Association of Florida Teaching Artists
1226 N Tamiami Trail # 201
Sarasota FL 34236
The Association of Florida Teaching Artists, Inc.(AFTA) is an association of professional artists who offer literacy arts-infused programs to underserved youth  and the community as a whole to develop and enhance educational experiences through the arts.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Mary Julia Kelly
Board Chair Ms. Judy Levine
Board Chair Affiliation Retired
General Info
Organization DBA
Association of Florida Teaching Artists, Inc.
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2015
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Oct 2018
State Registration Yes June 2017
Financial Summary
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement

AFTA 2015: Served 207 youth at two sites during 8 weeks’ summer program. Newtown Estates Parks & Recreation Center the Tuttle Salvation Army sponsored by a private donor.

AFTA 2016: Served 395 youth at 6 sites during 8 weeks’ summer program supported by a private donor and partnered with the Grade Level Reading Campaign (GLR).

Newtown Estates & Roy McBean Boys & Girls Club, Emma Booker Elementary, Visible Men Academy, Desoto and Englewood Boys & Girls Clubs. Participated in the Mind in the Making program (MITM), a program that provides parents and teachers insight as to how to support early learning skills for children from birth to age 5.

Plan for 2017: AFTA summer camp services for approximately 525 youth at 6 sites for 4-9 weeks. Robert Taylor Community Complex; Janie’s Garden; Sarasota Housing; 13th Avenue Dream Center, Palmetto Youth Center; ALSO Youth Center. AFTA will continue to partner with the GLR and MITM programs; train new teaching artists and assess.

Needs Statement

1. $75,000 operating cost 

2. Financial support to increase staff by 2 people

3. Professional Development support

4. Help identifying and retaining board members

5. $7500 to buy cultural relevant books

Background Statement

Education across America is under intense scrutiny as to what every child will need in order to succeed in the 21st Century. Studies have shown that early childhood education is critical in preparing children to enter and succeed in the elementary school classroom. By stressing literacy, it diminishes their risk of social-emotional mental health problems and increases their self-sufficiency as youth and adults. The Association of Florida Teaching Artists seek to address these concerns by providing diverse programs to schools and youth centers in our communities with a focus on literacy and arts-infused experiences.

The Association of Florida Teaching Artists was founded in 2012 and became a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 organization in January 2015. Our mission is committed to expanding out of school time programs through process based arts-infused learning to engage disadvantaged, “at-risk” youth currently in South West Florida. This process based arts-infused approach is designed to close the achievement gap and promote the development of literacy, social and communication skills among the youth we serve.

Our organization trains artists in our community to understand the educational needs of our youth and to create literacy and arts-infused lessons that provide challenging and rewarding educational experiences. This is accomplished by engaging the participants in creating art-forms such as: writing a book, storytelling, theater activities, making a mask, learning a dance, film making, musical composition or making a documentary. The participants also examine works of art, understand the history and culture of the art as they listen, read, explore and create.

Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
FL- Lee
FL- Charlotte
FL- DeSoto
FL- Hardee
Areas Served Comments

AFTA’s goal is to provide literacy based arts-infused  programming in the underserved/underrepresented Sarasota/Manatee communities that are home base for our artists. However, AFTA artists travel and serve in many communities throughout the state. 

Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Youth Development
Tertiary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

The mission of the Association of Florida Teaching Artists (AFTA) is to provide quality arts and educational services to schools, communities and institutions.  AFTA is a collaboration of individual artists integrating their art form with a goal to promote literacy skills.   As incoming President of the Board, I believe in this mission and seek to use my skills to increase the role that the arts and our teaching artists can play in our community.

