Cultural Quarterly
Fall 2008
Volume XXI, Number 4
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Arts News
  First Micro Credit Loans
  Creative Industries Hold Their Own
  Cultural Division Wins Three National Awards
  Free Night of Theater
  Broward's Most Endangered Historic Sites
  Florida Center for the Book Receives
‘Big Read’ Grant
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Micro Credit Program

Sandra Robinson and LeeAnna Yater Receive First Micro Credit Loans
The Broward Cultural Division and the South Florida Regional Planning Council (SFRPC) have named the first two recipients in the Artist Micro Credit Program. Sandra Robinson and LeeAnna Yater will each receive a $5,000 loan to build their respective artistic businesses.

The Artist Micro Credit Program is a revolving loan program created to assist with a broad range of artists’ creative endeavors, such as purchasing equipment, completing a project or taking advantage of an opportunity. Designed to assist Broward-based practicing professional artists of all disciplines in advancing their careers, these loans may help with projects that are not able to be funded from conventional sources. On a funds-available basis, the program can provide up to $5,000. A component of the program is business training provided through the Artists as an Entrepreneur Institute.

Robinson intends to use her loan to assist with the launch of Saje Robinson Collection Inc. – “Wearable Art” Designer T-shirts for women and men – located at 300 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Suite # 278 in Fort Lauderdale.  She plans to create a new line of “high-end” designed t-shirts.  Robinson has more than 25 years of experience in the fashion and apparel industry. She holds an associate of arts degree in fashion design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.

Yater will use the loan to advance her career by exhibiting her artwork at the Art Fusion Gallery and on the Art Fusion Gallery website for one year.  Yater is a successful independent freelance artist  who makes bold, contemporary fabric and clay artwork. She has exhibited her work in galleries and museums throughout the United States and is in private and public collections throughout the U.S. and Europe.

For additional information about the Artist Micro Credit Program, contact Cheryl Cook, economic development specialist, SFRPC, 954-985-4416; or James Shermer, grants administrator, Broward Cultural Division, 954-357-7502 or by e-mail:

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Despite the Economic Downturn, Broward County’s
Creative Industries Hold Their Own

The recent release of Americans for the Arts’ 2008 Creative Industries Report offered some rare good news for Broward County amidst today’s economic uncertainty.  The report, which utilizes a research-based approach to promote understanding of the scope and economic importance of the arts, showed that Broward County is home to 4,655 arts-related businesses that employ 20,500 people. These figures represent a 12-percent increase in arts-related business and employees in Broward County compared to the 2007 statistics.

In the face of the current economic downturn, the Broward Cultural Division was pleased to learn that

Americans for the Arts
Americans for the Arts

the Creative Industries are a growing within our local economy. The Broward County statistics reflect a global trend suggesting that creative businesses will expand to support the knowledge-based economy. It shows that arts and culture have a much-needed place in any growing community.

The creative industries comprise museums and collections; performing arts; visual arts/photography; film, radio and TV; design and publishing; arts schools and related services. These arts-centric businesses play an important role in building and sustaining economic vibrancy. They employ people, spend money locally, generate government revenue and are a cornerstone of tourism.

Nationally, there are more than 600,000 businesses involved in the creation or distribution of the arts that employ more than 2.5 million people. The source for this information is Dun & Bradstreet, the most comprehensive and trusted source for business information in the U.S. Businesses that comprise the creative industries are growing at a faster pace than other companies among the 14.3 million businesses tracked by Dun and Bradstreet.

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Broward County Cultural Division Wins Three National Awards
The Broward Cultural Division is the proud recipient of three awards from the National Association of County Information Officers (NACIO) for marketing projects that show expertise in communications.  The award-winning programs include:

  • Cultural Quarterly, fine arts magazine – Superior
  • Culturally Speaking, arts and culture column in Go Riverwalk Magazine – Excellent
  • Arts Teacher of the Year invitation and program – Meritorious

A free service of the Broward County Commission, Cultural Quarterly provides in-depth articles on the local cultural scene, featuring profiles of exceptional artists and detailed listings of events and attractions. The Culturally Speaking column is a monthly article that features Broward County cultural organizations and/or Cultural Division programs within the downtown core, while the Arts Teacher of the Year program plays a pivotal role by honoring a Broward County arts teacher annually in a gala event at Broward Center for the Performing Arts Center. The invitation and program for this event play a key role in capturing the essence and sophistication of this program.

NACIO was formed in 1966. Members strive to create a better understanding of the duties of county government and to improve the communication skills of NACIO members and all other county officials.

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South Florida Joins in ‘Free Night of Theater’ Program
South Floridians had the opportunity to attend a free night of live theater on October 16. Theaters from West Palm Beach to Coral Gables opened their doors for “Free Night of Theater’ with performances ranging from large-scale musicals to American classics to world premieres, said Theatre League of South Florida (TLSF) President Meredith Lasher. 

