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Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative Expands Board Of Trustees, And Community Partnerships And Programs


The group has spent the past year forging strong alliances with organizations that share the vision of a robust, inclusive, and diverse regional arts community.

Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative Expands Board Of Trustees, And Community Partnerships And Programs

The Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative, a new nonprofit organization that promotes using the unifying power of the arts to nurture inclusion and diversity across the regional arts and cultural landscape, has recently expanded its board to 15 directors. According to Michéle Des Verney Redwine, SBAC's president, her "dream team" has spent the past year building alliances with other area nonprofits.

"I'm so honored to be part of this exceptional team," says Redwine. "Our directors are professional artists, former heads of industry, academic professionals, scholars, art advocates and community leaders. We've joined forces to amplify and empower Black excellence in regional arts and promote diversity in programming and leadership throughout our community." Redwine adds that directors hail from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds and "share a commitment to advance our mission. It's an ambitious goal-but SBAC's board will settle for nothing less."

SBAC's board of directors includes: Michele Redwine, president; Lisa Berger, vice president; Ron Kline, secretary; Irene Oakley Johnson, treasurer; and Ellen Berman, Cheryl Spicer Bryant, Sharon Preston-Folta, Pamela Greer, Brian Jones, Alyssia Lazin, Ron Mason, Mark Smith, James Stewart, Nancy Boxill Thompson and Paul Toliver.

Redwine is an artist, educator, and equal employment opportunity specialist with years of executive leadership experience in nonprofit organizations, public sectors, educational institutions, and government entities. As a painter and sculptor, she is also a strong community advocate for the arts. In 2017, she founded SBAC "to create substantive change and facilitate momentum towards creating a fully inclusive institutional culture in our regional arts and nonprofit landscape."

Redwine adds that the group has spent the past year forging strong alliances with organizations that share the vision of a robust, diverse arts community. As its name implies, collaboration is a central mission. SBAC's partners to date include Florida Studio Theater, Art Center Sarasota, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Manasota ASALH, Sarasota Museum of Art, the Polk Museum, the Sarasota County school system and several educational groups and organizations.

According to Redwine, the Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative is presently designing a variety of initiatives, including educational programs for area schools, hosting artist salons and exhibits, and co-sponsoring performances and exhibitions. SBAC's Arts and Racial Justice Panel series will provide a forum for artists and arts and civic leaders to participate in a dialogue Redwine describes as "courageous conversations." Redwine explains that Irene Oakley-Johnson, SBAC's treasurer, created the idea for the series. "SBAC's Arts and Racial Justice Panel is a first step to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion in a broad community discussion where organization leaders from all the arts join people representing African American, and Caribbean Diaspora ethnic and racial sectors of the community," says Oakley-Johnson.

"Diversity is the first step in building a community," adds Redwine. "The key guiding principle behind SBAC and this series is that diversity is inherent in all aspects of life in the 21st century. SBAC advocates for the role of diversity, equity and inclusion in shaping the future of diverse and vibrant arts programming in the Suncoast community."

Redwine states the organization aims to engage the community through Sustaining Friends, a membership initiative. If interested, please contact Michele Redwine at

For more information about the Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative, visit

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