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About the Council

Lakeland Mayor’s Council on the Arts is a group formed by a resolution of the Lakeland City Council on June 16, 2014. The purpose of the Council is to further the enhancement, promotion, and support of Lakeland’s arts community and its associated creative economy. By majority vote of the Lakeland City Council, local arts organizations were named to the group. Each arts organization on the resolution names a representative to serve on the Council. These representatives meet formally six times per year. 

The Council’s primary work includes promoting the annual City of Lakeland grant program for eligible arts organizations. Additionally, the Council will oversee any public art selection(s) associated with capital projects within the Lakeland municipality.


A Message from the Chair

Dear Arts Enthusiasts,

The site you are currently viewing represents one of many initiatives to come and demonstrates the power of a collective effort to promote arts and cultural activities in the City of Lakeland. We are fortunate to have a local government that recognizes the importance of having a vibrant arts scene and how arts and culture combine to make our community a better place to live, work, and play. The Mayor’s Council on the Arts is but one example of how a municipality can capitalize on the creative industries within its boundaries to create a city of which we can be proud. That shared, I am grateful to our mayor and our city commissioners for their foresight in establishing and supporting this council.  Additionally, I appreciate the work of the personnel at the City of Lakeland in assisting the council in this historical effort to promote the branding and marketing of the arts in our city.

One of the acts that has most impacted me during my tenure as chairman of the Mayor’s Council on the Arts is the genuine sense of harmony and unity that the council members celebrate with their respective arts organizations. Certainly, we are at a time when the power of arts and cultural activities to bring healing and unity to our nation is needed, perhaps, like never before. In these unprecedented times, let us all look through the lens of opportunity and embrace the challenges before us. From both historical and cultural perspectives, we know the obstacles we now face actually provide us with a moral and social imperative to be servant-artists—creating with the idea of bringing joy, peace, and comfort to those around us. 

I continue to appreciate all that the Mayors’ Council on the Arts offers as a collective group to the greater Lakeland area and the citizenry of Lakeland. We have much to be thankful for in regards to the collaborative spirit embraced by our members. 


Craig S. Collins, Ed.D.  |  Chair, Lakeland Mayor’s Council on the Arts

“The arts scene in Lakeland continues to grow and flourish through the collaborative work of the council. The collective energy of everyone involved reflects our commitment to provide art experiences to all people.”

Sarah Roberts McCarley | Lakeland City Commissioner

Council Members

  • Bill Mutz | Mayor of the City of Lakeland
  • Emily Colon | Assistant City Manager for the City of Lakeland
  • Sara McCarley | City Commissioner, City of Lakeland
  • Dr. Craig S. Collins | Sterling Creative Consultants, Council Chair
  • Kerry Falwell | Explorations V Children’s Museum, Council Vice-Chair
  • Jermaine Thornton | Florida Dance Theatre
  • Beth Gibbs | Florida Southern College
  • Kevin LeVine | Harrison School for the Arts
  • Amy Wiggins | Imperial Symphony Orchestra of Polk County
  • Alan Reynolds | Lakeland Community Theatre
  • Marcus Norvell | Lakeland Concert Band
  • Laura Rodriguez | Lakeland Vision, Inc.
  • Cynthia Haffey | Platform Art
  • Meri Mass | Polk Arts Alliance
  • Dr. Alex Rich | Polk Museum of Art
  • Pal Powell | Polk Museum of Art
  • Leslie Sikora | Polk Theatre
  • Kim Long | Polk Vision, Inc.
  • Tony Camarillo | RP Funding Center
  • Dr. Mark Belfast | Southeastern University
  • Lesley Chambers | At-Large Member
  • Chanda Frederick | At-Large Member
  • Brad Lunz | At-Large Member
  • Mike Maguire | At-Large Member
  • Beth Mason | At-Large Member
  • Dr. Daryl Ward | At-Large Member
  • Lakeland Art Guild | At-Large Member