By Kathy L. Collins

Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts (TBBCA) has issued a “A Call for Applicants” for its 2017 Charlie Hounchell Art Stars Scholarships Program. The program provides financial support to students who live in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties to help them pursue higher education in the arts.

Each year, $15,000 is awarded to juniors and seniors in the above-referenced counties. The scholarships are awarded based on merit and artistic ability in the fields of instrumental music, vocal music, theatre, dance, visual arts and literary arts. Qualified students may apply in one, more or all disciplines via separate applications.

Guidelines and the application for the 2017 Charlie Hounchel Art Stars Scholarship Program can be found at There is no fee to apply.

Completed application are due by Monday, February 20, 2017 and can be mailed to TBBCA at P.O. Box 559, Tampa, FL 33601. The winners will be announced in April. The TBBCA program is named in honor of TBBCA Past President, Charlie Hounchell. Since 2007, TBBCA has awarded 55 scholarships to area students. Past winners have attended prestigious institutions including The Juilliard School, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Savannah College of Art and Design, The University of South Florida and The University of Tampa.

Last year, two local students were awarded scholarships. Lillian Kraack of Lithia, graduated from Newsome High School. Kraack won for Vocal Music and now attends Oklahoma City University where she is majoring in musical theatre and vocal performance. In addition to Kraack, Sabrina Downing of Valrico received a scholarship for dance. She is a graduate of Howard W. Blake High School and is now pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance and a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary natural sciences at the University of South Florida.

TBBCA is a non-profit 501(c )(3). For over 27 years, TBBCA has united businesses in support of arts education, and culture and the arts in our community. The organization is based on the philosophy that “the arts are good for business, and business is good for the arts.”

For information, contact TBBCA Executive Director, Susana Weymouth at

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