Apply Now: Creative Pinellas ArtsCatalyst Grant pays for summer arts camp tuition

By J.A. Jones, Staff Writer

PINELLAS COUNTY – If you’ve got a budding dancer, actor, musician, poet or filmmaker in your home and have started budgeting for their summer vacation, the Creative Pinellas ArtsCatalyst Grant may save you some money over the next few months.

The new grant pays for camp tuition at a wide variety of Pinellas County community and arts centers, museums and city parks and recreation programs. Creative Pinellas plans to provide awards to anywhere between 200 to 300 children and families.

Bookstore owner Lorielle Holloway was very pleased with the opportunities the grant will provide for her two daughters, Nadia, 9, and Ava, 7, this summer.

“My daughters love everything arts, so normally I try to apply for scholarships and then work with [the camp providers] to make payments,” stated Holloway, describing the financial challenge of having to pay for her daughters’ summer camps.

“So, it’s really nice that with the ArtsCatalyst Grant, if you qualify, it just covers it all,” Holloway added, expressing relief at not having to “stress making payments.” The ArtsCatalyst Grant will completely cover the tuition for the one-week camps Holloway’s children will be going to, which cost $225 to $250 a week.

Nadia will be going to the Dali Museum’s Junior Docent camp to learn about art and how curators choose work and place them. Her daughter Ava, who she described as a “jokester” will be going to the American Stage “Make ‘Em Laugh” summer camp for acting and comedic skills.

The arts agency lists an abundance of organizations that provide arts-related summer camps that the grant can be used to pay for, including camps at American Stage Theatre, Arts Conservatory for Teens, Creative Clay, Dali Museum, Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay, Great Explorations and Keep St. Pete Lit.

Additional eligible camps are being held at YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg,  Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg City Theatre, Largo Central Park Performing Arts Center, Largo Recreation Summer Camps, Lealman and Asian Neighborhood Family Center, Ruth Eckerd Hall, SunScreen Film Festival and other locations (visit creativepinellas.org/artscatalyst for a full list camp options).

Camp programs range from being one week to even nine weeks long.

Creative Pinellas’ website makes the process for applying sound easy enough: you can apply online at creativepinellas.org/artscatalyst, get a paper application by emailing summercamp@creativepinellas.org or by calling 727-582-3600.

The next step is to meet the eligibility requirements — scholarships are generally available to Pinellas County residents who answer “yes” to any of the following:

  • Receive a free or reduced-cost school lunch
  • Attend a school that is either “transitional” or “transformational” according to the Pinellas County School Board
  • Attend a Title I school
  • Live in a foster or group home
  • Are in the custody of the Department of Children and Families
  • Receive financial hardship tuition or scholarship
  • Live in East Tarpon Springs, North Greenwood, Highpoint, Lealman corridor or south St. Pete

Then, select a qualified summer camp from the list of choices, complete the application and wait to receive notification that your application has been accepted and the grant has been awarded. After you complete the registration at the camp of your choice and notify Creative Pinellas, they’ll take care of the rest.

Barbara St. Clair, executive director of Creative Pinellas, shared, “With this grant, we were really looking for a way to get more funds for the arts out into the community — in the most broad and high-impact way possible — and to really make a difference in young people’s lives.”

St. Clair believes that the process of letting parents and children choose the camp they want to go to while Creative Pinellas pays the camp providers, allows the arts agency to serve more people, support more organizations and “make camp and the arts more accessible to all, which is one of our key areas of focus as an organization.”

As the county’s local arts agency, Creative Pinellas programs are funded by the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and by sales of the State of the Arts specialty license plate in Pinellas County.

For more information about the ArtsCatalyst Grant, go to creativepinellas.org/artscatalyst or email summercamps@creativepinellas.org.

To reach J.A. Jones, email jjones@theweeklychallenger.com

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