Spotlight On: Grant Season at the Division of Cultural Affairs

by Tim Storhoff

sizedcbf-dca-colorSummer is an extremely busy time here at the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, particularly with all the activities related to our grant programs. We have grant periods beginning and ending with the state’s fiscal year, which starts on July 1. This means that between June and September of every year we are actively working with three years of grants: the year that just ended, the year that is just getting started, and the next year (currently in the application review stage). These grants are an extremely important part of what we do, and we know that many arts and culture organizations from across the state depend on them to keep their programs up and running. Therefore I wanted to give you some insight into what’s going on and how we keep these grants moving and on track.

2012-2013: Finishing Up and Closing Out

The official period for 2012-2013 grants ended on June 30. There were 314 total grants given to organizations in 45 Florida counties for a total of $8,868,534. This amount included a $5 million appropriation by the state legislature for General Program Support and approximately $3.9 million for Cultural Facilities (no money was appropriated in 2012-2013 for Specific Cultural Projects). For a full record of awards by county, take a look at this list.

After organizations with General Program Support grants finish up their June events, they have until July 30 to fill out their final reports online. It typically takes Sarah, Maureen, and I (the program managers for these grants) until sometime in the fall to read through everything, but it’s great to be reminded of all the wonderful activities that these grants made possible. These reports allow us to see specifically how all the grant money was used and what overall impact it had in terms of individuals from the the community who participated. In addition to getting overall numbers, we’re interested in the number of youth, elders, and artists that took part in events throughout the year. While we often stress the economic impact of the arts with Culture Builds Florida, these participation numbers help show the significance of the arts in a way that goes beyond dollars and cents. The arts create important social connections between people when they attend performances, visit museums, and perhaps most importantly, collaborate to create art together.

Some of the organizations and events funded with 2012-2013 DCA grants.

Some of the organizations and events funded with 2012-2013 DCA grants.

2013-2014: Getting Started (or at least trying to)

With the previous year’s grants ending on June 30, the current year’s grant period is scheduled to begin right away on July 1. Organizations applied for 2013-2014 grants in spring 2012. After panel meetings, eligible scores were sent to the Florida Legislature via the Department of State’s Legislative Budget Request. The Legislature appropriated $5 million for General Program Support, fully funded Specific Cultural Projects with $830,523 and funded Cultural Facilities for $3,328,000. Along with Fast Track and State Touring grants, the state totals came to 351 grants in 47 counties for $9,350,322. For a full record of awards by county, take a look at this list.

Contracts for this year’s grants typically would have been mailed out in June so payments could be processed on July 1. However, a new bill passed by the 2013 Florida Legislature (HB 5401), requires that all contracts include new elements and go through a new approval process. As one of the first state agencies to deal with these new requirements, we’ve been proactive in collecting all the required information from each grantee for insertion into the contracts. Now we’re just waiting for approval to start sending out payments. In the end this bill will provide a useful resource to Florida’s taxpayers. They’ll be able to log onto a website and see exactly where state dollars are going and what they’re being spent on. After signing the bill, Governor Scott applauded the transparency it will provide, saying, “As taxpayers, we deserve to know if we are getting a return on investment for our money.” We’re confident that through arts and culture, Floridians are getting a positive return on investment as the economic impact of the arts is clear and show that Culture Builds Florida. We just wish it didn’t create a delay in getting funds out to our grantees!

2014-2015: Looking Ahead and Panels, Panels, Panels!

In addition to dealing with grants that have just ended and are just starting, we’re spending a lot of time reviewing applications and preparing panel meetings for 2014-2015 grants. Applications were submitted on June 1 or June 15 depending on the program, and we received a total of 322 applications for General Program Support, 61 for Specific Cultural Projects, 29 for Cultural Facilities, and 169 for Individual Artist Fellowships. We’ve been busy going through and checking each application for eligibility and making sure that everything is in order to send it on to the panels. So far 125 panelists have been officially appointed for the 22 different panels that will take place between late August and early October, and additional panelists have yet to be appointed. Panelists serve on a volunteer basis and must be practicing artists or professionals who specialize in the area of the panels they serve on, and we are extremely grateful for the time they donate to this process. For the full grant panel schedule, check out our calendar.

