St. Augustine, Fla. – April 2, 2024 – The St. Johns Cultural Council which promotes arts, culture, and heritage in St. Johns County, Florida, announced today that Christina Parrish Stone will retire from her role as Executive Director at the end of the current fiscal year on September 30, after a dynamic and highly successful five years of leadership. The Cultural Council’s Board of Directors has initiated a comprehensive process to select a new executive director. Parrish Stone will provide consulting services after her retirement to ensure a smooth transition.

On her decision to retire, Parrish Stone said, “It has been an absolute privilege to lead the St. Johns Cultural Council and help advance the organization’s mission. My years in St. Augustine have been the most rewarding of a long career, and the hard-working Cultural Council staff and board have been a joy to work with,” she said. “I have been honored to support the efforts of St. Johns County and the Cities of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach, and to work with the outstanding staff and leaders of these communities, and all of the talented individual artists and dedicated arts, culture, heritage, and tourism organizations on Florida’s Historic Coast,” said Parrish Stone. “There is no better place to live, work, and enjoy the arts. I look forward to more time to experience all that our beautiful cities and county have to offer during my retirement.”

During Parrish Stone’s leadership, the Cultural Council has experienced remarkable growth and dramatically increased the support it provides to local artists and cultural organizations, while elevating St. Johns County’s marketing to cultural travelers.

Highlights of her tenure include negotiation of a new five-year contract to provide destination marketing services for St. Johns County; an agreement with the City of St. Augustine to lease and activate The Waterworks as a venue for arts, culture and heritage programming; work with the City of St. Augustine Beach to secure National Register status for the St. Augustine Beach Hotel, facilitating significant grant funding for renovation of the building; expanding and improving the County’s Art in Public Spaces program with support from the National Endowment for the Arts; and dramatically increasing funding for individual artists and arts organizations through new and expanded grant programs.

Also during Parrish-Stone’s time as executive director, the Cultural Council created a variety of products to enhance cultural tourism including a new culinary guide; cultural visitor guides in English and Spanish; and an episode of Samantha Brown’s Places to Love on PBS.  Additionally, the permanent exhibition Waves of Change at  St. Augustine Beach was created with funding from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and a new St. Johns County Black Heritage Trail, also funded by grants, is currently under development.

Parrish Stone was instrumental in bringing new visitor events to St Johns County including the St. Augustine Food and Wine Festival at the World Golf Village and Whiskey Wine and Wildlife in Vilano Beach. She also worked to expand the Gamble Rogers Folk Festival and Concert Series, and the SEA Community Gullah Geechee Heritage Festival.  Through her efforts, additional support was provided for establishment of Hastings Main Street and the return of the Hastings Cabbage and Potato Festival. The significant accomplishments were achieved during one of the most disruptive economic and social periods of recent history, immediately before, during, and after the COVID pandemic.

Barbara McNees, St. Johns Cultural Council’s Board President, said, “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Christina for her dedication and service to the St. Johns Cultural Council and to the residents of St. Johns County. Throughout her leadership, her achievements have positioned the Cultural Council for continued success in the years to come. We are extremely grateful for Christina’s many contributions and look forward to continuing to collaborate with her throughout the upcoming executive director selection and transition process.” McNees applauds Parrish-Stone’s commitment to the local artist community and organizations which received a myriad of grants to focus on programming to help them grow and be more successful.

The St. Johns Cultural Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting local artists and arts organizations, ensuring that residents of and visitors to St. Johns County have access to high quality arts, culture and heritage experiences. Visit the websites at and