John Collins is the founding executive director of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, the umbrella arts service organization that serves as fiscal partner for emerging arts organizations and arts festivals, including the Sunlit Fest and the SHINE Mural Festival, coordinates Second Saturday Art Walk; and supports school arts education countywide, including the Arts for a Compete Education committee and other professional continuing education programs for creative businesses in partnership with the Greenhouse.
He is being honored at the LocalShops1 Community Awards, which take place 4-7 pm Sunday, Aug. 14, at the Vinoy Resort in downtown St. Petersburg.
John moved to St. Petersburg fifteen years ago and volunteered for the City’s Arts Advisory Committee. In 2010, as chair of the committee, he produced the Arts & Culture Economic Impact Report, which helped civic and elected leaders understand that funding the arts is an investment and later established the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance in. Now John is leading a year-long effort with Creative Pinellas to measure how much the arts contribute to the local economy.
His experience in fundraising and arts goes back to 1974, including managing theaters in church basements in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and later touring as the artistic director of Boston Mime Theatre. He performed at the first and second Spoleto Festivals in Charleston and also for the first First Night in Boston.
He has held leadership or VP positions at Emerson College, Berklee College of Music, Arizona State University West, and USF St. Petersburg, and served as managing director of the Tufts Arena Theater and president of Boca Raton’s Centre for the Arts.
John and his wife, Mary Ellen Collins, live in St. Petersburg's Old Northeast neighborhood.
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