Our file room is filled with stacks of support materials that were mailed in as part of applications.

Our file room is filled with stacks of support materials that were mailed in as part of applications.

After applications are scored, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture sends panel recommendations to the Secretary of State who then includes them with a request to the Legislature. In spring 2014 the Florida Legislature will make funding decisions and next summer this process will start all over again as organizations start their 2014-2015 grant period.

As you can see, this isn’t just a busy time for the DCA but for current grantees as well. As soon as they finish their application they need to start working on their final report while also filling out the required documentation for the grant that’s just starting. It can be a lot of work keeping everything straight while juggling three years worth of grants, and we’re rarely able to grant as much money as we’d like to Florida’s many deserving organizations. However, the end result is worth every document filed and phone call made because we believe that arts and culture are essential to the quality of life for all Floridians. The events funded through these grants stimulate tourism and enrich our communities. The arts provide jobs, bring people together, and remind us that Florida is a special place to live and work. 

If you have any questions about our grants, please contact a member of our program staff, and remember to let your community leaders and legislators know about the impact these grants have in your community so that we can continue to increase our support for Florida arts and culture.

A Day in the Life: Karen Peterson and “Body without Text”

by Karen Peterson

Katrina Weaver, a dancer in Miami’s Karen Peterson and Dancers company, and I participated in a five-day dance workshop for individuals with and without disabilities in Belgrade, Serbia. I was the instructor of the inclusive movement classes and director of the final performance along with my Serbian colleagues, Boris Caksiran, the artistic director and Marko Pejovic, the managing director of Grupa “Hajde de” (group Let’s). This organization has a solid twelve-year history of inclusive arts and community social programs and serves a wide range of marginalized groups in the Balkans through hands on workshops and performance. They first brought inclusive dance to Belgrade in 2008 when London’s Canduco Company introduced equal rights in the dance studio.

Twenty six individuals, eight with documented disabilities, came from Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia came to participate in the workshop. Therapists, teachers, disability activists, students and dancers were among the participants. Many travelled six to seven hours by train or van to learn about mixed-ability dance in order to take information back to their home countries to start new groups or develop existing programs. Despite the past histories of these countries, the dance group moved seamlessly with cooperation and collaboration.

Many participants had years of dance education; others had little. However, everyone came with the curiosity of movement and the need to share and process. Self discovery was on everyone’s mind and all were encouraged to do their best and be engaged and committed to the creative process. We worked 10am – 5pm every day and dealt with movement improvisation tasks that were solved in solo, in duet or group form. Trust, honesty, challenge, understanding, patience, courage and dialogue were a few of the words that came up for discussion.  We created a safe space for communication and overcame barriers by showing what we could do by working intimately with each other.

A final structure was developed for the end performance by Boris, Marko and I. “Body without Text” looks at the labels, definitions and prejudices one places on a person before knowing the individual.  The final 35 minute performance with projections, new music and dance dealt with those many ideas.

There were eight participants with documented disabilities in the workshop (two blind, two deaf, two wheelchair users, two developmental disabilities). We were able to make a final structure for the performance where everyone participated equally. One hundred and twenty-five audience members came out to watch the performance at the Cultural Institution “Vuk Karadzic” theatre and audience members eagerly directed questions to the dancers after the showing.  New audiences experienced the joy of a diverse group moving harmoniously on stage while others cheered their favorite dance artist with audible applauds or the signing for clapping hands.

I would like to thank the sign language interpreters and the English to Serbian translators who were present for every class and rehearsal.

I would like to thank Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Exchange Grant from APAP for their support in making Miami / Belgrade Dance Exchange possible. In many ways, lives were changed and new possibilities discovered.