TLSF coordinated the October 16 event in South Florida. "The Theatre League is proud to participate in this proven program that is a nationwide effort to introduce new audiences to theater," Lasher added. 

The Theatre Communications Group (TCG) – a national organization which promotes theater –conceived Free Night of Theater at its national conference in 2003 as a way to remove perceived barriers that have historically prevented audiences from attending not-for-profit theater. An estimated 80 per cent of last year’s attendees were first-time theatergoers. Recent attendance data gathered by Shugoll Research reports that over 33% of last year’s first-time theatergoers purchased tickets to another performance following their Free Night experience. 

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Three County Locations Listed Among Florida Trust’s
11 Most Endangered Historic Sites

When the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation announced its 2008 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites list at the annual statewide preservation conference in Pensacola earlier this year, three Broward County locations were among those identified.  The locations – and the reasons they are endangered, according to the Florida Trust – included:

Bonnet House, Fort Lauderdale

Bonnet House, Fort Lauderdale American artist Frederic Clay Bartlett designed and built Bonnet House in the 1920s as a winter retreat for the Birch Bartlett families. His wife Evelyn Fortune Bartlett was also an artist.  The home is the only home and studio of two recognized American artists with original furnishings that is open to the public. Bonnet House is a unique Florida treasure and its 35 acres of pristine barrier island ecosystem figure prominently in the City of Fort Lauderdale's Comprehensive Plan. In the past, inappropriate developments that would negatively impact Bonnet House were rejected by the city’s governing agencies, but that is beginning to change. An astonishingly high amount of intense, intrusive development is advancing closer and closer to Bonnet House, demonstrating the need for stronger protection of the historic site.

Great Southern Hotel

Great Southern Hotel, Hollywood
– The hotel is one of only two remaining commercial buildings that were built by the founder and developer of Hollywood, Joseph Young. It is part of the Hollywood Historic National Register District, the only such district in Broward County. Current plans are only saving a mere 10 percent of the building, with a 20-story high rise to be built behind the façade. There has been no change to the proposed development plans since the Florida Trust listed the Great Southern Hotel on the 2005 11 Most Endangered List.

Stranahan House
Stranahan Trading Post
and Camp Site, Fort Lauderdale

Stranahan Trading Post and Camp Site, Fort Lauderdale – The site, located next to the Stranahan House in Fort Lauderdale, was the first point of contact where the Seminole Indians and other travelers gathered to exchange goods and services. While the Stranahan House is not threatened, a 42-story condominium project is proposed for the significant archaeological site next door.

The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, a non-profit organization with more than 1,700 members, is the statewide partner to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Its mission is to promote the preservation of Florida’s unique cultural, historical and architectural resources.

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Florida Center for the Book
Florida Center
for the Book

Florida Center for the Book Receives ‘Big Read’ Grant
The Florida Center for the Book at Broward County Library has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to host “The Big Read” in Broward County. It is one of 208 libraries, municipalities, and arts, culture, higher education and science organizations to receive a grant to host The Big Read from September 2008-June 2009.

The Big Read gives communities the opportunity to come together to read, discuss and celebrate one of 23 selections from American and world literature. The Big Read in Broward County will focus on The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Activities will take place in spring 2009.

“It is an honor to once again be a part of The Big Read,” says Robert E. Cannon, Broward County Library director. “The Big Read emphasizes the value of community literacy as well as the importance of reading for people of all ages. We welcome the opportunity to involve Broward County Library in The Big Read, as it provides yet another opportunity for our library to touch the lives of our community through books and reading.”

Recipient organizations will receive Big Read grants ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 to promote and carry out community-based reading programs featuring activities such as read-a-thons, book discussions, lectures, movie screenings and performing arts events. Participating communities also receive high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement each title, including reader’s, teacher’s and audio guides.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. Support for The Big Read is provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For more information about The Big Read please visit

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Nilda Comas
Nilda Comas

Fort Lauderdale sculptor Nilda Comas, who was profiled in the spring edition of Cultural Quarterly, has been elected as a Sculptor Member of the National Sculpture Society.  Over the last several years, Nilda has received a bronze medal and the Agopoff Memorial prize twice from the National Sculpture Society at different exhibitions.  The National Sculpture Society is the oldest organization of professional sculptors in the United States. Leading U.S. sculptors and architects founded the NSS in the 19th century to "spread the knowledge of good sculpture.” Today, NSS continues to encourage excellence in sculpture throughout the United States.  To read the profile of Nilda Comas, Click Here.

Mary Becht
Mary Becht

Mary Becht
, director of the Broward County Cultural Division, was among eight local community leaders who received the Broward Alliance’s annual economic development leadership awards in September.  Becht was honored for her role in VisionBROWARD Collaboration. The Broward Alliance ( is Broward County's official public/private partnership for economic development.  Its mission is to lead Broward County in building a stronger and more diverse economy by stimulating the creation of new jobs and capital investment while facilitating the growth and retention of businesses in Broward County. 



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