PERSON OF INTEREST: BEVERLY STEELE

person of interest beverly steele

Growing up: I was raised in Royal, one of Florida’s oldest African-American communities. I graduated from Wildwood High School in 1974 and earned a bachelor’s degree in consumer science from Florida A&M. I later moved to New York City and worked at J.C. Penney Co., then at National Securities and Research Corporation. I then started my own company, Steele Organization LLC, a consulting and marketing firm.

Passion: I moved back to Sumter County in 1992. Six years later, I founded Young Performing Artists, a program that allows young performing and visual artists of today to keep the arts of tomorrow alive. The program awards mini-scholarships, which can be used for anything from tap shoes to paintbrushes. The money does not have to be used for art school. In addition, the program offers local enrichment programs during school breaks or holidays where students up to age 22 can learn from professional artists.

Cultivating creativity: By introducing children, teenagers, and young adults to the arts, we are helping them grow intellectually and allowing them to be more productive in life.

Pet peeve: My biggest pet peeve is seeing a child erasing something he has already drawn. I want children to see beauty in everything they create because nothing is perfect. They have to dig deep to see the beauty of what their mind and pencil have already created.

Favorite junk food: Lay’s potato chips.

Best advice given to me: My grandmother once told me to never sell my soul. God owns it, and the only one who wants to buy it is the devil.

One word that describes you: Extraordinary. I apply the extra to my ordinary.

Desired tombstone inscription: “Here lies the lady of Steele.”

Guilty pleasure: I don’t have one. If I enjoy doing something then I should feel no shame.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?: I would be a bull. A bull has control of the field, looking over and analyzing their surroundings in a cool and calm manner. However, when something comes up, a bull knows how to take charge.

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