Karen Peterson is the Artistic Director of Miami’s Karen Peterson and Dancers, which was established in 1990. The group presents choreography created by dance artists with and without disabilities. The dancers collaborate, research, and integrate their personal movement styles and through improvisation discover an innovative dance language. The troupe acts as a positive role model for the disability community, offers new visual inspiration for traditional dance audiences, and provides the benefits of movement to children with disabilities. Learn more at

A Day in the Life: Composer Chuck Owen, Individual Artist Fellowship Recipient

by Tim Storhoff

While Chuck Owen directs the Center for Jazz Composition at the University of South Florida School of Music in Tampa, his compositions reflect a musical taste that include many genres alongside jazz. He has said, “Years of classical piano training, performance with jazz rock/funk bands as a trombonist, and ongoing appreciation of American folk music traditions as well as those from many other countries – particularly in Latin America & Europe – have all shaped my outlook as a composer. Although I never set out with the notion of forcibly trying to ‘fuse’ these elements – I delight in playing with what, at least to me, seems like their natural intersections.” In playing with these intersections, Owen has amassed an evocative and delightful body of work.

Individual Artist Fellowship Recipient Chuck Owen. Photo used by permission of Chuck Owen.

Individual Artist Fellowship Recipient Chuck Owen. Photo used by permission of Chuck Owen.

Many of Owen’s compositions have been performed by Jazz Surge, his big band founded in 1995. Additionally, he has composed for the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Netherlands Metropole Orchestra, Tonight Show Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Dave Liebman Big Band, and Roger Williams. His compositions have won him previous Individual Artist Fellowships from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, an ASCAP/IAJE Commission in honor of Louis Armstrong, and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. He has also served as a panelist for major awards, most recently chairing the Pulitzer Prize in Music panel in 2011. In addition to composition, Owen is a dedicated educator who has received numerous accolades for his teaching at USF and served as President of the International Association for Jazz Education from 2006 to 2008.

Owen received his BM from North Texas State University and an MA in orchestral conducting from California State University-Northridge. While both of these degrees included formal composition instruction, Owen claims he has primarily grown and continues to grow musically through listening and studying the scores of great works while remaining actively engaged with other musicians, composers, and students. He said, “As a jazz composer, I feel one of the greatest educational experiences I had was years of gigging as a professional pianist. Since so much of jazz performance practice extends beyond written notation, there simply is no substitute for a jazz composer.”

Recently, Owen has devoted much of his time to the creation and release of his project River Runs: A Concerto for Jazz Guitar, Saxophone, and Orchestra, which will be issued in early April 2013 on Summit Records. He describes this composition below:

“The product of a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, this concerto spans 5 movements and runs almost an hour in length.  I drew on a lifetime love of rivers as well as specific raft/canoe trips for inspiration. Each movement is linked to a specific river but also tries to portray characteristics of the rivers. While it’s clearly a mixed genre piece – incorporating aspects of jazz, contemporary classical, American folk, and other musics; I’ve tried to retain the loose, improvisational feel of jazz throughout.” The movements of the piece are:

  • Prologue – Dawn at River’s Edge  1:54
  • Mvmt. I – Bound Away  17:53  Greenbrier & New Rivers (West Virginia)
  • Mvmt. II – Dark Waters, Slow Waters   12:37 Hillsborough River (Florida)
  • Mvmt. III – Chutes and Wave Trains  11:29  Chattooga River (Georgia, South Carolina)
  • Mvmt. IV – Side Hikes – A Ridge Away  7:56  Green & Colorado Rivers  (Colorado, Utah, Arizona)
  • Mvmt. V – Perhaps the Better Claim  11:42  Salmon River (Idaho) – The River of No Return

This piece, which evokes a sense of place that stretches across the nation, also stretches Owen’s music into new areas, reaches new audiences, and has fostered new professional relationships with musicians outside the jazz world. Featured soloists for the recording are Jack Wilkins (tenor saxophone) and LaRue Nickelson (guitar). Also prominent though not in featured roles are Corey Christiansen (acoustic guitars), Rob Thomas (jazz violin), and Danny Gottlieb (drums). In addition, Owen used the members of the Jazz Surge big band (some of whom have been with him for over 15 years) as the core ensemble which he then surrounded with orchestral players – most of whom hail from the Florida Orchestra.

