AVON PARK, Fla. – June 1, 2020 – South Florida State College’s Cultural Programs Department was recently awarded a $10,000 grant through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) initiative called Grants for Arts Projects.

According to the NEA, Grants for Arts Projects supports “artistically excellent projects that celebrate our creativity and cultural heritage, invite mutual respect for differing beliefs and values, and enrich humanity.”

Cindy Garren, director of Cultural Programs, indicated that the grant was written to focus on local residents. “A lot of performances are available in our community December to March, but not a lot during the summer months. We need to focus on local residents—the people who live here year-round.” Garren would like to hold two free performances next fall and two the following spring.

“A large part of our community is not served by the arts,” Garren said. “We would bring in diverse Florida artists and offer free performances. I’m talking to an African-American steel band from Miami—Lee Boys—and a dance company from India that’s based in Tampa. We can also show films through this grant.”

Garren said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering performances is difficult. But she has a plan—she would like to stage outdoor performances on the Highlands Campus in Avon Park. “We would be able to accommodate social distancing—we have lots of outdoor spaces, and we have plenty of parking.”

“This grant will enable SFSC Performing Arts to bring non-traditional artists that reflect the cultural diversity of our community to our stage with free performances and workshops,” Garren said. “It’s our effort to provide arts for all and reach out to outstanding artists that speak to other cultures, art forms, and viewpoints. These performances will be some of the most interesting and exciting of the season.”