PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Making a living as an artist was challenging enough before the pandemic, but with galleries and performance halls being shut down for months, it’s been almost impossible.
That is why Pinellas County is making sure the federal money from the CARES Act is getting into the hands of our most creative yet also most vulnerable.
St. Pete artist Ari Robinson specializes in installation and collage work, but most of that was put on hold in 2020. She is very thankful for this grant money.
“I do abstract art, very vibrant, very colorful,” said Robinson.
The Tampa Bay native just had her first baby in January, not the best time for her business to come to a halt.
“In those first few months everything kind of stopped, galleries were used to showing our work but they had to close for a while,” said Robinson.
Like many artists in the county, Robinson heard about federal relief, but wasn’t sure how to apply. That’s when she connected with Creative Pinellas.
“It was hard not knowing when your next sale would be, so finding out about grant opportunities and finding those resources in your community were super super helpful,” said Robinson.
Creative Pinellas CEO Barbara St. Clair said they are in the process of awarding thousands of dollars to more than 100 local artists and they are looking to help even more.
“So if you earned $4,250 in 2019 doing your art, creating your art, performing your art, selling your art, and you were hurt by Covid-19, then you are most likely eligible for this grant,” said St. Clair.
St. Clair said artists are instrumental in making Pinellas County the international tourist destination its become and the county needs to do all they can to support them during a time of need.
“A lot of people don’t know that the creative industry in Pinellas County is responsible for about $1.8 billion and artists make up a big portion of that creative industry,” said St. Clair.
“So the money I’m getting from this grant will go back directly into my business to help buy supplies to make more artwork,” said Robinson.
For more information on how to apply for grant money go to Creativepinellas.org.
“I think a lot of artists might get scared and stop and think they don’t qualify but there is a phone number to call, people to help walk you through it,” said Robinson.
For more information on Ari Robinson go to arirobinsonart.com.