Watch for River Runs: A Concerto for Jazz Guitar, Saxophone, and Orchestra in April. To learn more about Chuck Owen’s career and hear some musical examples, go to, and to learn more about the jazz program at USF, visit the program’s webpage here. We would like to congratulate Mr. Owen on his receiving another Individual Artist Fellowship from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, and we look forward to working with him over the next year.

A Day in the Life: Ultra Runner Steve Wheeler

by Jennifer Hoesing

This Friday, ultra marathon runner and real estate broker Steve Wheeler will take to the streets in an effort to raise money for arts education. Wheeler’s “Art to Architecture” run will take him 110 miles non-stop from Altamonte Springs to the University of Florida (UF) Fine Arts Building in Gainesville. Donations and pledges supporting the challenge will benefit arts programs in the Seminole County Schools, the UF College of Fine Arts and the UF School of Architecture.

Steve Wheeler. Photo submitted and used by permission of Steve Wheeler.

What inspired the 110-mile challenge to support the arts?

Steve’s daughter, Leslie Wheeler, is a recent suma cum laude graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in architecture. “Her success may not have been possible without the exceptional teachers and art programs available through the Seminole County Schools,” Steve said in a media release. Leslie and Steve also added that the exceptional professors at the University of Florida were critical to Leslie’s achievements.

Leslie Wheeler. Photo submitted and used by permission of Steve Wheeler.

The run will follow the path of Leslie’s schools: Spring Lake Elementary, Teague Middle School, Lake Brantley High School and the University of Florida. One additional stop is planned for Bear Lake Elementary School, where Steve’s sons attend school.

Steve and I exchanged emails about the Division’s belief that Culture Builds Florida. Steve told me culture is vital to Florida’s future. “Great things come from creativity,” he said. “Look at Apple and Facebook. Becoming a creative thinker yields new milestones. Build culture or build prisons.”

For more information about his “Art to Architecture” run, contact Steve at

A Day in the Life: Brian Owens

submitted by Brian R. Owens

Last November we featured Mr. Owens’ sculpture, the St. Augustine Foot Soldiers Monument. In today’s post, Mr. Owens shares details about a typical day in his life as a working sculptor. 

8:00 AM
The first thing I see when I open my eyes is a pile of art supplies. Eight o’clock is early for me. I’m not really awake. Carefully, I follow a path to my computer to play some upbeat light classical music that I found online. For me, music is like coffee. While my primary studio is in my home, the place only resembles a home from the outside. Inside, it would be a proper studio were it not for my current sculpture project that has transformed the studio into an unbelievable mess. This arrangement works for me but it’s easier to start working on art if I leave home and come back. I think it changes the chemistry of my brain.

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
I start the day by re-drawing my concept for a sculpture commission that I’m competing for over coffee at a local cafe. I’ll continue this daily ritual until I’ve developed a composition I’m happy with. Naturally, I look outside myself for ideas and inspiration but I don’t wait to feel inspired before I put pen to paper. For me, habit succeeds over inspiration. Leonard Cohen said it best: “as a writer, you have to show up and go to work everyday. But you do so knowing that today it may not come … that you are not in command of this enterprise.” Today it came. I return home with a coffee in one hand and some good drawings in the other.

