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Our Mission:

Platform Art, Inc. is a 501c (3) not-for-profit organization committed to cultivating an understanding and appreciation of art in its many forms through production of multiple art events yearly. Platform events showcase regional and emerging talent in the fields of visual arts, film, fashion, sound and performance while exposing and growing a wider audience for all cultural arts organizations.

Our History:

Platform Art, Inc. was created in 2003 to fill a void in community-based cultural arts projects for adult populations, specifically those with a multi-disciplinary focus. A comprehensive planning process with community stakeholders was used to develop the concept for the Platform Art organization. Platform Art cultivates an understanding and appreciation of art in its many forms. Platform Art showcases regional and emerging talent in the fields of visual arts, film, fashion, sound and performance, while expanding audiences for all cultural organizations in Polk County and beyond.

Platform Art held two inaugural events in 2003 geared toward young adult and adult audiences. The concept was enormously successful, with over 40 artists, 500 attendees and two partnering cultural organizations participating in the first years events. The events continue to grow in popularity and attendance each year, with over 1,500 participants in 2010. It is now one of the most well attended cultural art events in Polk County, with over 600 people participating in each Platform Art event. Further input from community leaders, local artists, local cultural organizations and school district personnel identified a need for more quality arts programming to supplement current school arts curriculum. From this emerged Platform Arts annual Platform.5 Youth & Art program geared to students in grades 1-12 and their teachers. The first event, held in 2008, was enthusiastically embraced by school district personnel, teachers, students, family members, community partners and corporate sponsors. It continues to grow in popularity and participation annually.

Who We Serve:

The beauty of the Platform Art concept is its ability to attract multigenerational audiences. The events appeal to a broad spectrum from young adults through senior citizens. The racial and ethnic make-up of our participants closely mirrors the make-up of the Polk County community, which is currently made up of 25% ethnic and racial minorities. 35% of the population is currently between the ages of 18 and 49 and 31% are 50 and older. Platform has established a special niche in Polk County that allows us to capture both young, as well as older adults. In fact, parents and grandparents often attend the events with their young adult children or parents.

Polk Countys average household income is lower than the average for the state. Therefore, offering events that are affordable is essential to this community and Platform Art does just that. The Platform.5 event provides a mechanism for us to reach children in the K-12 range through a program that has many of Platforms unique qualities, while remaining age appropriate. Polk County grew by a rate of 23.34% over the past ten years, significantly higher than the state average of 18.13%. Therefore, the potential for continued audience growth is tremendous.

What Makes Platform Art Unique:

Each Platform Art event is held in a different location. Events have has been held in warehouses, empty office buildings, the local airport, a baseball stadium, community colleges, a local historic museum and at church facilities. These diverse locations allow us to reach all segments of the community and continue to develop new audiences. Platform Art is a taste of all the arts in one evening, a great value for a modest charge that features everything from visual arts to dance to fashion. Platform Art is unpretentious and offers an opportunity to experience art in its most organic form. Each themed event is dynamic and edgy. Platform Art collaborates with cultural organizations, local government agencies and regional businesses to produce unique events that help promote all of our cultural venues and businesses. Platform Art attracts a multi-generational audience, from young students to senior citizens.

Platform.5 Youth Program & Event:

There are currently over 160 school sites and centers and over 90,000 students in the Polk County Public School System and numerous others in private and alternative schools. The Platform.5 Program serves students, teachers, and families from throughout our diverse geographic region. In FY 2010, 30 schools participated, including several with the majority of low-income students on free or reduced lunches. Our partners also include schools specifically designed as alternative schools for at-risk students in jeoporady of dropping out of school. Over 500 students attended the event and over 1,000 were impacted by the program and participated in producing artwork in their classrooms.

Teachers select works to show at the juried show and in some schools, multiple students produce a collaborative piece, such as a large mural. The Platform.5 projects underlying philosophy is one of inclusion. While at-risk students are a major focus of the program, it is by no means limited to just at-risk students. All students are welcome to participate and learn from each other, regardless of race, economic circumstance or academic achievement.

National studies have proven that arts instruction and engagement in the arts by students, improves academic performance, leadership skills, self-esteem, and a desire to achieve. Platform.5 provides just such an experience. The program has been embraced by students, teachers, community leaders and local businesses. It is seen as a valuable supplement to existing Polk County School District and private school arts curriculum. Platform.5 Youth Program & Event provides quality learning experiences, engages students, teachers and families and improves the overall academic success of our countys students and directly furthers the goals of the Florida Department of Educations Sunshine State Standards in the areas of visual arts, dance and music.

Why Support Platform Art:

Platform Art contributes to the cultural and economic vibrancy of Polk County by filling a unique niche that no other cultural organization alone can. We partner with other cultural entities in the community to benefit all of our respective organizations. Philanthropic funding is essential to sustaining and expanding the Platform program to meet community needs. Our annual expenses to underwrite Platform Art are $111,000. While earned income, generated through a small event admission fee and through ancillary sales of food, beverage and artworks, provides a modest income for the program, more is needed. A philanthropic investment, no matter how small or large will help us to achieve our mission.

Where Your Funds Will Go:

Fees for commissioning artists and performers for Platform Art events Support for artist-in-residence who work with students in the classroom for the Platform.5 Program Curatorial staff to coordinate juried Platform Art and Platform.5 shows Higher Education Scholarships for winning students at the Platform.5 juried show Underwriting and sponsorship of Platform.5 Youth program and event Underwriting of rental fees and contract labor for event venues Program marketing and promotional costs Materials and supplies for classroom art projects for the Platform.5 Youth Program and Event Underwriting of financial awards to winning students and schools for the Platform.5 Program Project Coordinator for Platform Art Events and Youth Coordinator for Platform.5 Program