By restructuring the Arts Council of Hillsborough County from an independent special district to a division of the county government, the Arts Council will be able to provide more efficient use of resources in supporting the performing and visual arts in Hillsborough County.

The Arts Council of Hillsborough County is now officially an Arts Council division under Hillsborough County government and an advisory body to the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. The Arts Council of Hillsborough County was formed in 1967 as an independent special district and was a governmental designation separate from the Board of County Commissioners.

In its new role as a division of Hillsborough County government, the Arts Council will have more opportunities for integrating its existing community building strategy with economic development and other county initiatives. Additionally, the Arts Council will be able to utilize the resources provided by various county departments to provide a more robust programmatic impact.

According to Executive Director Martine Collier, “This transition provides opportunities for greater consolidation and collaboration. As a division of county government, the Arts Council will be able to group strategically with economic development, redevelopment, workforce development, tourist promotions and the Entrepreneurial Collaborative Center, as well as all the cultural and performing arts programs funded by the county.”

Collier added, “The core programs of the Arts Council will remain the same, but this new structure will make it possible going forward to more easily expand and enhance programmatic offerings.”

Collier explained, “Previously, the Arts Council had a limited capacity to step into a broader role of champion, collaborator and facilitator in the effort to broaden the scope and outcomes associated with the cultural economy. Working within the county, the Arts Council is now more effectively positioned to identify unmet community needs relative to arts and culture and to establish strategies to fill the gaps.”

Local arts agencies like the Arts Council provide a wide array of services to support the creative economy and arts and culture ecosystem. In doing so, they play a key role in uniting and connecting with local partners to address community needs and make their communities more healthy, vibrant and equitable.

The Arts Council will provide key services, including providing workshops for organizations and artists. It will award grants to artists and organizations that offer accessibility to the arts and culture throughout the county. It will publish an annual Guide to Arts and Culture and manage an online calendar. It will also serve as a clearinghouse for arts opportunities.

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