10:30 AM – 3:00 PM
Like most artists I know, I push myself hard. But I was unprepared for the level of sustained effort that goes into marketing and self-promotion. It’s 3 o’clock already and all I’ve done is move paper around. On average, I spend nearly half of my time doing this; a sobering statistic that I try not to think about. In a perfect world, I would have a spouse handle marketing and act as the central nervous system of this enterprise. I would also like to work in a castle overlooking the ocean, sculpt entirely from life and be loved by all. I’m not holding my breath.

5:00 PM – whenever
It’s five o’clock. Now the fun begins as I shift gears and continue work on my current sculpture commission. This one is paying the bills. Happily, I’m done with tasks that involve getting up early and working in daylight such as welding. For the next few weeks, I get to ignore the clock, work late into the night until exhaustion or collapse and wake up whenever I want, as is my custom. The plan is to apply clay to the armature I just completed. I’ve been looking forward to this part and to nightfall. With darkness comes tranquility. I enjoy company but I’m at my best when the rest of my world is asleep. The schedule requires that I accelerate progress and that’s fine, because the foundation of the sculpture is correct. One gentle, forward push of the throttle is all it will take now. The night-time is the right time.

A Day in the Life: Glenn Lochrie of Glenn Lochrie Fine Art

by Jennifer Hoesing

Today’s Day in the Life feature showcases Glenn Lochrie, a fine art dealer and member of the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. Read on to learn about Glenn’s career in the arts, his involvement in his community and follow the link to his outstanding guide to Art Basel Miami Beach.

Glenn Lochrie, a fourth generation South Floridian from Fort Lauderdale, has spent his life promoting and participating in the arts.  For over 15 years he has been selling, appraising and judging fine art created by Floridians and has represented close to 60 Florida artists.  Glenn opened two award winning fine art galleries in Broward County that focused exclusively on the artists of Florida from 1850 to present. Glenn Lochrie Fine Art is currently previewing a collection of work by Miami’s own Purvis Young (1943 – 2010).

In addition to Mr. Young, Glenn’s favorite artists include A.E. Backus (mentor to the Florida Highwaymen), Skot Olsen, Todd Schorr, Mark Ryden, Andy Goldsworthy and Rembrandt.

Glenn Lochrie with Purvis Young. Image courtesy of Glenn Lochrie Fine Art.

“I have been involved in the arts in some form or another since I was a little boy.  I love Florida and spend most of my time promoting or enjoying our unique resources,” Glenn told me. “I believe the art business community is still a largely untapped resource and with the proper synergy [arts and culture] can find some new partners moving forward.”

Glenn has designed a young collectors program to introduce Florida’s young professionals to art collecting, and has given many lectures throughout the state on building a Florida art collection.  Working with local organizations in his community (including Art Serve and the Broward Art Guild), Glenn has judged art competitions and sponsored local art events and charities.  As a volunteer he helped organize an innovative art program and fundraising auction for the historic Bonnet House of Fort Lauderdale.

In his arts job, Glenn continues as an art consultant for his many clients and maintains an art gallery website; in 2010 he started a blog focusing on the arts in Florida that already has been read by people in over 134 countries.  Glenn is committed to increasing awareness and support of the unique cultural resources of Florida.

Glenn has shared the link to his annual guide to Art Basel, highlighting some of the events he plans to visit (along with some tasty treats along the way). Follow the link to learn more about the event that Glenn says makes Miami “for one week at least, the art capital of the world.”

A Day in the Life: Don Gruel and Noel Holland of Atlantic Coast Theatre

by Don Gruel and Noel Holland as told to Jennifer Hoesing

A Day in the Life will focus on careers and jobs in arts and culture. Our first post in this series features Don Gruel and Noel Holland of Atlantic Coast Theatre for Youth (ACT). Don and Noel tour with Atlantic Coast Theatre and are part of the Division of Cultural Affairs’ Florida Arts on Tour roster.

Don and Noel, a husband and wife team, founded ACT in 1999.  Since its inception, ACT has served more than half a million audience members with 1,800 performances in 17 states. ACT is a professional theatre company, and Don and Noel earn their living performing.

