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The Senate and House agreed to final budget numbers.


The end result is formally agreed upon appropriations plus their respective "sprinkle lists". On the House list was $12.4 million for "cultural grants general support" (see line 31)

WHAT TO DO: Say Thank You

Say thank you to:

  • Your State Senator
  • Your State Representative
    for their work on your behalf.

You can find your Senators' and Representatives' contact information here.
If you are sending a note in the mail, click on their linked name in the directory. It will take you to their legislative page, where you will find the address for their district office. Mail it there. They are heading home Friday.

Say thanks to:

  • The President of the Senate, Kathleen Passidomo
    • 3299 East Tamiami Trail, Suite 203, Naples, FL 34112
  • The Speaker of the House, Paul Renner
    • Suite 1, 4877 Palm Coast Parkway Northwest, Palm Coast, FL 32137-3677
  • The Senate Appropriations Chair, Senator Doug Broxson
    • 418 West Garden Street, Room 403, Pensacola, FL 32502
  • The House Appropriations Chair, Representative Tom Leek
    • Suite 240, 1540 Cornerstone Boulevard, Daytona Beach, FL 32117-7144

for their leadership in funding arts and culture in Florida and for raising the appropriation for Cultural and Museum Grants by $12.4 Million.

Remember the last 2 parts of the process:

  • The budget has to rest for 72 hours before it can be voted on and enrolled.
  • The Governor to sign the budget without vetoing our lines.
    We will keep you updated. We would expect to see this by/before June 15th.

Thank you for your continued advocacy, and be proud! You've done an amazing job!

Questions? Contact | | 850-224-2500
We are stronger together!


Cultural & Museum
WE ASKED FOR: $48,266,504
WE RECEIVED: $32,400,000 (67%)
Culture Builds Florida
WE ASKED FOR: $3,469,042
WE RECEIVED: $3,469,042 (100%)
Cultural & Facilities
WE ASKED FOR: $11,785,546
WE RECEIVED: $7,383,059 (63%)
Cultural Endowment
WE ASKED FOR: $4,560,000
WE RECEIVED: $0 (0%)
WE ASKED FOR: $68,081,092
WE RECEIVED: $43,252,101]

City Funding Update - February 2023

Due to your advocacy, on September 7, 2022, the City Commission approved $300,000 for community arts programs. COCA then launched a Cultural Grant Program Round 2: City Funds application round. In total, 31 applications were funded, which included 11 BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) organizations; 10 organizations new to COCA’s grant programs; and 22 underserved organizations with budgets of less than $150,000. Your advocacy made this possible. City funding was allocated for one year, and we ask for your support as COCA works with the City on its FY24 community arts programs funding request.

We believe it's important to continue providing information about this request. Updates will be posted here and shared on our social media channels. If you have a question about this topic we can add to this list, please contact Kathleen Spehar at


COCA's request for $300,000 to support local-facing programs is currently not recommended in the City's FY23 budget draft. This request will support local arts & culture programs for our families, kids, neighborhoods, and those with special needs and economic challenges in our community that can't qualify for tourism resources. These programs support City priorities, including Quality of Life, Impact on Poverty, Neighborhood Plans, and more.

COCA's funding request has not been recommended. This request will primarily be used for regranting to arts and cultural organizations for local-facing programs. COCA does not have unrestricted regranting funds for local-facing programs and has qualifying applicants in the FY23 round that won't be funded unless City funding is approved. Please contact your City commissioners in support of this funding and ask them to approve this funding request (Agenda item 12.1 – Option 2)

Join us at City Hall on Wednesday, September 07, at 3 PM at the Commission Chambers, 300 South Adams Street to support this funding. You can email commissioners and register to speak at the commission meeting here:



The City of Tallahassee is considering a $300,000 funding request from COCA to fund local-facing programming. This support will allow arts & culture organizations and programs to deliver programming that positively impacts City priorities, its Strategic Plan, and basic services, including

Impact on Poverty through the support of community health and wellness initiatives;
Quality of Life to enhance livability and preserve the unique characteristics of neighborhoods and keep residents and visitors informed about events and attractions in Tallahassee;
Public Safety by our efforts to implement proactive community-based solutions to enhance public safety.
Pandemic recovery & Diversity, equity and inclusion through all programs and services.
Neighborhood Plans through arts, culture & public art.
Neighborhood beautification, safety and security through cultural programs and services activated throughout the City.
Previous to 2016, the City provided up to $500,000 of support that could be used for this purpose. Currently, no City funds are available for redistribution through COCA's grant programs to support these kinds of programs. Our request will support local organizations & programs not eligible for funding through the Tourism Development Tax (TDT) including:

Arts education programs | Arts & culture programs for special needs youth and adults

Arts & culture programs focused on local services | Arts, culture history & heritage organizations with a primarily local focus.*

Organizations that implement local-facing programming tied to City priorities include, but are not limited to:

Motivating People Through Arts and Crafts programs for persons on the Autism Spectrum and with Neurodiversity challenges.

Cool Breeze Youth Music and Art Enrichment Workshops.

