OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Department of State

Cultural Affairs

What is the purpose of the division?

The Division of Cultural Affairs advances, supports, and promotes arts and culture to strengthen the economy and quality of life for all Floridians. Its primary functions are to manage the Department of State's cultural grants programs and to serve as steward of state cultural resources maintained in the Museum of Florida History. It also manages various exhibition, education, and arts recognition programs. The Division of Cultural Affairs serves as Florida's designated state arts agency and, as such, receives federal arts funding.

What services are provided by the division?

In addition to administering cultural grant programs, the division promotes cultural activity by providing programs, resources, services, and technical assistance to its constituent cultural organizations and individual artists.  It manages the Capitol Complex Exhibition Program, which provides a venue for Florida artists to exhibit their work at Capitol sites and maintains the Department of State Art Collection.  Other division services include exhibitions, collections and educational programs of the Museum of Florida History and Knott House historical site, and arts recognition programs such as the Artists Hall of Fame program, Poetry Out Loud, the Florida Poet Laureate program, and the promulgation of statutorily required rules for the Art in State Buildings program selection process, which places works of art in state buildings. The Museum of Florida History administers the Traveling Exhibits Program and the Florida History Day.

How does the division distribute grants?

Advisory groups help the division carry out its grant distribution responsibilities. The Florida Council on Arts and Culture, a 15-member advisory board appointed by the Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, provides advice on the creation of new grant programs and oversees existing programs. Over 20 grant review panels organized by discipline and funding levels are appointed by the Secretary of State and are made up of artists, arts-related and museum professionals, and community cultural leaders, who apply established criteria to evaluate requests for funds. The review panels make funding recommendations to the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, which in turn advises the Secretary of State regarding approval. Subsequent to the Secretary's approval, grant recommendations are submitted to the Legislature for funding consideration as part of the department's legislative budget request.

Who is served by the division?

A primary division activity is to provide matching grants to non-profit cultural organizations and fellowships for individual artists. There are several different grant programs offered by the division, including those that support an organization's specific cultural project, and other grants that provide acquisition and construction funding for cultural facilities or matching- funds to establish endowments for non-profit cultural organizations. In Fiscal Year 2018-19, the division reported awarding 506 grants that directly served over 29 million people, including over 9.5 million schoolchildren. 

In addition to providing cultural grants, the Division of Cultural Affairs and Museum of Florida History support activities that affect the entire state, including webinars, workshops, museum exhibits, and loans of collections and artifacts.

How much has been appropriated for grant awards over the last five fiscal years?

As shown below, grant funds available for the division to distribute for art and cultural activities vary by fiscal year. 

 Grant Award Amounts by Fiscal Year
 Fiscal Year Amount1
 2015-16 $42.3
 2016-17 $40.0
 2017-18 $28.0
 2018-19 $6.2
 2019-20 $24.0
 1 In millions.
Source:  Department of State.


How are these activities funded?

The Florida Legislature appropriates funds within the General Revenue Fund, Grants and Donations Trust Fund, and Land Acquisition Trust Fund.  The National Endowment for the Arts awards federal funding annually for the state arts program which is deposited into the Federal Grants Trust Fund. 
Fiscal Year: 2020-21
Fund Dollars Positions


50th Anniversary and New Strategic Plan Goals.  In 2019 the Division of Cultural Affairs celebrated its 50th Anniversary and released its 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.  The new strategic plan emphasizes inclusion as part of its mission for the next five years.  In its new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement the division has pledged to ensure access of Florida's diverse individuals, communities, and perspectives in the planning and implementation of its policies, practices, and programs.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
Annual Report 2019-2020, Division of Cultural Affairs

Arts and Economic Activity Prosperity 5 Report, Americans for the Arts, 2017

Websites of Interest
Division of Cultural Affairs
National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
National Endowment for the Arts, Partnership Agreements
Performance Information

Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Chapters 15 and 265, and s. 255.043, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Sandy Shaughnessy, Director, Division of Cultural Affairs, 850-245-6480, email:  Sandy.Shaughnessy@dos.state.fl.us

Teri Abstein, Grants Supervisor, Division of Cultural Affairs, 850-245-6482, email:  Teri.Abstein@dos.myflorida.com

Lisa Barton, Director, Museum of Florida History, 850-245-6386, email:  Lisa.Barton@dos.myflorida.com