• Jorge Peña selected to receive the 2021 Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures Award

  • Jorge Peña selected to receive the 2021 Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures Award
    Noted violist and co-founder of the St. Augustine Music Festival honored by The Community Foundation
    JACKSONVILLE, Florida – January 11, 2021 —Jorge Peña, veteran member of the Jacksonville Symphony
    Orchestra, and artistic director and co-founder of the St. Augustine Music Festival, was presented with
    the Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures Award last week. The presentation was made in front of his
    colleagues in the Jacoby Symphony Hall as they prepared for the Florida Blue Masterworks Series
    performance on Friday night. Peña has performed with the Symphony for 23 seasons.
    Peña and his wife, Jin Kim-Peña, co-founded the St. Augustine Music Festival fifteen years ago. They
    envisioned a free classical music concert series designed to celebrate the rich artistic and cultural
    traditions of St. Augustine. He was determined to make the event accessible and enjoyable for all. Its
    mission is to ‘Entertain, Educate and Elevate,’ and since inception, the St. Augustine Music Festival has
    been free of charge. Over the years, the festival has presented an array of world-renowned soloists and
    ensembles, while also providing a stage for talented local musicians and has been featured on NPR’s
    Performance Today.
    “Jorge’s mastery of the viola and contributions to the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra are notable in
    themselves, but he has gone on to share his passion for classical music well beyond traditional audiences,”
    noted Martha Frye Baker, Ann McDonald Baker’s daughter-in-law and chair of the board of trustees of
    The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. “His generosity of spirit is exactly what we had in mind
    five years ago when we established this award to honor Ann’s devotion to making our community a better
    place through the arts, and Jorge is a significant contributor to that model.”
    The Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures Award recognizes an artist whose work brings distinction to
    Northeast Florida, and is named for the late Ann McDonald Baker, whose leadership helped create and
    nurture such vital cultural gems such as The Community Foundation’s Art Ventures Fund, the Arts
    Assembly (now the Cultural Council), Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, and Greenscape, among
    others. As this year’s Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures award recipient, Peña received a $15,000
    unrestricted grant.
    Peña serves as conductor and music director of the Golden Isles Youth Orchestra, and General Manager
    of the Coastal Symphony of Georgia in Brunswick. He has conducted master classes and coached at LaVilla
    School of the Arts, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and the University of North Florida. He is an
    instructor for the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra and was on the faculty of Prelude Chamber
    Music Camp.
    The selection process for the Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures Award includes a knowledgeable,
    anonymous panel of advisors who put forward a short list of finalists after considering a wide range of
    deserving artists in all disciplines throughout the year. A Selection Committee (a member of the Baker
    family, a Trustee of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, a representative from the advisory
    panel and The Community Foundation president) reviews the finalists and names the winner. Past
    recipients include Terrance Patterson, David Engdahl, Jim Draper, Louise Freshman Brown and John
    Bunker.
    (
    Art Ventures
    For decades, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida has invested in the local cultural
    community as part of an exceptional initiative known as Art Ventures. In 1989, the National Endowment
    for the Arts (NEA) chose Jacksonville to receive $50,000/year for four years, provided that The Community
    Foundation and (at the time) The Arts Assembly work together to raise $100,000/year in unrestricted gifts
    over the same period. The challenge was a success, and the first grants were made in 1990. Art Ventures
    provides support for the more fragile part of the arts community—emerging individual artists and small
    arts organizations—and it has provided more than $1 million in grants to individuals and small arts
    organizations since its inception. In 2015, The Community Foundation created the Ann McDonald Baker
    Art Ventures Award to honor the late Ann Baker, who led the initial Art Ventures fundraising with
    Courtenay Wilson, and who chaired The Community Foundation Board of Trustees from 2002-2003.
    About The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida
    The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida (www.jaxcf.org), Florida’s oldest and largest community
    foundation, works to stimulate philanthropy to build a better community. The Foundation helps donors
    invest their philanthropic gifts wisely, helps nonprofits serve the region effectively, and helps people come
    together to make the community a better place. Now in its 57th year, the Foundation has assets of
    approximately $480 million and has made grants of approximately $550 million since 1964.