St. Johns Cultural Council holds Outstanding Women in the Arts Award Celebration


The St. Johns Cultural Council will hold the tenth annual Recognizing Outstanding Women in the Arts (ROWITA) Awards Celebration on Sunday, March 31 at 3 p.m. in the Limelight Theatre. The free event will honor the six women chosen to receive the 2019 Dr. Gail Pflaster ROWITA Award for their contributions to the artistic environment in St. Johns County. The 2019 honorees are Dr. Dorothy Barrett, Margaret Jimeson, Linda McAnarney, Regina Gayle Phillips, Dr. Susanne Schuenke and Jo Sinclair.

Dr. Dorothy Barrett majored in voice at Westminster Choir College, earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from Rutgers University and received a Doctorate in Education from Columbia University. Dr. Barrett believes that music and the arts provide options and new possibilities for people of all ages. To that end, she volunteers with the St. Augustine Orchestra, the EMMA Concert Association and the string instrument programs at The Webster School, Sebastian Middle School and St. Augustine High School Center for the Arts. 

Margaret Jimeson graduated from the Arts Institute of Baltimore with a master’s degree in Early Art Education. Her lifelong passion for the arts and pottery led her to be the founding member of Clay Network, a Northeast Florida non-profit that provides educational opportunities, contributes to charitable causes in the community and supports the Clay Network’s membership by providing sales opportunities, group support and mentoring. 

Linda McAnarney is a Florida-certified Art Teacher with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and master’s degree in Art Education from Ohio State University. She is the visual art teacher at Julington Creek Elementary School. She constantly seeks ways to develop new relationships between the St. Johns County School District and its community resources. Ms. McAnarney has cultivated collaborations with the Flagler College Art Department, the Mayo Clinic, Compassionate St. Augustine and local artists. 

Regina Gayle Phillips received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from University of Florida.  Ms. Phillips originally came to the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center as a volunteer. Within a short time, the Museum’s Board of Directors recognized her as having the skills to promote and expand the museum. Under her leadership as the museum’s Director, the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center has become a vibrant and historical place to attend concerts, historical presentations and cultural discussions. 

Dr. Susanne Schuenke studied art history during her undergraduate years and received a master’s degree in Art History and a Doctoral Degree in Art History from the University of Cologne. Through her work as a writer/illustrator, curator of exhibitions for local organizations and lecturer/teacher at Flagler College and The Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach, Dr. Schuenke has imparted her belief that art enriches every human’s life. 

Jo Sinclair graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and earned a Master’s in Art Education from Case Western Reserve University. She has shared her passion for creative encounters throughout her diverse career as a professional artist and as an art educator of youth and adults at Flagler College, Ketterlinus Elementary School, The Cultural Center of Ponte Vedra Beach, Butterfield Garage Gallery and other local organizations. 

The Jr. ROWITA Fellowship will also be awarded during the celebration. The Fellowship is a scholarship for graduating high school women who intend to develop their artistic skills through continued study and training. A meet and greet reception will follow the afternoon program. 

 The Dr Gail Pflaster ROWITA award recognizes the impact and influence women have made to the literary, visual and performing arts in St. Johns County. The idea for the award was conceived by the late Dr. Pflaster, a local writer and committed arts supporter.

 “There was no one in the community celebrating our local women arts leaders, so Dr. Pflaster and I created ROWITA,” said Joy D’Elia, St. Johns Cultural Council ROWITA Program Coordinator. “The ROWITA award identifies women who have inspired and vitalized our arts community in St. Johns County through their art and actions. I am constantly amazed and inspired by the women we have honored each year.”

The Limelight Theatre is located 11 Old Mission Avenue in St. Augustine. Nominations for the ROWITA awards come from the general public. Applications for the Jr. ROWITA Fellowship must be submitted by the student seeking the Fellowship. Both applications are on the Cultural Council’s website at For more information, call the St. Johns Cultural Council at (904) 808-7330. 


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