The City of Wilton Manors recognizes the importance of art, in its many forms, and the impact art has on our quality of life.

Arts and culture are such an integral part of our identity as a community that our city commission has identified the development of a public arts and culture policy as a key objective within our 2021-2026 strategic plan. While progress is being made on that goal, one important reality to acknowledge is that we lack the needed resources within our city’s budget to fully fund all the possibilities I’d personally love to see come to life. I continue to seek ways to work with the non-profits and philanthropic individuals within our community to fund arts-related initiatives in our city.

As city commissioner, I often brag about the fact that we are the only city in the world to have two full-time, year-round gay theaters that operate side by side (The Foundry and Island City Stage). This past year, I joined the board of Plays of Wilton (POW), an LGBTQ theater incubator that funds the development and production of LGBTQ theater in Wilton Manors and beyond. It has been so rewarding to connect with our community through POW’s work.

When POW’s Founder, Ronnie Larsen, suggested that hosting a National Playwriting Award would deepen our city’s connection to the LGBT theater community and attract national attention, I committed to finding a way to fund it. Playwriters from around the world will be invited to submit their script, teams of script readers will score them, and the winner will receive a cash award along with the possibility of having their work brought to the stage right here in Wilton Manors.

To celebrate my 40th birthday this past week, I asked our community to help create and fund the POW National Playwriting Award through a Facebook fundraiser. As usual, our community stepped up! I wish to express my gratitude to the 70+ donors that stepped up to fund the award, raising more than $6,000 so far.

We raised more than we originally planned, allowing us to expand our vision with additional prize categories and increase our community outreach effort for submissions. It is our intention to ensure that our entire community, including trans, Black, brown, lesbian, and bisexual are represented in LGBT theater. Two ways we will ensure that happens are by having submissions reviewed without their authors identified and creating a specific category focusing on the diverse experiences of our community. Plays of Wilton will be sharing specific details in the coming months at PlaysOfWilton.com.

Once again, I’d like to thank everyone who invested in LGBT theater in our community and the POW National Playwriting Award. I invite the community to continue to think about unique ways we can fund arts initiatives. If you have an idea you’d like to share, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text me at 954.557.2801.

- Chris Caputo, Wilton Manors City Commissioner


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