Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative Welcomes Two New Team Members

The Giving Coast

The Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that uses the unifying power of the arts to nurture inclusion and diversity across the regional arts and cultural landscape, welcomes two new team members. Sharon Preston-Folta will serve as program manager for SBAC’s Arts and Racial Justice Discovery Series, and Jaiden Johnson is the new community outreach manager for the Syllabus of Color of Color initiative. Michéle Des Verney Redwine, the founder and executive director of the Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative, says she’s delighted to welcome Preston-Folta and Johnson. “Each brings a strong work ethic, passion for our mission, and a longstanding commitment to community. We look forward to the innovative approaches they will bring to SBAC.” Jaiden Johnson is a vision-driven, market-savvy professional with a keen eye for detail and a passion for streamlining processes and identifying efficiencies. Johnson previously served as director of development and communications for the United Way South Sarasota County, and as special events manager and community outreach/marketing manager for the Suncoast Humane Society. She is also the founder and designer of Social Serenity, a bespoke branding and marketing agency, andgraduated with a BS in organizational leadership from Southeastern University in 2021. As the community outreach manager for SBAC’s three-year Syllabus of Color initiative, Johnson will work in concert with area nonprofits, community centers, schools and institutions of higher learning to engage middle and high school students of color to become more involved in arts education initiatives and opportunities. “Advocates have long established the power of the arts in education,” says Johnson. “Art is critical to a young person’s personal and educational development. But data shows that area-based Black and Latino students are less likely to be consistently involved in arts activities and instruction than their white counterparts—and that’s something we hope to change.” Sharon Preston-Folta has spent a 40-plus-year career in advertising sales and marketing, predominantly as an account executive in radio. She’s worked with such companies as Fairchild Publications and WLNY TV in Long Island, and ABC/Disney and CBS Radio and Emmis Communications in New York City. She recently retired as a senior account executive with WUSF Public Media in Tampa. Preston-Folta’s memoir, “Living in The Shadow of my Father, Louis Daniel Armstrong,” made public the private family life of Louis Armstrong, Lucille “Sweets” Preston, his mistress for 21 years, and their child, Sharon. She’s also the executive producer and narrator of the Emmy Award- winning documentary, “Little Satchmo,” based on her memoir. Preston-Folta received her AA from Westchester Community College and BA in Communication Arts from Iona College. She also earned two degrees from the Institute of Culinary Education. Preston- Folta is a volunteer programmer at WSLR 96.5 LP FM in Sarasota and a member of the Suncoast Women of Action. The Arts and Racial Justice Discovery Series brings artists, arts and civic leaders together for courageous conversations about inclusion and diversity in the arts.

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