Annual Support Plants Seeds for Growth
Original Artifacts article by Mitzi Gordon
A stroll along Dunedin’s blooming Douglas Avenue reveals art galleries, creative incubators, and a new residential concept called The Artisan, featuring artist studio apartments within the city’s arts overlay district of flourishing artwork.
Developer Joe Kokolakis and his wife Anna, who supported Dunedin Fine Art Center’s second-phase capital campaign, are brought DFAC into master-lease the new project.
“It’s a Main Street evolution,” said Joe, a West Point grad, and owner of J. Kokolakis Contracting. “When you support the arts in the community, it’s really a quality-of-life issue.”
Fostering Flourishing Artwork
The couple also provides annual support that helps keep DFAC’s day-to-day engines running smooth, with a clear understanding that investment in the arts bears plentiful returns.
“We are very fortunate to have a place like DFAC in our community,” said Anna, who studied art at the University of Tampa and worked as an art teacher before starting a family. “We have to have a culturally literate society.”
Joe underlined the importance of including public assistance and city support for the arts. “It’s impossible for a place like DFAC to sustain itself without that,” he said. “When you have commissioners that buy into the art concepts, then you have the whole community.”
Continue Planting Seeds
So, Joe and Anna continue to plant the seeds. His company broke ground on The Artisan in October 2016. It’s modeled after a co-operative live/work space Anna visited along Miami’s Lincoln Road. The building was completed in early 2018.
Below are an 11,000-square-foot ground-floor retail and gallery space. Monthly subsidized rents are designed to keep costs attainable—and sustainable—for tenants.
The Dunedin Fine Art Center’s contributions to the city and surrounding areas consistently impressed the couple. They enjoy attending Wearable Art events—who doesn’t?—and the couple’s three children, now in their teens, have taken classes and worked summers at the art center.
“Once you get involved and see what they do, see the impact it has on the community, it sort of draws you in,” Joe said. “The service it provides to the community is immeasurable.”
Nourishing DFAC bears fruit in return, and support like that provided by Joe and Anna keeps giving year-round, helping the art center to flourish for seasons to come. To learn more about annual gifts and other avenues of support, please call Linda Hamilton or George Ann Bissett at 727.298.3322.