St. Johns Cultural Council names new executive director

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The Board of the St. Johns Cultural Council has named Christina Parrish Stone Executive Director of the Cultural Council effective Dec. 1.

“Christina Parrish Stone brings to the organization her vision as an arts advocate. Her significant experience in placemaking, community organizing and development, successful fundraising and event management will provide continued growth for the SJCC and the arts culture and heritage mission. In addition, her financial and grants management skills will deliver the commitment of the Tourist Development dollars to ensure their effective use," Barbara McNees, president of the board said.

Parrish Stone has served as executive director of Friends of Hemming Park for two years. While she said the move is somewhat bittersweet — she wasn't looking to leave Hemming Park until Sterling Consulting, the search firm engaged by the Cultural Council, contacted her — she is delighted to join the Cultural Council.

"I can't imagine a better place to celebrate and support arts, culture and heritage than St. Johns County, and I am honored to have the opportunity to do just that. My experiences at Hemming Park have taught me the unsurpassed importance of collaboration between organizations — private and public, large and small — to improve quality of life for both residents and visitors and to spark economic development within a community,” Parrish Stone said. “I admire the work that the St. Johns Cultural Council has done in that regard, and I am fortunate to have time to learn from Andrew Witt, who has accomplished so much during eight years leading the SJCC, before his retirement. I look forward to working with Kathe O'Donnelly and Hala Laquidara and the SJCC board to expand existing programs and create new opportunities for local artists and organizations throughout St. Johns County."

Parrish Stone joined the Friends of Hemming Park in November 2017. Before that she was executive director of Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council for almost three years, and a practicing attorney for more than 20 years.

In her new job she’ll work to spotlight areas of St. Johns that don’t receive the attention they deserve, for example the agrarian-centric area of Hastings, in addition to supporting the continued development of all of the county’s arts, culture and heritage industry.

“People tend to think about St. Augustine or Ponte Vedra when they think about St. Johns,” Parrish Stone said. “There are some rural areas, such as Hastings, that have a long history related to food and the farm-to-table movement. There are some great opportunities to celebrate that part of the County.”

McNees said, “Andy Witt as the first executive Director of the SJCC served for the last eight years. In that time, he built an organization that has successfully marketed arts, culture and heritage nationally and internationally. He also developed a grants process for the local arts community to assist them with marketing dollars for their events and programs. He announced his intention to retire earlier this year in order to provide for a national search and orderly transition. We were fortunate to have his expertise and commitment to the arts community.”

For more information, call Andrew Witt at (904) 808-7330 or email awitt@historiccoastculture.com .

 

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