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Five Northeast Florida Artists Receive Grants from the Community First Cares Foundation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.  August 17, 2018 – The Community First Cares Foundation and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville announce the five recipients of its second-year artist grant program. The grants were awarded to the artists at the collaborative “Entrepreneur Symposium for Creatives: Every Artist is a Small Business” held on Saturday, August 18 at the Ritz Theatre and Museum.

This spring, Community First Cares, the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of Community First Credit Union, in collaboration with the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, announced the second-year partnership to continue local artist grants and support business education symposiums. Community First pledged $10,000 to fund 10 direct artist grants, a doubling of last year’s funding. Community First also pledged to continue its support of the Cultural Council’s “Entrepreneur Symposium for Creatives: Every Artist is a Small Business” an educational workshop for Northeast Florida artists.

“The Community First Cares Foundation chose to collaborate on this program because we hope local artists continue to create and pursue their ideas without restraints,” said Community First Cares Foundation Executive Director Missy Peters. “Artists in our community need our support and we’re thrilled to provide these grants for their innovative projects.”

From May 1 through July 1, Northeast Florida artists applied for the first round of grants through the Cultural Council’s website at The Council received 115 artist applications. In a blind and anonymous selection process, the finalists were narrowed to 20 and then five artists were selected by the Community First Cares Foundation board and senior executives. Each winning artist receives a grant of $1,000 for their creative projects.

Grant recipients include:

Manila Clough - Funding from the individual artist micro-grant will allow public artist Manila Clough, whose work promotes an interest in Florida's native species, to create a tactile mosaic that depicts flora and fauna indigenous to Northeast Florida. The piece will include the species' Latin names and would also include spellings in Braille. Once complete, Manila will work with the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, Florida to find an appropriate installation site for the mosaic.

Crystal Floyd - Funding from the individual artist micro-grant will allow mixed-media assemblage artist Crystal Floyd to apply her creative vision in a meaningful way to help others who are dealing with loss. Crystal, whose work deals with the natural cycle of life and death, will create and publish a book to help people understand grief and how to address it in a healthy and helpful way. The book will be stylized similar to a children's book but will be intended for all ages. Crystal will collaborate with Katie Parisi and Clay Doran to co-write and illustrate the project. 

Boja Kragulj - Funding from the individual artist micro-grant will allow clarinetist Boja Kragulj to produce and present two inter-disciplinary live concerts that combine classical compositions with digitally created visual art that corresponds to the music, giving the audience an immersive, all-sensory experience of classical music in the modern day. It is Boja's goal to create a network of collaboration between visual artists, movement artists, digital artists, and classical musicians.

Mark Krancer - Funding from the individual artist micro-grant will allow photographer Mark Krancer to embark on a project that focuses on the rehabilitation and resocialization of formerly incarcerated individuals, and the value they can contribute to society post-incarceration. Through his photography, Mark hopes to convey a message that these men and women are more than just their Department of Corrections inmate ID numbers. 

Bob Self - Funding from the individual artist micro-grant will allow photojournalist Bob Self to print and frame a series of work that he shot in the mid-1990s as a staff photographer at The Florida Times-Union. The work documents the people and places that once made up Jacksonville's historic LaVilla neighborhood. These photos show the final days of LaVilla before residents were displaced and properties were being cleared for the City's plan to develop the land. This work will be exhibited at the Ritz Theatre and Museum as part of the museum's permanent collection. 

The second round of grants will be open for applications from August 18 through October 18, with five recipients being announced during November’s Every Single Artist Lounge scheduled for Tuesday, November 13 at the Museum of Science and History (1025 Museum Cir).

The Cultural Council believes artists and arts professionals play a central role in developing vibrant, healthy communities and neighborhoods when they’re provided with access to Professional Development, Resources, and Opportunities (PRO). This belief led to the development of the PRO Network, a suite of participatory workshops, intensive seminars, services, and networking events specific to artists and arts professionals living and working in Northeast Florida.

In 2017, the Community First Cares Foundation awarded $5,000 in grants to five individual artists who live and create in Northeast Florida: Roxanna Lewis, choreographer and producer; Christopher Clark, visual artist and children’s book author; Matthew Colaciello, storyteller and videographer; Hillary Bodin, dancer; and Catherine Lewis, visual and literary artist. The Community First Cares Foundation also supported last year’s business symposium.


Founded in 1973, the mission of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville is to enrich life in Northeast Florida by investing in arts and culture. The agency serves six primary roles in the community, including: Ensure broad accessibility and public engagement with the arts culturally, socially, educationally, and economically; Build relationships and enhance communication with artists, cultural organizations, educational institutions, and the public at large; Expand public awareness of issues that affect local, regional, and national funding for the sector; Advocate for public and private financial support for the sector; Work to build communities that are healthy, vibrant, and equitable; and, Promote arts and cultural events, projects, and initiatives in Northeast Florida. For more information, visit or call 904-358-3600.


The Community First Cares Foundation, founded in 2013 by Community First Credit Union, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) community foundation that grants funds to improve the quality of life in North Florida.  The foundation supports activities to improve financial literacy, enhance the quality of our educational system, upgrade the health and welfare of our community and help underserved citizens. The Community First Cares Foundation makes contributions to non-profit organizations that serve the communities on the First Coast. For more information, visit or call 904-371-8090.


Grant Recipient: Monique Burr Foundation

Monique Burr Foundation Teen Safety Matters Program

A new program, MBF Teen Safety Matters™, was recently launched by the Monique Burr Foundation for Children to prevent child abuse and bullying among teen-agers. 

Poverty is a silent epidemic in our schools, and many issues with attendance and academics are directly related to students not having clean clothes, shoes that fit, or the supplies they need to be successful in school. Students want to feel good about themselves when they come to school, and we want to help them have everything they need to learn. We could not have opened our first on-site classroom-sized Giving Closet without this funding and volunteer support.

Jennifer Smith, DCPS teacher and Founder of The Giving Closet Project.

Community First Cares

637 N Lee St. (P.O. Box 2600)
Jacksonville, FL 32232

Phone: (904) 371-8090

Email: [email protected]

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The Community First Cares Foundation supports projects that place a special emphasis on activities that improve financial literacy, enhance the quality of our educational system, upgrade the health and welfare of our community and help the underserved citizens improve their quality of life.  We offer funding to help our community partners implement these initiative right here on the First Coast.