This mission of the Council on Culture & Arts (COCA) is to serve as a catalyst for development and support of arts and culture in Florida's capital region.
A Letter from COCA's Executive Director
COCA, the Council on Culture & Arts, is a non-profit organization that serves as the facilitator and voice for the arts and cultural industry in Florida's capital area. We serve a dual role: providing information, and promoting the arts and culture to citizens and visitors.
We hope you each find answers to your questions, and resources to help you as you explore this web site. If you are already lucky enough to live here, we hope you find this website a place you return to often. If you’re thinking of moving here, give us a call. If you are a representative of a business researching a good place to locate your home base or satellite offices, you picked the right place to find out what a rich quality of life we enjoy. If you are a visitor here for the football games, the legislature, or on your way to see the mouse, let us help you extend your stay in Tallahassee.
If this is not your first time here, welcome back. We hope we can be of service.
Some 28 years ago, the community created COCA as their designated local arts agency. The capital area’s only umbrella agency for arts and culture, COCA works with and for those who produce, invest in, and consume the arts and culture in the area. COCA is not a government entity, but works hand-in-hand with the city, county, state, and local school district as their cultural industry partner.
You may notice that our board of directors is not made up primarily of artists nor do they represent any one cultural institution. That’s because the Florida statute by which COCA was founded expressly prohibits members from representing any one arts faction. Instead, two practicing artists are members, and the remaining board members are outstanding private citizens with expertise in tourism, finance, business, economic development, marketing, and volunteering. The city and county commissions make appointments to the COCA Board from a list of three nominees sent to them by the COCA Board for consideration. These nominations have been vetted to fill the needs on the Board and assure that it is a broad representation of the community demographic.
COCA’s staff is where the professional arts expertise is found. This group of multi-talented multi-taskers have titles that may not give you enough information about the many hats they wear. For that reason you will find, in addition to their titles, a list of things that they each handle. We hope it will help you know who to call to get the information you need.
You won’t find a place to make a donation to COCA here, because as a part of its founding code, COCA was asked to refrain from seeking private funding for its operating costs. While we know firsthand how hard that is to accomplish and sustain the work needed, we believe it is the right restriction in the right place at the right time. Tallahassee and Leon County have some of the most generous small- and mid-sized businesses in the country, who donate to the arts and culture and social services and the environment. They are asked to fill the hole that having one or more large international corporations (like other cities we are often compared to) would fill. It is for that reason that COCA does not ask you for donations for our work. We do, however, hope you will become a member for a small fee. That membership will provide you with lists and listings, e-mails of events and opportunities, and reduced rates for COCA events. We offer valuable ad space at very low prices, too.
COCA does receive funding through contracts with the city and county to serve in lieu of a cultural affairs department, for specific performance contracts for special projects, and to manage the distribution of individual grants to over 28 local arts and cultural partners. I am so proud to be able to say that for the last fifteen years, our local governments have made investments in the arts and cultural industry in this community that brings them an economic impact of over $7 per dollar invested, even in this down economy. Leon County is one of the only counties in the State of Florida to continue that unwavering investment, during a time when many counties around the country underestimated the unintended consequences of using cuts to the arts and culture to balance their budgets.
As COCA’s Executive Director for the last twenty years, I have seen plenty of variations in the weather, the economy, and political will at the local, state and national levels, and the consequent impact on the efforts of artists and arts organizations to continue their service to their communities. But here in the Capital City, like the magnificent oak trees that provide canopies to our roads and line our beautiful parks, our arts and culture has very strong roots.
Welcome to our town.