Sarah Crooks Honored with the 2023 Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures Award

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JACKSONVILLE, Florida – February 7, 2024 – Sarah Crooks, a multidisciplinary ecofeminist artist who has made significant contributions to the Northeast Florida community for more than three decades, has been honored by The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida with the 2023 Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures Award. 

The award is bestowed annually in recognition of a gifted local artist whose work brings distinction to Northeast Florida. The award is named for the late Ann McDonald Baker, the first woman to serve as the chair of the Board of Trustees of The Community Foundation, and includes a $10,000 unrestricted grant for the recipient.

Sarah Crooks blends art with environmental science, reimagining human relationships with the natural environments of Northeast Florida. Crooks was honored at The Community Foundation’s annual Board of Trustees dinner on February 6.

“Sarah shares a love for many of the things that inspired my mother: love of nature, education, and service to the community,” said Sally Lee, award selection chair and daughter of Ann McDonald Baker. “These intersections, as well as the sheer beauty of Sarah’s work, made her a natural choice for this year’s award.”

A creative placemaking leader, Sarah’s collaborations include Cathedral Arts Project, The St. Johns Riverkeeper, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, The Museum of Science and History, The East Coast Greenway Alliance. Sarah has been a featured presenter at The Bioneers national convention, the Association for Literature and the Environment, and Children’s Nature Network conferences. Sarah’s work has been exhibited and collected by corporations, healing centers, public libraries and private individuals.

Her multi-disciplinary series of project Home is Here based on the gift of water, received major funding from the State of Florida in 2019, and activated public spaces throughout the watershed of the St. Johns. Sarah was selected to create original artworks representing the state of Florida for the National Holiday Tree at the White House in 2015.

A BFA honors graduate (UNF, 1989), Crooks trained as a Botanical Illustrator (NYBG, 1999), is certified as a Florida Master Naturalist (UF/IFAS, 2014) and earned her MA in Arts in Medicine (UF, 2022). Her current research centers on dis/placement, homelessness and mental health and will open at the Jessie DuPont Ball Center Corner Gallery this May. Learn more at

“Sarah’s work takes us on a journey to understand ourselves and our environment in new ways,” said Isaiah M. Oliver, President of The Community Foundation. “We are so proud to honor her with this award, and to ensure the legacy of Ann McDonald Baker lives on through perpetual support for the arts community she cherished.”

About the Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures Award

For decades, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida has invested in the arts as part of an exceptional initiative known as Art Ventures, which grew out of a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 1989. Community Foundation Trustees Ann McDonald Baker and Courtenay Wilson led the successful drive to raise the necessary matching funds, and the Art Ventures initiative has now provided more than $1.4 million to individuals and small arts organizations since inception. In 2015, The Community Foundation created the Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures Award to recognize gifted local artists whose work brings distinction to Northeast Florida, and to honor Ann Baker’s pivotal role in creating and/or nurturing many vital cultural organizations as well as her leadership as the first female chair of The Community Foundation Board of Trustees.

About The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida

The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida (, Florida’s oldest and one of its largest community foundations, 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 60th year, the Foundation has $649 million in assets as of 12/31/2023 and has made more than $750 million in grants since inception.



Editors: Photos available

Contact:      Stephanie Garry Garfunkel

VP, Strategic Communications

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