Flagler County Cultural Council Set To Unite More Than 50 Arts Groups

The new Flagler County Cultural Council (FC3) will be an umbrella organization uniting more than 50 arts and cultural groups and helping to secure grants and promote arts and culture in the county.
At an introductory meeting Feb. 22 at the African American Cultural Society, Ed Siarkowicz said that while the organization will act as a community umbrella, it will be an inverted one, acting not as a blocker, overshadowing local organizations, but as a collector.
“We will make everyone else shine,” said Siarkowicz. “We will be supportive in nature.”
Siarkowicz is one of five members on the council’s board of directors, serving as secretary. The others are chair Richard Hamilton; treasurer Meshella Woods; Elaine Studnicki, director of history and humanities; and Bettie Eubanks, director of fine arts and culture. Debra Naughton is the council’s liaison with the Flagler County Tourist Development Council.
The council, which uses the abbreviation FC3, has filed with the IRS as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation to act as the sole arts agency for Flagler County. It has support from the county commission.
“We will make everyone else shine. We will be supportive in nature.”
According to its promotional material, the council will be able to seek funds not easily available to individual organizations. It will engage in advocacy and education for the arts and humanities. It will create and organize new events and support established events. Working with the Tourist Development Council, the FC3 will promote cultural tourism.
Hamilton said the council has four constituencies: performance arts, visual arts, cultural heritage and history. The board members represent all four constituencies.
He said the board has met with the 50-plus arts and cultural groups to garner support.
“We talked to every one of them,” Hamilton said. “We solicited their opinions, where we’re going, what are the next steps.”
Hamilton said nearly all of the organizations were on board.
“A few said, ‘We’ll wait and see. We’ve seen other organizations come and go.’ But we wouldn’t be where we are without that implied support,” Hamilton said.
The council brought in two speakers for the meeting. Danila Coppola of the Florida Division of Arts and Culture explained how local arts agencies are able to secure state grants to invest in arts and culture. Jaye Baillie, the executive director of Marion County’s local arts agency, said FC3 is starting up the right way.
“It’s so much fun watching the birthing of an organization that supports the arts,” Baillie said.
The council gave everyone who attended the meeting a survey card, asking questions, such as:
“What do you consider to be the most important issues relating to culture and arts in our community?”
“What might artists and cultural organizations do to make ours a more livable, prosperous community?”
The Council also presented membership tiers costing as little as $20 for a student friend membership and $100 to $200 for full memberships.
There were several local organizations represented at the meeting. Historic enactors were in attendance. Kathy Reichard-Ellavsky, Theresa Owen and Gail Palmer were dressed as 1920s-era suffragists. Reichard-Ellavsky was representing Alice Scott Abbott, a suffragist from Bunnell.
The three women representing the American Association of University Women are raising money along with the Flagler County Historical Society to purchase the 1916 Seventh Day Adventist Church building in Espanola, move it back to its original location in Bunnell and turn it into a Florida Women’s Voting Rights Museum.