Last year, from January – August 2017, AFTA was able to provide 530 workshops and serve 7,352 students and contract with 23 artists to provide arts in education programs at the ten youth centers we worked in. We partnered with the Patterson Foundation’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading.  AFTA developed a library of culturally diverse books for the artists to use as a resource to base their art workshops that promotes literacy, vocabulary and comprehension as well as art technique. We also provided three workshops per month to residents of the Pines of Sarasota, a senior facility. It integrated music and pre-school children with the seniors. We provided 3 arts in education programs for the young people who are a part of ALSO Youth in Sarasota.

In 2018 my goal is to grow the workshops for k-5 students, reach out to the teen population at the Robert Taylor Center in Sarasota and have the artists develop a summer program to engage them in spoken word, music, multi-media arts and dance.  I would also like to initiate a program in the underserved community to focus on the senior population. Many of these seniors do not get out to socialize and make use of their community center. It is my sincere hope that this program will provide an arts and enrichment opportunity as a way to form a community of learners to further socialization and address the isolation identified by the director of the affordable housing setting. One more goal that I have is to expand the use of technology as a means to reach out to more students, students with disabilities, to more artists to learn from our activities and to the community in general. 

Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
The Association of Florida Teaching Artists, Inc. (AFTA) was created in 2012 as an ad hoc collaboration of individual artists sharing a passion for the important work that Teaching Artists (TAs) do in schools, communities and institutions. These TAs are individual artists who also teach and are not affiliated with the established Arts providers who have employed artists as members of their organizations. As a unique Artists in Education hybrid, the Teaching Artists have the opportunity to interact with people of all ages and cultures, demonstrating the critical role the arts can play in their personal lives, social interactions, and educational success. AFTA seeks to become a voice for and serve as the heART for Florida Teaching Artists, sharing information and quality professional services, creating networks for employers and TAs to find one another, partnering with other organizations and expanding awareness of the value of Teaching Artists. The Association of Florida Teaching Artists, Inc. was formed to bring them together to share the excitement and challenges of their work, ideas, concerns, and resources. The Association of Florida Teaching Artists, Inc. is a unique organizational model we form partnerships with other organizations and offer opportunities to the members. We pre-screen the artists and monitor the quality of their work offering mentorship where needed. While our main focus is out of school time and many of our members are qualified to facilitate in the classroom. For at-risk students, high- and low-achieving, AFTAs afterschool programs emphases on and identifies the concepts that students struggle with during the school day. These afterschool program endeavors to expand students exposure and understanding of core curriculum utilizing an arts-infused approach. A student unable to master fractions might understand them in a dance context, learning through active, tangible quarter steps and half turns. Everyone who can speak can tell stories. The listeners create the setting of the story in their minds. Students who search their memories for details about an event as they are telling it orally will later find those details easier to capture in writing. Our summer camp programs help reduce student summer learning loss by offering engaging literacy based arts-infused programs. Students who feel displaced or dispirited in traditional classroom settings often find a place to shine and excel outside of the classroom and are better able to understand core curriculum principles when they are explained through creative activities.

AFTA-Afterschool program focus is on identifying the concepts that students struggle with during the school day. This afterschool time program endeavors to expand students’ exposure and understanding of core curriculum utilizing a literacy based arts-infused approach. A student unable to master fractions might understand them in a dance context, learning through active, tangible quarter steps and half turns. Studies have shown that students participating in creative programming report that they are better able to understand core curriculum principles when they are explained through creative activities. Students who feel displaced or dispirited in traditional classroom settings often find a place to shine and excel outside of the classroom, equipping them with the self-esteem to push themselves intuitively and find the motivation to work harder.

Budget $33,927
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Artists' Services
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served At-Risk Populations Minorities K-12 (5-19 years)
Short Term Success These students will be exposed to professional artists who offer a high quality and a wide range of arts related activities. They will be engaged in learning without the constraints of the classroom. This program is designed to remove students' barriers to learning by: Engaging them in expressive, creative and artistic skills; Supporting their educational needs and encouraging their individual growth; And developing their personal and social skills  by improving their confidence and self-esteem.  
Long Term Success

AFTA's arts based programs will help strengthen the overall health of families in the underserved/underrepresented communities in Sarasota County by providing a safe and creative educational environment during after-school hours. 

