About COCA

Mission & History

Mission

The 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.

 

Vision

As a community, Tallahassee and Leon County will embrace the arts as an integral part of its quality of life.

 

Values

  • We value collaboration and we provide opportunities for residents and visitors to connect with the creative community. 
  • We value integrity and we engage in transparent and honest practices, striving for excellence in our stewardship over resources. 
  • We value inclusivity within our cultural community and promote the acceptance of diverse individuals, ideas and artistic expressions. 

 

 

History

The Council on Culture & Arts (COCA) is officially designated as the local arts agency for Tallahassee and Leon County by the city, county, and state, and marks more than 30 years of service to the community. COCA is the agency charged with taking the lead in implementation of the Capital Area Cultural Plan, and has excellent existing relationships with the City, County, and local and surrounding arts and business communities. COCA’s professional staff has extensive experience in all aspects of arts administration. 

Serving a diverse and expanding community, COCA's constituency in the immediate area includes more than 300 cultural organizations and businesses, more than 3,500 individual practicing artists, City, County, and State governments, a growing community of nearly 284,000 Leon County residents, and an additional 517,000 residents of surrounding counties within a 100 mile radius. 

COCA was created by a County resolution in 1985 and its role cemented by an interlocal agreement that makes it the designated arts agency for both Tallahassee and Leon County. Prior to a re-structuring in 1993, the organization had a budget of $35,000 and one part-time employee, its primary task being to publish a newsletter. COCA currently has a budget of over $1 million, and employs a full-time staff of five. 

After the re-structuring, COCA (then known as the Cultural Resources Commission) began contracting to provide services to local government, managing cultural granting programs and an art in public places program in two public galleries. COCA's programs have grown steadily and include these contracted programs as well as many others. COCA's constituency has also grown to include its surrounding sixteen rural counties, all of which are considered underserved and have few cultural resources of their own. 

In 2003, COCA assisted the City, County, and a citizen’s steering committee in creating a community-wide Cultural Plan, and was charged with overseeing the implementation of that plan. In 2012, The City of Tallahassee appointed community volunteers to review the 2003 community Cultural Plan. Two COCA board members served on that committee and after 18 months of stake holder interviews, focus groups, and public meetings, the review committee presented recommended actions. The Capital Area Cultural Plan was accepted by the City and County Commissions in 2014 and COCA has again, been charged with implementing it. The plan identifies community needs, defines goals, and recommends actions that will strengthen the cultural community while enhancing our region's quality of life and economic development. A Cultural Plan Advisory committee is prioritizing the initiatives within the Cultural Plan, based on available resources. 

In 2013, after more than 20 years of leadership, COCA’s Executive Director stepped down. While a national search was launched for a new leader, a senior COCA staff member assumed the temporary role of Interim Executive Director and oversaw the operations and management of the organization during the transitional period. In 2014, COCA announced the hiring of a permanent Executive Director and, building on an already strong foundation, she is leading the organization into the next phase of its evolution.