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Jacksonville Cultural Council Director Stepping Down

Dennis Ho
Folio Weekly
Tony Allegretti (right)

Tony Allegretti, who’s helmed the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville for the last four years, is stepping down to pursue a “significant opportunity” and “build on my family’s entrepreneurial endeavors.”

In a letter to the community and Cultural Council stakeholders Friday, Allegretti said he was “very proud of all that we have accomplished in the past four years,” but he has asked the council’s board of directors “to begin transition planning in finding the Cultural Council’s next Executive Director.”

During his tenure at the public agency, Allegretti said he helped “overhaul” the grant making process, paving the way for more applicants and a greater distribution of cultural funds. He said he’s also proud of spearheading efforts that led to “significant gains towards racial and ethnic diversity on the boards of our grant funded organizations.”

Allegretti also said the last four years have seen the expansion of internships, public art pieces and the creation of new cultural events.

In an interview with WJCT Friday, Allegretti said he never pictured the gig going longer than five years.

“It’s a really challenging position in that there’s multiple bosses. I have a board that determines the direction the agency, but I also answer to 19 city council members and I answer to the [mayor’s] administration and I answer to 990,000 Duvalians,” he said.

As the director, Allegretti was responsible for being the public face of the organization and for being its chief spokesman to government agencies.

“It can be a tough job. I was definitely up to the challenge and still am [really]. I’m going to get it to a great place for the next boy or girl that comes in and really will be able to nail it. It’s not so much that I’m ready to sort of tap out,” he said.

Allegretti characterized his departure as necessary for the council to continue to grow and evolve. He’s hoping the expansion he oversaw would draw in qualified candidates from around the country.

He said he’d be around for the next six months during the search for his successor — and to help shepherd through his largest budget proposal of his tenure — $4 million. If Mayor Lenny Curry puts the request in his budget and Council approves, it would be the largest budget for the arts council since 2002, Allegretti said.

He was tight-lipped on what his upcoming ventures would be.

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.