Cultural Council announces the replacement for Andy Witt

Christina Parrish-Stone, who was the director of programming for the Friends of Hemming Park for the past two years, will take over as executive director of the St. Johns Cultural Council.  The council’s board unanimously voted to bring her on board Wednesday night.

Parrish-Stone has spent the past five years helping revitalize downtown Jacksonville and nearby Springfield.  She said in the announcement that she wasn’t looking to leave Hemming Park until a recruiter contacted her.  She joined the Friends of Hemming Park in November 2017. Before that, she was executive director at the Springfield Revitalization and Preservation Council for almost three years.

“There is a great opportunity, because of my previous position, for collaboration between Duval and St. Johns counties,” Parrish-Stone said. “I have some ideas to collaborate with groups that are already working in St. Johns County and helping them increase their reach.”

In her new job, she said she’ll work to spotlight areas of St. Johns that don’t receive the attention they deserve.  She cited the agricultural-centric area of Hastings as an example.  She’ll be working with the Hemming Park group for the next month and then join the St. Johns Cultural Council in December.  In coming months, she said, she’ll be moving to St. Johns County.

“People tend to think about St. Augustine or Ponte Vedra Beach when they think about St. Johns County,” Parrish-Stone said. “There are some rural areas, such as Hastings, that have a long history related to food and the farm-to-table movement. There are chances to celebrate that part of the county.”

Parrish Stone said that a successor for her position at Friends of Hemming Park has not been selected yet, but that the timing of her departure could be beneficial.

Parrish Stone will be replacing Executive Director Andrew Witt, who announced his intent to retire earlier this year. Witt said in his announcement that the Cultural Council would be rolling out a revised strategic plan focusing on tourism, local arts, and cultural services development.  He added that his replacement would be a key component in this plan.

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