ACT recently performed new show, SHERLOCK HOLMES & THE OPERA MYSTERY for students in the Destin/Ft. Walton area, presented by the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. Here’s “A Day in the Life” with ACT during their trip.

Every good tour day starts with a good cup of coffee – the stronger, the betterI Noel and our “tour manager” Dijon take in the morning air at Henderson Beach State Park.

We make the drive to Destin Elementary, our first school for the day.  We’ve been here many times before, so we know which spot we can squeeze the RV into so it is out of the way of the busses.  The SHERLOCK HOLMES show has a lot of stuff to it.  Backdrop set pieces, set furniture, sound equipment, props, costumes and a violin.

No tour day is complete without having to fix something.  Today it happens to be the tire on our folding cart.

Consistently we make it our goal to design a one-cart show.  It doesn’t always work out, but we seem to have gotten lucky with this one.  Don will likely change “the pack” repeatedly over the run of the show to try to get the best possible use of space!

Every performance space is different.  We are lucky to have a great stage here at Destin Elementary with full curtains and lights.

Here’s the front view of the set at Destin Elementary.  This background shows large pages of the Sherlock Holmes books.  We’ve heard many kids commenting about how big the books are and how much they like it while we wait backstage to begin.

Here’s Noel getting into makeup in preparation for her two roles in the show.  First, he beautiful American opera singer, Irene Adler:

…and the charming Mr. Hinkleton who is arrested by Sherlock Holmes in our “James Bond” opening.

Our dressing room and makeup mirror are a bit different from a standard theatre.  Every day is different and we adapt to our space.  The folded chorus risers make great prop tables.

Noel has time to snap a picture backstage during the show after her costume change.  On the other side of the set, Don is investigating the mystery in front of around 400 students.  Sherlock Holmes always has his partner, Watson, with him.  Watson is picked from the audience every day. It’s so much fun for the kids to see their classmate onstage in a bowler hat!

After a great first show, Don deals with business end of things.   We take calls and emails throughout every tour day.  It can sometimes be a challenge to wear all the hats: we are actors, playwrights, accountants, composers, business managers, costume designers, mechanics and truck drivers all in one.

We grab lunch on the road and head for our second show at Bluewater Elementary School.  It’s a long way to the cafetorium from the parking lot, but the kids are always fantastic at this school.

Our sets are flexible to just about any performance space.  We can make things larger or smaller depending on our needs.  The stage at Bluewater is pretty wide, so Noel is making adjustments.

The set is up on the Bluewater stage.  We are now waiting for 400 third, fourth and fifth graders to file in and watch the mystery unfold.

After 18 years of working in touring theatre, Don has acquired the ability to sleep on any backstage surface – wood, tile, concrete, you name it. Here he is grabbing a little bit of rest before the show.

This show was terrific. We had great feedback afterwards from the audience during our question & answer. Students always want to know if Noel is really singing of The Habanera from Carmen. It is!

Well, you can’t control the weather. Remember how it was a really long way back to the RV in the parking lot? Seems even further in a torrential downpour!

We have covered up the set and sound gear.  We are rarely at campground long enough to use the awning, but it comes in handy for rainy load-outs more than once.

The gear stayed mostly dry while the actor did not.  Don got soaked.

Here’s perhaps the greater invention ever for our theatre company – GPS.  Sometimes you have outsmart it, but it still is quite helpful. This time the GPS did say “recalculating, recalculating, please drive to highlighted route” five times in a row on this drive.

Lovely thing about Florida weather: it is dry and sunny again a few minutes after we arrive back at Henderson Beach State Park, which makes us and the “tour manager” very happy. We’ll rest up tonight and do it all again tomorrow, ending with a drive to New Orleans for shows on Monday.

Life on the road can be challenging, but it is also incredibly rewarding. We are extremely fortunate to be able to make a living doing what we love together and bringing the arts to children in Florida and beyond!