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Activist Encourages Donors to Support Local Art Organizations 
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This photo from 2013 recreates the album cover from The Beatles' Abbey Road thanks to four cultural pillars of Lakeland's creative economy: From the left, Alan Reynolds, Lakeland Community Theatre, Daniel Stetson, Polk Museum of Art, Mark Thielen, Imperial Symphony Orchestra, and Polk Theatre's Laura Milton.

Donna Renfroe



Feb 1, 2021  -  For Michael Maguire, art is a lifelong passion. Late last year he put his money where his passion is by writing large checks to nearly a dozen Lakeland arts organizations — and he urges others to do the same.


Maguire made the donations after learning there was a gap between what the organizations requested and what they received in city grant money.


Maguire is an activist and former member of the Lakeland Mayor’s Council on the Arts, which distributes the grants. He wants people in Lakeland to view the arts beyond the dollar sign. Giving is more than just support for the arts, he says.


“It’s investment in creativity,” Maguire says, “investment that generates progress, new thinking, solutions to problems, entertainment and food for the soul.”


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Engage. Invest. Enjoy!

City boosts the creative economy

with grants, marketing push

Cary McMullen



October 7, 2020  -  In spite of the economic and health threats posed by the coronavirus pandemic, arts organizations in Lakeland will continue to receive funding from the city in the coming year. And a new city-funded website and marketing campaign could raise their visibility and viability in the weeks and months ahead.


The Mayor’s Council for the Arts recently announced the recipients of grants for 2020-2021, with a total distributed amount of $235,618, most of the $250,000 the city budgeted for support of the arts.


Workshop seeks consensus for public art policy

TO - Mayor & City Commission

FROM - Tony Delgado, City Manager

February 12, 2020

City Commission Policy Workshop - Art in Public Places Advisory Committee / City Ordinance 4774

Pursuant to discussions among the Mayor & City Commission, a workshop to discuss public policy issues of interest to each elected official is scheduled for Friday, February 14, 2020 at 9:30 a.m., or immediately following Agenda Study, in the City Commission Conference Room. The purpose for this workshop is for the City Commission to discuss the current status of Ordinance 4774 Creating A Public Art Fund; Creating An Art In Public Places Advisory Committee.


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Click on the image above to review the presentation. Click here for the data.


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A proposal for a City of Lakeland Creative Economy Grant Program

Red light fine money

back up for grabs



Red light camera fines, recently freed from legal uncertainty, should be spent to match grants for local artists and art groups “in order to maintain Lakeland’s desirability as a place to live, work and be,” Lakeland resident and local politics blogger Michael Maguire suggested.


Public Investment in the Creative Economy 

Among the notions that might occur to citizens is one that wonders how new initiatives come before the commission.

It can clearly come from the community, as it did in the case of the Confederate Monument, but that seems to have been driven by a national movement that eventually made its way to Lakeland.

Inasmuch as commissioners are prohibited from discussing city business with each other except in public meetings, it seems that it would be difficult to gauge support or interest in an objective that any of them think is important or beneficial.

As an individual, I appeared before the commission on Monday (May 21st) to propose a matching grant program for public investment in the creative economy. Watch the video.

So there is a way. One need merely contact the City Manager's office, make a formal "Request to Appear", and prepare appropriate remarks. You will be heard.

Supreme Court gives green light

to red-light camera operations

TALLAHASSEE — Florida drivers hoping the state Supreme Court will toss out their red-light camera tickets won’t be getting their fines returned.

The court rejected an argument Thursday that the city of Aventura gave too much power to an outside vendor to determine whether photos caught by the cameras were traffic violations.

The ruling preserves the state’s red light camera law, which some lawmakers have unsuccessfully fought to rescind in recent years.


Mike Maguire

It's all about the city's communication

City Finance Director Michael Brossart provided the data below listing all recipients of funds generated by red-light-camera operations in 2009 and 2010. The City discontinued allocation of the funds in response to potential litigation and liability for refunds and/or damages.


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Use the arrows to view the slides from a PowerPoint presentation made to the city commission recently and click on the map below to view the red-light camera locations.

Stephanie Madden

A lot of moms are glad that technology is there

“At the end of the day, these people are breaking the law and all we’re trying to do is enforce the law and protect the public,” Lakeland Police Chief Larry Giddens told the commission before they voted. “I think we have to look at technology to do a better job — they catch every red-light runner. I’d have to have a motorman sit there all day long.”


Bill Read

Nobody likes them, but it changes their behavior

Red-light camera contract renewed, six to Dunn

Once again, Commissioner Dunn stands alone.


This time in opposition to renewing - and extending - the contract with American Traffic Solutions to operate and maintain 18 red-light cameras at 11 intersections within the city.

Commissioners Troller and Read also expressed concerns but after approving a motion by Mr. Troller to direct the city staff to find additional tools and technology to increase transparency and safety, the contract recommendation was approved by a vote of six to one.

The conversation was spirited and engaging and included comments from LPD Chief Larry Giddens as well as the city's traffic operations manager, Angelo Rao.

Highlights are presented here. The entire, unedited discussion can be viewed on the city's Vimeo page. 

Justin Troller 

We need more transparency

Michael Dunn

Why not use the money to hire motor patrol officers?

Scott Franklin, Bill Mutz, and Larry Giddens

Money or safety?

Phillip Walker

Trust the experts

A Ledger Editorial

We are not sure what’s more disappointing: that the Florida Senate failed to take any action on a House bill that soon would have rid the state of red-light cameras. Or that bringing a brand new majority on board the Lakeland City Commission failed to bring new thinking about a misguided policy.

Either way, regrettably, these pole-mounted menaces’ unblinking eye will remain with us for the foreseeable future.


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