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St. Petersburg Arts Alliance presents the first “Arts Advocate of the Year Award”!

The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance (SPAA) is delighted to share the creation of the first “Arts Advocate of the Year Award.”  This inaugural award will be presented to Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida State president, at SPAA’s garden party, Hats Off to Performing Arts on April 24th at the Rutland-Farley Mansion beginning at 11AM. Ms. Seixas was the originator of the idea of creating a Comprehensive Arts Strategy (CAS) for the City of St. Petersburg and took that idea to Jason Mathis, CEO of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, who involved SPAA and the rest is history.

CAS led to the formation of meetings, surveys and one on one discussions with thousands of art leaders, artists and lovers of art within the City of St. Petersburg.  The four tenants of the plan are collaboration, purposeful communication, leadership and funding and bench making.  With the genesis of this plan, SPAA is lifting up the arts by supporting individual artists and galleries, creating a city that reflects a Mecca of Museums, promoting performing art venues and performing artists, recognizing the uniqueness of the art districts that comprise the City of St. Petersburg and continuing to educate and advocate for adequate and sustainable funding for the arts as an economic driver.  “Melissa Seixas is at the core of what we hope to achieve through her vision that led to the Comprehensive Arts Strategy.  With her insight and our community partners, we will aspire to strengthen and grow the arts as an economic innovator for our city, our artists and our community,” stated Terry Marks, SPAA’s CEO.

Meet the Arts Advocate of the Year

Melissa Seixas is Duke Energy’s state president in Florida, serving approximately 1.98 million accounts, bringing electricity to more than 4 million people and businesses in 3 countries.  Seixas holds a bachelor’s degree in American history from Eckerd College and a master’s degree in American history from the University of South Florida. Melissa has a strong tradition of supporting her community. She has served on numerous boards for nonprofit and business organizations including the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the Pinellas County Urban League, the St. Petersburg and Clearwater Chambers of Commerce, Pasco Economic Development Council and as immediate past chair of the board of directors for the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership. She also has a long history of service to the University of South Florida and was honored as the 2019 recipient of the USFSP Regional Chancellor Award for Civic Leadership. She currently serves as a chairperson of the USF St. Petersburg Campus Advisory Board and the board of trustees for the University of South Florida. “As a community it’s important for us to embrace the arts because it allows us to express ourselves, illustrate the world around us, gain understanding and build connections,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president. “Supporting the arts in the communities where we live and work is fundamental to who we are at Duke Energy, and I am honored to receive this award from SPAA.”

SPAA’s Mission

The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance is the umbrella organization serving this vital arts and cultural community.  We do so by driving arts-related economic development and funding, advocating for art and artists, educating at all levels and facilitating the growth of our City of the Arts.   For more information on sponsorship opportunities and tickets visit:

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