While DeSantis Cuts Arts Funding State-Wide, Florida Studio Theatre Gets $1 Million In State Funds For Workforce Housing

The funding will be used to provide workforce housing as part of the theater's new Arts Plaza Project.

By: Jul. 01, 2024
While DeSantis Cuts Arts Funding State-Wide, Florida Studio Theatre Gets $1 Million In State Funds For Workforce Housing
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Florida Studio Theatre has announced that the State of Florida has included $1,000,000 in its new budget to support FST’s efforts to provide workforce housing in its new Arts Plaza project. 

“We could not have secured this appropriation without the phenomenal leadership of Senator Jim Boyd and Representative Fiona McFarland, in addition to the support of our state legislators,” said Rebecca Hopkins, Managing Director of Florida Studio Theatre. “We are also grateful to Governor Ron DeSantis, who recognized the importance of this project in supporting workforce housing for arts workers in this region. Arts and culture have a major economic impact on this region and represent more than 6,300 jobs in Sarasota and Manatee alone as of 2022. Affordable housing for our workers has become a crisis and this project is working to become part of the solution.” 

When asked about his support, Senator Boyd commented, “The arts are essential to our community and I was happy to support Florida Studio Theatre; their expansion offers housing and employment, as well as reaching new theatre audiences.” 

Representative Fiona McFarland added, “This theatre has always offered top tier performances at affordable ticket prices, and they continue in that vein to build affordable housing for artists. They are a great cause to support.” 

FST’s Arts Plaza has been designed to meet a wide range of FST’s artistic needs while serving its robust and growing audience. This state-of-the-art building will be nestled amongst FST’s existing five-theatre campus in downtown Sarasota. 

The construction plan is separated into three phases. Phase 1 will include the core of the building’s plans like the construction of the eight-story building, opening three stories of artist housing, and three floors of parking garage. Phase 2 introduces the opening of two cabaret theatres along with their kitchen & food service stations, dressing rooms, bar & lounge area, and public restrooms. Phase 3 will finish the project by adding in our mainstage theatre, lobby, and concessions area. 

The funding comes at a time when all Florida arts funding was vetoed from the state budget by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, as BroadwayWorld previously reported. Meanwhile, theaters across the state are working to fill unanticipated budget gaps that range from $8000 (Peter London Global Dance Company) to $150,000 (Florida Repertory Theatre, The Naples Players, Gulfshore Playhouse, Opera Naples, amongst others.)




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