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Mission Statement
Cultivating an environment for the arts to flourish through Advocacy, Collaboration, Economic Development, Education and Promotion.

Polk Arts Alliance (PAA) is the designated Local Arts Agency (LAA) for Polk County.  As such, PAA advocates for all the Cultural Arts Organizations in Polk County and promotes the impact of the Cultural Arts Sector as integral to the quality-of-life in our county.

Polk Arts Alliance actively represents Polk County’s arts and cultural interests to agencies, governments, chambers of commerce and the business community on a national, state and local level.

Polk Arts Alliance markets Polk County as a “Destination for the Arts.”


Advocacy – The Polk Arts Alliance is the advocacy agency representing the Cultural Arts Council of over 40 non-profit arts organizations that are dues paying members. To have a collective voice on local and state matters of the arts, the Council created the Alliance over 10 years ago. In 2010 PAA began an advocacy campaign to reinstate the original dedicated line item of 15% of the first two pennies of the bed tax that was voted in by the public in 1986 and removed several years later. In the fall of 2012 the Polk Arts Alliance and the Cultural Arts Council were successful in this endeavor and the 15% of the first two penny bed tax was reinstated into the county ordinance 86-27 by the Board of County Commissioners. For the first time in Polk County a grants program to distribute these dedicated funds to the arts is in process.

Polk County represents the Polk County Cultural Arts Sector:


National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) – PAA is the lead organization for the NEA/HUD OurTown Grants to municipalities interested in community sustainability and redevelopment that includes a cultural arts component.

Americans for the Arts – Washington DC and NYC – Partnership Movement Partner and PAA is a representative on the Business Committee for the Arts.

State of Florida

Florida Division of Cultural Affairs – Represents Polk County at the annual Arts Day in Tallahassee. Representing the arts in education and the creative industries sector with state legislators and the Governor’s office.

Florida Association of Local Arts Agencies and the Florida Cultural Alliance.
Florida Citizens for the Arts – The State advocacy committee appointed by the Governor.

Florida Alliance for Arts Education –Representing Arts in Education and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS and Math), now a state and national level initiative.

Florida Chamber – 6 Pillars Caucus Representative on the Quality-of-Life.

United Arts of Central Florida – A.L.I.G.N. the collective group of arts agencies in 7 counties who meet quarterly on state and local arts and education initiatives.

Polk County

Cultural Arts Council – PAA advocates for Polk’s nonprofit arts organizations, arts education in K-12, colleges and universities, fosters collaboration and facilitates scheduling among arts organizations.

County and municipalities, chambers of commerce, Central Florida Development Council, Central Florida Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing. PAA shares arts funding opportunities, deadlines and information with arts organizations and artists.

Kids 5th Tag Art – Program of the Polk County Tax Collectors Office.

Lakeland Mayor’s Council on the Arts – Cultural Arts Task Force

Polk Vision – Quality of Life Task Force

Southwest Regional Planning Council – Represents the Cultural Arts Council and Polk County.

Community Outreach – Provides capacity building and arts advocacy support to arts organizations and the community-at-large, including:

Workshops on board governance, event fundraising, grant writing, arts management and other topics.

Building partnerships that promote the arts and arts education, artists connections and collaborative grant opportunities.

Letters of support needed by arts organizations for grants to the NEA, Americans for the Arts, State and local governments and foundations.

Marketing & Public Relations – Provides marketing, public relations and promotion of Polk’s arts and cultural resources:

October 2011, PAA launched the inaugural Heart of the Arts Month (LOGO) showcasing all of Polk County’s arts and cultural offerings to coincide with Americans for the Arts, National Arts & Humanities Month.

Highlights cultural arts assets and is promoting Polk’s image as a “Destination of the Arts.” web site that provides up-to-date events and exhibition listings for Polk County Arts.  Social Media for the Arts including partnership links to County agencies and Tourism, Visit Central Florida, advocacy links, etc.  Art-i-facts Magazine online in its entirety with up-to-date event and exhibit schedules, Cultural Arts Council member listings and information.

Artifacts Magazine –Publisher of Art-i-facts Magazine the only county magazine dedicated to and promoting the cultural arts sector.

Economic Development – Quality of Life and the Creative Industries Sector

Economic Impact of the Arts -PAA collaborated with USF on economic impact studies of the arts in Polk in 2005. The 2005 study set the economic impact of the arts in Polk at $48 Million, not including Sun n’ Fun which contributed an additional impact of $23 million.

PAA participated in the 2010 Creative Industries Study done by Americans for the Arts.

As of January 2010, Polk County, FL is home to 797 arts-related businesses that employ 2,317 people. These arts-centric businesses play an important role in building and sustaining economic vibrancy.

Education – PAA focuses on the importance of the arts in education. One of our top priorities is promoting every opportunity to support all levels of arts education from K-12, colleges and universities, and life-long learning experiences to enlighten our representatives as to the impact on our students on all levels.

PAA collaborates with the K-12 schools and educators on the STEAM initiative.

PAA highlights the incredible talent within our schools, teachers and communities. Most often, we serve as the liaison between arts organizations and artists and the district by promoting arts programming through the county to area youth.

PAA partners with Florida Alliance for Arts Education on the State Arts and Education initiatives.

Funding – Although the Polk Arts Alliance is the designated Arts Agency promoting and advocating for the arts for Polk County we are not a county agency. PAA is a non-profit membership organization that applies to our county and Tourism offices on a yearly basis for assistance in operations, marketing and publications and relies on support from grants, membership and sponsorships.

NEA, Americans for the Arts and the state to leverage additional funding resources to work in tandem with what the county provides to our organization.

PAA receives $3,745 per issue of Artifacts Magazine from TDC to help with printing costs of approximately $11,000.

PAA is the local arts agency for promotion of the State of the Arts specialty license plate and recipient of the arts license plate revenue for Polk County*. The money received is used to defray printing costs of Art-i-facts Magazine as a benefit to the Cultural Arts Council – 2010 fees collected were $9,785 total.

*The Polk Arts Alliance is the official Cultural Arts Organization for Polk County, representing the Cultural Arts Council in Polk County.

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