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Arts in a Supporting Role

Featured Photo from Arts in a Supporting Role

The Seminole Cultural Arts Council is preparing for another busy season. Find out how this group of art advocates is helping everyone in the county enrich their lives through the visual and performing arts.

Cultural arts groups across Seminole County are revving up for their 2016-17 seasons, and so is the nonprofit organization that serves and nurtures them.

The Seminole Cultural Arts Council (SCAC) helps local arts and cultural programs thrive through a two-pronged approach. Since 1995, the SCAC has been responsible for administering funds from sales of Florida State of the Arts license plates in the county. The specialty plates can be purchased at local tag agencies. The funds are used to support arts activities in Seminole, including visual, performing, and literary arts. State of the Arts tag money is distributed through a competitive grant process.

In addition to the license plate grants, the SCAC holds a couple of big fundraisers each year Hoooowl for the Arts in October and a golf tournament in February. Both events enable the council to sponsor numerous programs, including the St. Luke’s Lutheran Church Concert Series in Oviedo and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert at The Springs in Longwood.

“We’re here to facilitate the growth of the arts and the cultural events in Seminole County,” says Dr. Saulius Jankauskas, SCAC’s president. “Our job is also to try to be the hub of arts in Seminole County, supporting everyone.”

License plate grant recipients for the 2016-17 fiscal year will be announced at SCAC’s annual meeting on Tuesday, September 6. The maximum amount that can be awarded per recipient is $2,000. The meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center (WDPAC), at 201 South Magnolia Avenue in Sanford. Admission is free and open to the public. SCAC officials will review the 2015-16 fiscal year, look ahead to 2016-17, and install new board members and executive officers. Refreshments will be served, and cast members from WDPAC’s upcoming production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will entertain attendees.

After the annual meeting, SCAC officials will turn their attention to Hoooowl for the Arts, their signature event. The 10th annual Hoooowl will be held from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 29, at Heathrow Country Club. The gala’s theme is A Night of Hollywood Stars, and attendees are encouraged to wear costumes or black-tie attire. The evening will feature dining stations, a dessert table, original art, live and silent auctions, roulette and blackjack tables, a photo booth, raffles, dancing, and a cash bar. Tickets are $75 per person or $125 per couple.

At Hoooowl, the SCAC will present its 2016 heART for the Arts Award to Florida Hospital-Altamonte, for its continued support of art and culture in Seminole County. Since December 2010, the SCAC and Florida Hospital-Altamonte have partnered on an Art in Public Places program. Juried art shows, featuring the work of Central Florida artists, are displayed at the hospital’s Art of Healing Gallery on a quarterly basis. The next exhibit, You Are My Sunshine, opens Thursday, September 1.

Donna Bundy, SCAC’s executive director, says many of the programs that the council sponsors have something in common they serve children. For example, the SCAC gives $2,000 each year to the Steinway Society of Central Florida, which provides loaner pianos to disadvantaged youth.

“Getting a piano can change these kids’ lives,” Donna says.

The SCAC also sponsors The Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools Arts Alive event. And the council gives money to several outdoor art festivals for student scholarships and art awards.

The demographics served by the popular St. Luke’s Concert Series range from the very young to the very old. Now in its 23rd season, the series includes performances by the Orlando Philharmonic, the Brass Band of Central Florida, and the Orlando Concert Band. The concerts are free and open to the public.

Judy Duda, executive director of the series, is grateful for SCAC’s annual contribution of $2,000.

“Without it, we’d be hurting, because every dollar counts,” notes Judy, who was the first recipient of the council’s heART for the Arts award.

Donna and Dr. Jankauskas say it’s important for these programs to continue to flourish. One way to show support for the county’s cultural arts scene is to join the SCAC. Membership is $35 for seniors and students, $50 for individuals and “starving artists,” and $85 for couples and families. Memberships are also available at higher levels for nonprofit groups, small businesses, and corporations. Benefits of membership include one-time, buy-one-get-one tickets to the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center and Seminole State College’s theater and planetarium. Other perks include reserved seating at Seminole State concerts and a discount on original art purchases at Jeanine Taylor Folk Art in Sanford.

The Seminole Cultural Arts Council’s office is in the Historic Sanford Welcome Center at 230 East First Street. For details about membership or events, call 407-302-1099 or visit SeminoleCulturalArts.org.

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