According to the Florida Tax Collectors Association (FTCA), the idea for the Kids Tag Art project came from the Great American Teach-In, where tax collector staff would volunteer in area school classrooms and instead of talking about taxes, they would share specialty tags and the important work that these foundations do with the funds raised from the purchase of their tag. Teachers would send artwork from those classrooms to the tax office, as a thank you for their visit. The artwork was so inspiring, instead of being discarded, it was saved until the idea of turning it into a drawing contest and school fundraiser was born. In 2006, the Polk County Tax Collector’s Office, with help from local businesses and community groups, put together a fundraising project with Polk County Schools that would teach children art design while raising much-needed funds for classroom art supplies.
Initially, the design phase of the project began in September, when teachers would share specialty tags with the class and engage the students in classroom design creation. Teachers provided guidelines for their students to generate creative, award-winning artwork. Parents purchased their child’s design through school sales conducted in November of each year, in time for the holidays. Student designs were made into a unique metal alloy tag that could be purchased as a keepsake or given as gifts.
By 2014, participating Florida tax collectors had raised more than $1 million through their Kids Tag Art programs, according to the FTCA.
As of 2023 when the Volusia County Tax Collector joined the list, the program had expanded to 15 county tax collectors. Each fall these tax collector offices inspire the creation of hundreds – and in some cases – thousands of designs across the county. Student designs can earn school-based awards as well as awards from the tax collector and sponsors.
Kids Tag Art brings the government and private communities together in supporting schools. Business and community leaders are increasingly recognizing the value of arts education in preparing children to be successful in the marketplace by emphasizing creativity, problem solving and innovation.
On May 15, 2018, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a resolution recognizing the Florida Tax Collectors’ Kids Tag Art program for “its dedication to classroom arts education.” In the same year, the program was recognized by the Florida Department of State, receiving the coveted Diversity and Inclusion Award for 2018. This award honors organizations who work to make arts and cultural programming in Florida as diverse and inclusive as possible.