St. Petersburg Arts Alliance reveals grant recipients

Visual artist Tiffany Elliot is one of four artists awarded a $5,000 grant each.


ST. PETERSBURG — In its ninth year, the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance (SPAA) awarded four artists a $5,000 grant each!

SPAA partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs to establish an Individual Artist Grant Program in 2015, and in 2023, they increased the grant funding from $1,000 to $5,000. This allowed each grantee the freedom to create without the additional burden of seeking matching funds or reducing the scope of their project, which could limit the potential of their imagination and the end results.

This year’s grant recipients include a wide array of artists and projects elevated through this grant in the visual, literary, performance, and multi-media arts. The scope and reach of each project are more extensive due to what can be accomplished with more funding. This means more significant professional development opportunities for the artists, but more importantly, more profound and broader community impact.

These citizen artists aim to uplift and connect community members using their work. There were also extensive collaborations in these projects, with artists working with local nonprofits, community leaders, and additional artists to bring their projects to life.

Visual artist Tiffany Elliot is one such artist. She will produce a collaborative gallery show through the Justice Studio art program presented by NOMADstudio, using jewelry as a medium to create personal adornments with students inside Pinellas Juvenile Detention Center. This project will give detained youth meaningful opportunities for creative freedom, expression, learning, and growth.

Throughout December, Elliot will display the polymer and metal jewelry pieces at the Justice Studio, where students can resonate with the work they helped create. The display will show how the children’s creations can be transformed into sellable items.

“I seek to inspire them to find creative paths upon their release as a form of well-being and as a potential career option,” said Elliot.

Within Elliot’s research, she states that there are many reports on the benefits of the arts in engaging individuals in prisons within the criminal justice literature. Programs have included art projects for juvenile offenders with complex mental health symptoms or behavioral regulation difficulties, with reported improvements in such difficulties and increases in academic performance and family functioning.

Elliott, a GIA Diamonds Graduate and jeweler, is best known for incorporating baroque minimalism into her collections inspired by history, culture, and places across the globe. Her recent work of custom grillz showcased her commitment to pushing the boundaries and refining her skills by creating intricate designs that cover the smalls of the teeth.

Devoted to inspiring and aiding in the benefits of creative freedom, Elliot facilitates jewelry workshops with community members residing in underserved areas. She wants her artwork to be visually pleasing and impact communities via social engagement.

Other recipients include Tricia Lynn Bush (multi-media arts), Sheila Cowley (literary & performing arts) and Polita Glynn (multi-media arts).

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