At the same time, the “AFTA Afterschool” program will empower participating youths by providing a creative outlet for the multitude of emotions and problems that permeate their lives as they develop intellectually, emotionally, and socially during their elementary and/or middle school years.

Program Success Monitoring

Participants/Students will complete a pre and post survey

Site Coordinators will record attendance and student progress

Students will be encouraged to journal their experience

End of session culminating event - a final performance or exhibit to showcase student work for families, friends and community

Photographs and videos of students working with artists will document the program

Participants will demonstrate academic improvement as measured by quarterly report cards, volunteer and student feedback.

Program Success Examples The Newtown Estates Parks and Recreation Center (County District) has had no programming for the children in the Newtown Estates.  AFTA is filling a gap in after-school programming for this community.

The Association of Florida Teaching Artists, Inc. (AFTA) Summer Camp programs are high-quality summer arts experiences for youth. We partner with schools and community organization offering literacy based art-infused programs. AFTA’s teaching artists submit an eight weeks outline of their process based program for Pre-K through 8th grades. These programs are highly interactive and engaging for the youth. AFTA members are independent artists we offer them opportunities to work at various locations. AFTA programs are educational; help mitigate summer learning loss; support the growth of young people improving their confidence and self-esteem by engaging youth in creative fun activities.

Budget $75,184
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Artists' Services
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served At-Risk Populations K-12 (5-19 years) Infants to Preschool (under age 5)
Short Term Success AFTA programs provide 8 weeks of  literacy based arts-infused programs during the summer for over 400 youth. These programs are facilitated in a safe environment, provide creative engaging activities for youth development and help mitigate summer learning loss. 
Long Term Success The benefits of AFTA programs are that the youth are in a safe environment for the summer.  They are engaged in fun learning activities. Student will be more prepared for the academic school year. 
Program Success Monitoring Our program was documented by student participation, ethnicity, gender and age, a short post survey, photos and a video of the classes. We are working on a more formal assessment. 
Program Success Examples We provide programs for various organizations for youth and families. I often meet parents or children that have participated in our programs. They tell me what they enjoyed and want to participate in other programs provide by AFTA.  Some parent will tell me how our programs have improved and encouraged their children's participation in school. 
Program Comments by Organization

 Arts play a vital role in the education of children’s mental and physical well-being and life-long learning. Florida communities that emphasis the arts integrated into the core content areas of the school curriculum prove to be the most successful. This recognition has created a demand for the unique skills possessed by Teaching Artists who have been trained to integrate the arts and literacy.

Our AFTA “out of school-time’ programs focus on and identify the concepts that low achieving, at-risk students struggle with in school. AFTA teaching artists expand students’ exposure and understanding of core curriculum utilizing an arts-infused approach. Our summer camp programs help reduce student summer learning loss by offering engaging literacy based arts programs. These services are offered at no cost to our students.



CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Mary Julia Kelly
CEO Term Start Feb 2015
CEO/Executive Director Email

Mary J. Kelly, MFA is a celebrated performance artist, teaching artist, playwright, and professional storyteller with a Master of Fine Arts (Theater/Performance/Production) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theater Education) from Arizona State University Tempe, Arizona. Mary has over with 30 years’ experience; instructing students’ pre-k through college, consulting and facilitating for private and non-profit organizations providing customize instructional materials and implementing effective programs.

Mary is a founder and Executive Director of the Association of Florida Teaching Artists, Inc. (AFTA) an association of professional artists who offer arts-infused programs to young people and the community as a whole to develop and further the educational experience through the arts. Founded in 2012 AFTA became a 501 (c) 3 in January 2015.

Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Ms. Mary Julia Kelly Executive Director
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 2
Staff Retention Rate % N/A
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 30
Volunteers 5
Management Reports to Board N/A
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
The Association of Florida Teaching Artists, Inc. collaborations have been with Sarasota Contemporary Dance Company and Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading.
Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County2012
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Commercial General Liability
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Management Comments by Organization

Challenges for management have been (1) we have a unique structure for a nonprofit, (2) managing artists has been referred to as “trying to herd cats,” (3) getting the community information about our organization, (4)  funds to accomplish our mission and general funds to support the organization and (5) finding people to take on core leadership responsibilities to develop a strong Board of Directors.

AFTA is continually working on building relationships with community partners and marketing through social media. We are getting the members involved with promoting our programs. We also support community programs for youth and families. AFTA is diligently seeking new funding sources and working with a person who has experience in grant writing. We have elected a new Board President who is assisting with board development.

Multi-Media Comments by Organization This is an example of our summer camp program. 


Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Judy Levine
Company Affiliation Retired
Board Term Jan 2018 to Jan 2020
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Ms Mary Julia Kelly Executive Director, AFTA
Ms Judy G Levine Artist/Educator and Community Volunteer
Mr Andrew Salgado Artist/Educator and Community Volunteer
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 1
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 1
Female 2
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 99
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Board Meeting Attendance % 100
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Standing Committees
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Governance Comments by Organization

The founding members supported the association from 2012-2014. We then received a grand from the Johnson Singer Foundation in March 2015 which enabled AFTA to become a 501(c)3 and begin our programming.

At the February 29, 2016 Board Meeting of the Association of Florida Teaching Artists, we identified our needs. (1) Expand the Board. (2) Explore and expand funding opportunities. (3) Build a diverse governing board, teaching artist membership and literacy based arts programs. (4) Identify individuals who are knowledgeable in the areas of Arts-in-Education assessment and those with fundraising experience.

At the January 2017 Board meeting we elected Andy Salgado to become Board President. We informed the new Board President about creating a mentorship program to recruit and train young artists in all art disciplines and from diverse backgrounds. At present, we do have representation in terms of race, nationality, gender, religious affiliation, age and sexual orientation among our members, teaching artists and Board of Directors. We are expanding both our Board of Directors and our Advisory Board. Board Development will be a priority throughout the year.


Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Start Month Jan
Fiscal Year Start Day 01
Fiscal Year Begins 2018
Fiscal Year End Month Dec
Fiscal Year End Day 31
Fiscal Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $115,000.00
Projected Expenses $115,000.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations No
Organization has Endowment No
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
IRS Form 990s
Audit/Financial Documents
Historical Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$75,588$59,242$28,764
Administration Expense$22,218$7,084$4,829
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.871.541.01
Program Expense/Total Expenses77%89%86%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$27,639$39,967$0
Current Assets$27,639$39,967$0
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$0$0$0
Total Net Assets$27,639$39,967$0
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountFoundation & Corporate Support $84,493Contributions, gifts, grants $102,130Contributions, gifts, grants $33,985
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountMembership Dues $4500 $00 $0
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $500 $00 $0
CEO/Executive Director Compensation N/A
Co-CEO/Executive Director Compensation N/A
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%--
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization

AFTA is a relatively new and modest organization. We are quite fortunate in having the Johnson-Singer Foundation supporting our organization.  Our goal is to grow and become a more visible organization expanding our reach in the arts and education community. We seek to train younger and more diverse artists and to further diversify our programming and reach more students, parents and teachers. We plan to form partnerships with members of our college and university communities. We will continue working with our development person to increase our revenue to expand our programming.

Financial Comments by Foundation Financial information for 2015 taken from unaudited compilation as the organization filed a 990-N.  No balance sheet information provided for 2015. For 2016, financial information taken from the organization's Federal 990-EZ.  For 2017, financial information taken from the unaudited compilations as the Federal tax return was not available at time of review.
Nonprofit Association of Florida Teaching Artists
Address 1226 N Tamiami Trail # 201
Sarasota, FL 34233
Phone 941 960-1210