Children are often encouraged to be artists. For Zoe Peters, that encouragement came from her grandma, who never fails to tell stories of the youngster unraveling rolls of paper down a hall to create ten-foot-long comics.
The former hallway cartoonist credits the St. Petersburg campus’ Innovation Scholars program with helping her envision a pathway to turn her love of art into a business. An entrepreneurship major, Peters says that the program helped her connect with the founder of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, an organization that helps artists via funding, promotion, and advocacy. Peters landed an internship there, updating its website and tackling a variety of programs and initiatives. She applied skills learned in her entrepreneurship classes related to sustainability, long-term impact, and volunteer recruitment. The alliance soon hired her as a creative projects coordinator.
Peters credits the Judy Genshaft Honors College with fueling her desire to blend her business, the arts, and community interests. She says a class discussion there about equity, funding, and operations in the art space inspired her to start her own design business serving arts organizations and businesses. Similarly, she used an entrepreneurship course to explore and create tech that could help artists diversify their income.
Peters previously served as a USF Ambassador on the St. Petersburg campus. Today, she volunteers as a graphic designer with the Warehouse Arts District Association and Keep St. Pete Lit. Peters received the COMPASS “First-Year Student of the Year” award in 2021 and the Broadway Star of the Future award for Outstanding Playwriting in 2020.