Meet the Talented Local Artists Receiving Professional Development Grants in 2021!

Each year, the Hillsborough Arts Council awards grants of up to $2,000 to emerging and established local artists. The Professional Development for Artists Grant program, made possible by Hillsborough County and the Board of County Commissioners, aims to both attract and retain talented creatives right here in Hillsborough County. Artists can apply to gain new educational experience, such as a residency or workshop, or they can use the grant to purchase permanent equipment that will help increase the quality of the work they produce. Many artists who make use of the grants are truly able to develop a new artistic practice or purchase an equipment that makes an impact on their work.

Local photographer Amy Pezzicara received a grant in 2019 that helped her create underwater images for her photography collection. “This grant gave me the opportunity to purchase a piece of equipment that could significantly improve my results. Waterproof housings for cameras can be crazy expensive, so I was working with an inexpensive and sub-par housing for a smaller camera: the results were hit or miss. Mostly miss. With this new housing, I’m able to use my professional cameras and lenses underwater to create images that are of much greater quality,” said Amy Pezzicara. “To be able to make the jump to something that costs more than $2,000 is a luxury I can only afford because of the grant.”

Get to know the 2021 recipients

This year, 12 local artists covering many different disciplines were awarded a grant from this program:

Trent Alyse

Trent Alyse is a Tampa-based artist who gives new life to ethically sourced natural artifacts including bones, stones and exoskeletons via an array of processes, from copper electroforming to taxidermy. While she currently works with copper, she’ll be using her grant this year to attend a 5-day workshop and purchase the necessary equipment to learn to silversmith. Follow her on Instagram @kittybombcurios

Lori Ballard

Lori is all about capturing detail and texture with her “telephoto eyes”. As a self-developed artist, she has strong gut instincts. Through quiet thoughtful observance of subject and light, she sees the finer details of life that are often overlooked. Lori will be purchasing a new camera to replace an older, outdated model. One of her more recent lines of work is a “Pandemic Portraits” series.

Alicia Campos

Alicia is a psychologist, art therapist, teaching artist, and a social entrepreneur dedicated 100% to her art and teaching. She has already purchase a new laptop and printer using her award. The laptop will be used to plan and arrange components of the painting prior to the work, while the printer will help to create collages. Her work focuses on the prevention and education of sexual abuse in childhood, and the role of women as leaders in this crucial social issue. Follow her on Facebook here.

Will Douglas

Will Douglas is a fabricator at Live work Studios, an adjunct professor of art at the University of South Florida, University of Tampa, Hillsborough Community College & co-curator at Parallelogram Gallery. He Is particularly well known for his framing work – both for his own art and for other local artists. He plans to purchase a printer and table saw to help to cut his personal costs and increase his efficiency in creating framed work. Find him on Instagram @willwdoug

Tyler Glenn

Tyler Nicole Glenn is an American artist currently working in sculpture, digital media, installation, and performance. They are a recent graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City where they received their BFA in Fine Arts with Honors. The artist plans to purchase equipment, specifically video mapping software, a virtual reality headset, and a projector. This will allow the artist to create work that integrates more with technology and they will use it at upcoming exhibits, including an international show. You can find them on Instagram @megabuswifi

Cari Oleskewicz

Cari writes about nature and the human/personal experience in nature, with a focus on seabirds and shorebirds. She is working on a poetry collection and a nonfiction memoir. This artist plans to purchase a new laptop that will replace an outdated, 12-year-old laptop and allow her to continue to do effective creative work.

Libbi Ponce

(they/them, she/her, b.1997) is a queer, Ecuadorian artist who makes sculptures, 360 degree VR videos, installations, and performances. In their writing and curatorial practice, Ponce hopes to increase the visibility and voices of historically underrepresented artists. They hold a BFA in Studio Art and BA in Philosophy from the University of South Florida. Ponce currently works as Co-Director of Coco Hunday and formerly as Exhibitions Coordinator at Tempus Projects. Libbi will be going to Guayaquil, Ecuador as a Fulbright Creative Research Scholar to 3D scan artifacts at the Museo Antropologico y de Arte Contemporaneo to produce an exhibition incorporating these digital files into a virtual and physical realm. She plans to use her grant to purchase a new camera that will allow her to create a sculptural video/VR installation at the Museo. Find her on Instagram @pibbi.lonce

Liz Prisley

Liz is a writer, performance poet, and educator based out of Tampa, Florida. She earned her MA in English from Virginia Tech and her BA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida. As a slam poet, Liz has represented Tampa at regional and national competitions, and her work can be seen on “SlamFind” and “Poetry Slam, Inc.” She is going to purchase a keyboard with accessories in order to blend music and poetry, as well as create high quality recordings of her work. Follow her on Instagram @LizPrisley

Michael Standard

Michael Standard is an American composer, arranger, and percussionist based in Tampa. His compositions for solo performers, chamber groups, and scholastic ensembles have been performed throughout the United States and internationally, and his music engages with a wide breadth of styles and concepts. His grant funds will be used to purchase a set of high-octave crotales, a musical instrument that he will use to perform in his own work, as well as music written by other composers.

Jonathan Talit

Jonathan is interested in flesh as a membrane; the site of negotiation between our inner and external worlds. Through exercise, diet, sexual activity, and clothing, we are constantly brokering deals between various desires that are expressed on our skin. He makes work that displays these negotiations. The artist plans to attend an educational residency in Berlin following his graduation. He currently does sculpture work and will learn more about clay and ceramics at the residency.

Justin Thompson

Justin’s goal as an artist is to utilize his knowledge of modern science and technology – in conjunction with skills learned from classical training as an artist – to find and develop a symbolic language through which he is able to communicate concepts and ideas to an audience. After purchasing a 3D printer to enable him to do more with his glassblowing artwork, he discovered the current computer he has doesn’t have the necessary processing power. This grant will allow him to purchase a laptop that can keep up with his creativity.

Elise Zotos

Healing music artist, intuitive channeler, DJ, and radio personality Eluv was born and educated in Melbourne, Australia. She creates beautiful inspirational music, guided meditations, and visualizations for relaxation and healing. She plans to purchase a new laptop with her grant, which will allow her to record her music and to add additional audio components to her live performances. Find her on Instagram @eluvmusic


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