artists and 14 arts organizations apply.  The quality of the work from the individual artists, and the creativity and programmatic excellence of the educational activities submitted was nothing short of astounding.  The vetting process by our panelists – all highly esteemed arts professionals was very rigorous, and still we had over 40 individual artists and 13 organizations who met the grant criteria.  When you realize that we expected to receive between 30 and 35 grants in total, it gives you a perspective on what an amazing arts community we have here in Pinellas County.”

Organizational grant recipients included American Stage, for stage education summer programs, Creative Clay for their “Art Around the World” summer camp, The Arts Center Association, Inc. (The Morean) to expand their summer camp program, Arts 4 Life Academy for their “Each One Teach One” program, Dunedin Fine Art Center for expansion of their Summer Art Academy, Great Explorations Children’s Museum for their “Art-a-Day” summer camp initiative, St. Petersburg City Theatre for “The Stage as Classroom, summer camp, The Dali Museum for summer workshops at area recreation centers, the Gulf Beach Art Center for their “Kreative Kids“ summer art campand The Studio@620 for their “Wildly Creative Arts Experience.”

Individual artists receiving fellowships included Babs Reingold for visual art, Lisa Powers Tricomi for theatre / musical theatre, Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse for visual art, Rose Marie Prins for visual art, Helen Hansen French for choreography,Ya Levy Laford for visual art, Mark Aeling, for visual art, Peter Meder for visual art, Gregory Byrd, for literature and Thomas Sivak, for music composition.

The purpose of the Rapid Returns Grants was twofold.  For arts organizations it was to provide funds for programs that would give young people in the County the opportunity to participate in summer activities that provided positive live arts experiences through quality arts instruction.  For individual artists it was to assist in the sustainability and retention of local artists who show outstanding talent and ability and to recognize their accomplishments and support their efforts to advance their careers.

“We are so thankful for the participation and positive response we received for the Rapid Returns grants program,” said Barbara St. Clair, Executive Director of Creative Pinellas.  “This year was the first time we were in a position to have a grants program, thanks to the financial support of the Board of County Commissioners, who were very committed to having us launch a viable grants program this year. The number of applicants and the world-class quality of the work we received certainly demonstrated the need and value for a program like this and moving forward we hope to do even more.  Our plan for next year includes expanding both individual artist and organizational programs to support emerging and returning artists as well as provide further support to our 104 plus arts organizations in Pinellas County.”

Detailed descriptions of the arts programs and biographies of the artists who received awards, as well as information about the panelists are available at the Creative Pinellas website at  Additionally, starting in June the Rapid Returns artists and arts organizations will be posting weekly blogs describing their progress and activities throughout the granting period which ends September 15.