2020 board members

John P. Wilkes, President
Yasemin Satici, Vice President
Kathleen Ginestra, Director

Clay H. Wieland, Photographer

Sandy Casteel
Pamela Mosser Wilkes

David Rose

come grow with us

                         who we are


South Side School was built in 1922 as one of the first elementary schools in Broward County and served the community for nearly 80 years before its closure. In 2000, a few concerned members who sat on the City's Educational Advisory Board took it upon themselves to try and convince the City of Fort Lauderdale to start acquiring abandoned school board sites to rehabilitate.  While that initiative may not have been universally accepted, community activists John P. Wilkes, Mary Fertig, and Lu Deaner were persistent in their plight to preserve the South Side School. These activists became the founding members of Friends of South Side in 2004.  This nonprofit organization was established at the bequest of the City to oversee, advise, and serve as the conduit to the community for the acquisition, restoration, and operation of the facility. Friends of South Side continues to give a voice to those individuals in the Fort Lauderdale community longing to see the the historic school transformed into the state-of-the-art cultural arts center it is today. 

After many years and a few detours, South Side Cultural Arts Center opened its doors on  January 30th, 2018. Friends of South Side has not taken a break since. The board frequently consults with representatives from the City of Fort Lauderdale's Parks & Recreation Department to provide support and advice in their efforts to handle the complexities of the day-to-day operation of this newly opened cultural arts center. Friends of South Side has been resolute in its mission to develop a facility that has a calendar overflowing with a variety of desirable, quality, and sustainable programs for all to enjoy. 

Presently, the board is made up of eight incredibly devoted volunteers, who dedicate their time and breadth of talents to the success of South Side Cultural Arts Center. Friends intends to build a strong community of students, instructors, and artists that will positively influence generations to come. Friends of South Side members will astound you as they juggle the pressures of presenting noteworthy art receptions,  relentlessly brainstorm effective marketing strategies to increase class registration, and delicately navigate the nuances involved with working within the confines of a government owned and operated structure.  In the end, you can always trust in the Friends of South Side to be reliable and steadfast advocates for the arts. 


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info@southsidearts.org  |  southsidearts.org