St. Johns Cultural Council’s ROWITA ceremony to be held March 11 at Limelight Theatre


The St Johns Cultural Council will hold its ninth annual ROWITA (Recognizing Outstanding Women In The Arts) celebration ceremony March 11 at 6 p.m. at the Limelight Theatre.

Located at 11 Old Mission Avenue in St. Augustine, the free event will be an evening of celebration and recognition of the four women chosen to receive the 2018 Dr. Gail Pflaster ROWITA Award for their achievements and contributions to the arts in St. Johns County. The 2018 honorees are Lynda M. Brandt, Deborah Dickey, Carolyn Juliet Fisher and Laurie Allen Klein.

Brandt has spent her life in the arts, mostly as a self-trained artist. She has taught art classes at the St. Johns County Council on Aging and is a board member of the St. Augustine School of the Performing Arts, a co-founder of Artbreakers and a member of the Ancient City Poets. Her work has been displayed in venues from Paris to London and New York to Laguna Beach. Her paintings are held in private collections around the world, including the portrait of the late President Ronald Reagan, along with portraits of past Ohio governor George Voinovich and several senators. In 2004, Brandt underwent brain surgery for a rare and usually deadly tumor. After three years of rehabilitation, she returned to painting. Since then, Brandt has donated her time, talent and artwork to fundraisers for numerous local organizations.

Dickey is a playwright and theatre director who received a Master of Fine Arts in acting and directing from the University of Florida. She is a board member of A Classic Theatre in St. Augustine, where she serves as a producer and director. She has a special interest in Florida themes, and her most recent play, “Sweet Emmaline: The Musical Journey of Debbie McDade,” tells the story of a local artist who achieved fame as a jazz singer. Another play, “Cross Roads: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Norton S. Baskin in Unguarded Moments,” tells the story of two prominent St. Augustine residents. It premiered in 2012 under her direction during the Romanza Festivale. Dickey has served as co-producer for over 20 local productions for A Classic Theatre. She also works as a dramaturg and director of new play development.

Fisher received a Bachelor of Arts in education from Bethune Cookman University and a master’s degree in education from the University of North Florida. She was a school teacher in the St. Johns County School District for 35 years, receiving Osceola Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year award in 1998. Her other true passion is singing, and she began ministering through song at a very early age. Fisher has provided her singing talents to many organizations in St. Johns County and can be found singing at churches, weddings, funerals, festivals, schools, birthdays and other celebrations. She has performed at the 30th Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Breakfast, the 2014 Civil Rights celebration at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church and the 2016 memorial service for the civil rights leader, Dr. Robert B. Hayling. She sang for ACCORD, (Anniversary to Commemorate the Civil Rights Demonstrations, Inc.) events from 2004 through 2014.

Klein is a book illustrator and artist whose work has impacted tourism, environmental causes and education in St. Johns County. Her creations can be found in the hallways and cafeterias of St. Johns County schools, at tourist attractions around the area and on the shelves of local libraries. Klein’s artwork has transformed many a drab hallway or cafeteria where her adventurous murals depict ecosystems in exotic places that can’t help but spur the imagination of all who see them. 

The winners of the Jr. ROWITA Fellowships, a scholarship for graduating high school women who intend to develop their artistic skills through continued study and training, will also be recognized during the ceremony. A reception will follow the ceremony.   

The Dr Gail Pflaster ROWITA is awarded each year to honor the contributions women have made to the artistic environment in St Johns County. It was founded by the late Dr. Pflaster, a local writer and committed arts supporter.

Nominations for the awards come from the public. To submit a nomination for the 2019 awards, visit Applications are due by December 1 of each year.