Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Friday Morning Cultural Tourism

A small, but interesting band gathered last Friday morning at the Atlanta Bread Company for the Friday Morning Group meeting. It won't do you much good by the time you get this, but we learned that the Pinellas County Cultural Affairs Department is having another round of Fiscal Year 2008 grants. It won't do you much good because the grant application deadline is this Friday, February 15th. Yes, you read that correctly. This is an additional round of grants for work to be completed in 2008.

Speaking of 2008 and grants, I learned something interesting, but not altogether surprising today. The City of St. Petersburg will be sending letters out today to all the Cultural Grants recipients for fiscal year 2008 letting them know that fiscal year 2009 is also a very tough budget climate for the City and they should plan on receiving little or nothing in the way of grant funding from the City again this upcoming year. Sounds like a replay of last year.

Speaking of the City and arts funding, the newly created Arts Trust Fund pushed through by Council Member Jeff Danner is still awaiting its $500,000 seed money funding from the City. I spoke recently with Jeff about this. He assured me that the Mayor is committed to funding the Arts Trust Fund. It is just a matter of identifying an appropriate source of funding. Stay tuned.

We are looking forward to hearing from Michele Tuegel about the Cultural Tourism Workshop held by the Cultural Affairs Department and the Convention and Visitors Bureau last Friday. Talk of that brought up a discussion again of the "New Product Development" grants available from the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Remember, the CVB is funded from the heads & beds tourist tax and thus is not subject to the vagaries of the property tax "reform" movement. This could be a source of funding for an arts project that would draw visitors to Pinellas County, for anyone who is interested.

And of course, what would a Friday Morning Group meeting be these days without a discussion, sometimes passionate, of the art of the City's downtown waterfront, the future of Al Lang Field and the Rays proposal.

All in all, another very interesting Friday Morning.