Tax Collector Gives Back, Raises $100,000 for Elementary Art Programs

Students to be Honored at Kids Tag Art Pinellas Award Ceremony

CLEARWATER, FL – Clay, paint, markers, paper. Quality classroom art supplies don’t come cheap, and it can be difficult for public schools to dedicate enough dollars to the arts. But a program that allows 5th graders to design their own custom license plates has stepped in big time, providing elementary art teachers between $800 to over $1,000 apiece to keep their classrooms stocked.

It’s called Kids Tag Art Pinellas, an unconventional partnership between the Pinellas County Tax Collector’s Office and Pinellas County Schools. And by all accounts, it’s working. In just three years, Kids Tag Art Pinellas has raised $100,000 for elementary art programs and college scholarships. Statewide, the Kids Tag Art program is expected to reach the $1 million mark in 2018.

On Thursday, January 18, 5th grade student artists will be honored at the Kids Tag Art Pinellas Award Ceremony. The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Largo High School auditorium. This free public event honors top designs hand-picked by a panel of retired Pinellas County art teachers. Event organizers hope to fill the 700-seat auditorium with supporters.

“This is our opportunity to tell children, right before they hit middle school, that they are creative and talented and deserve positive recognition. Our hope is that Kids Tag Art Pinellas inspires them to see themselves in a different light,” said Pinellas County Tax Collector Charles W. Thomas.

2,000 students from 43 Pinellas County schools – more than half of which are designated as Title I – participated in the program this school year.

While most people associate Tax Collectors with taking money, Thomas says his office is different.

“Giving back is a big part of who we are, and I couldn’t ask for a more community-minded team. In addition to Kids Tag Art Pinellas, employees are donating money out of their own paychecks for casual dress Fridays to support Suncoast Animal League. Around the holidays, we had employees collecting socks for the homeless. That speaks volumes about our culture of giving,” said Thomas.

The metal vanity front license plates cost $15 each with $3.50 shipping and handling and can be purchased online at www.kidstagartpinellas.org. Proceeds are donated to Pinellas County elementary art classrooms as well as a fine arts scholarship fund at St. Petersburg College.

In addition to tag sales, Kids Tag Art Pinellas is made possible by generous community sponsors, including Platinum Sponsor Baystar Restaurant Group as well as Sunshine State Tag Agency, Tag Agency of Pinellas, Dex Imaging, Direct Mail Systems, Bill 2 Pay, D Print, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Freedom Boat Club and Lauren’s Kids. If you are interested in sponsoring Kids Tag Art Pinellas or would like to make a donation, please visit www.kidstagartpinellas.org.

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ABOUT THE PINELLAS COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICE: The Pinellas County Tax Collector’s Office is a constitutionally elected office. Responsibilities include collecting and distributing state and local taxes and providing driver license and motor vehicle registration services to Pinellas County residents. The Office received the 2013 Governor’s Sterling Award and the 2016 Governor’s Sterling Sustained Excellence Award for performance excellence. For more information visit www.taxcollect.com/news.