Tallahassee Youth Orchestra (TYO) camps in economically-challenged neighborhoods

Young Actor's Theatre (YAT) and Tallahassee Ballet youth programs

We understand this is a challenging year and are grateful for the City's belief in the positive impact arts, culture, history & heritage has on City priorities. We ask the City to fund all or part of our request in the FY23 budget cycle.


May 2020: Black Lives Matter

COCA's Advocacy Guide has information about Black Lives Matter plus links to other Arts Advocacy Resources.
  • Please click here to learn more about Advocacy Resources from Americans for the Arts.
  • Please click here to learn more about Advocacy Resources from the Florida Cultural Alliance.
  • Please click here to learn more about Advocacy Resources from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.
  • Please click here to see COCA's current Advocacy listings in our Classifieds section.
  • To see information about Black Lives matter, please see below:

COCA stands with Black Lives Matter, protesters, artists of color, and allies speaking out to change inequitable and racist systems. 

*Facilitate ongoing, organizational and community-wide conversations about race, class, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and income status as these issues relate to our arts community.
*Continue to examine our grant and public art practices and policies to ensure under-invested and under-represented communities can compete equitably for exhibitions, grants and other financial opportunities.
*Feature artists and organizations in our community that facilitate equity and those who are equity champions.

*The ability to express, celebrate and champion cultural tradition and heritage is elemental to honest civic discourse and the well-being of our community.
*Artists and cultural creators have a unique role in challenging inequity and imagining new and more just realities.
*The health of our future cultural community in Tallahassee and Leon County is contingent on inclusionary practices that move towards cultural plurality.
*Inequity is pervasive and historic. Disparities and discrimination are daily occurrences that are rooted in long-standing majority privilege and power inside and outside of the cultural arts.

Equity moves past inclusion and representation; accepting that power has created uneven starting points for some communities and individuals. Simple diverse representation does not dismantle the unequal nature of voice, resource allocation and visibility that exist in the arts and cultural ecosystem.

The arts hold transformative power. They offer an instrument to amplify under-represented voices and open a dialog for meaningful change. We are listening. We see the outpouring of grief and pain. We hold ourselves accountable to be better and do more. This is a start, but there is more work to do to make sure we continue to learn and improve.

Please visit our website here to see COCA's Statement on Cultural Equity.

DEI Resources

Resources are added periodically.



Recording of the presentation can be found here (with Zoom passcode: t5=A?8nW)

Two additional resources mentioned in the DEI in TLH presentation, Black Fatigue by Mary Frances Winters and Good White People by Shannon Sullivan.

Black Fatigue by Mary Frances Winters can be purchased here.

Good White People by Shannon Sullivan can be purchased here.


Florida Senate Committee Assignments

The Senate has been filling seats on their committees. The complete directory of committees can be found at this link. The committees that are critical to our success are listed below. Your advocacy will be especially important if your senator is on one of these lists.

Some committees of critical importance to the success of arts and culture: are Appropriations, Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development, and Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.

Professional Development

National Arts Action Summit - Entering its 35th consecutive year, the National Arts Action Summit is the only national event designed to bring together a broad cross-section of America's cultural and civic organizations to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and increased public funding for arts and culture. There has never been a better time to join us at the National Arts Action Summit because this year, we're taking our advocacy efforts to the next level by making it free for partner organizations and individuals to attend.

Initiatives to support 

A Call for a Cultural New Deal 

National Civil Rights Conference
Check out and register for the 2021 Conference


Resource Guides 


BIPOC Arts Marketing Freelancer Database
The brand-new BIPOC Arts Marketing Freelancer Database is a FREE, open source database. If you're a graphic designer, web designer, video editor, sound/podcast engineer, illustrator, social media pro, etc - share your information! I've already had success connecting with an incredible freelancer through this list, and I hope the database will be useful to all of us going forward. If you're a BIPOC Arts Marketing Freelancer, free to add your info directly to the spreadsheet. Keep it growing!

Tallahassee LGBTQ+ Resource Guide Application

For years now Tallahassee has been in need of a comprehensive LGBTQ+ resource guide, one that is vetted and labored by people of the community. Capital Tea has held a monthly LGBTQ+ resource meeting where local LGBTQ+ groups and advocates have worked to develop a process that ensures this guide will meet our needs locally.

Who should fill this out?
This application is meant for any retail, restaurant, social service, mental health counselor, realtor, dentist, doctor, vet, entertainment space, legal, and every service that falls in between. We invite business owners and EDs to complete this application and we also wholeheartedly invite folks who work in these spaces as direct care, supervisors, front line, and volunteers to fill this out.

Huge shout out to the individuals who labored alongside us. Including but not limited to the Florida State University College of Medicine Center for Translational Behavioral Science, TransParent, PFLAG. We hope to share with you a list of other folks and groups who joined in for the collective goal of ensuring LGBTQ+ folks in our community have access to safe and affirming spaces!

Please feel free to share this with others in the Tallahassee area.
Shareable link below


Local Organizations 

Town Hall Tuesdays with COCA, INIE, and UPHS

Dream Defenders Tallahassee - FacebookInstagram

The Movement 850 - Instagram

Local Events

National Organizations

Brown Girls Doc Mafia is an initiative advocating for over 3,300 women and non-binary people of color working in the documentary film industry around the world.


Submit Listings

Additional Resource Guides: