Culture In Florida is a monthly news roundup to showcase our state’s wonderful diversity, spotlight the organizations and artists that contribute so much to our communities, and stress the comprehensive benefits of arts and culture to Florida’s economy and quality of life.
August was a busy month for arts and culture in Florida! As summer activities wrapped up and kids headed back to school, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gilbert King visited St. Petersburg’s Studio 620 to celebrate the release of his newest book, Panama City’s Martin Theatre held a Mel Brooks retrospective, and Zoo Miami celebrated the birth of a baby pygmy hippo! Here are a few other highlights from around the state:
Short Plays, New Musicals, Opera, and a Lipsync Battle
In Fort Lauderdale, the teens of the Broward ARTrepreneurs program debuted eight original one-act plays over two nights. This free program, introduced by ArtServe in 2013, allows up to ten talented teens instruction in artistic development and production, which culminates with the two-night Short Play Festival. In Winter Park, six brand-new musicals were showcased at the 2nd Annual Florida Festival of New Musicals at the Winter Park Playhouse. Palm Beach Opera hosted their second Summer Opera Night, featuring food trucks, trivia, and interactive games alongside a world-class performance from bass-baritone Neil Nelson. Osceola Arts hosted their 3rd annual Lipsync Battle to help support their youth arts education programs.
Openings and Closings
In Orlando, Mennello Museum of American Art opened “Our Orlando: Making Sense of Our World”, featuring local artists on the rise each considering how we relate to our world; Gainesville’s Matheson History Museum opened “Gators and Beyond: a Sports History of Alachua County”; Miami’s Bakehouse Art Complex featured works of resident artist Alejandra Suarez in “Atmospheric Perspective”, a look at “imagined landscapes through impaired perspectives”; and Tallahassee’s Florida Historic Capitol Museum opened its final exhibit commemorating the decision to save the Historic Capitol, “Demo by Design”.
Miami Beach’s Bass Museum announced the acquisition of major contemporary works by artists Sanford Biggers, Mark Handforth, Karen Rifas, Mika Rottenberg, and Lawrence Weiner, representing the museum’s commitment to local and international contemporary art.
The invitational exhibition of works from the fifth annual Florida Prize in Contemporary Art at the Orlando Museum of Art closed on August 19. This years’ winner was multimedia artist Kenya (Robinson), who was raised in Gainesville. The People’s Choice Award was given to Carlos Betancourt, who has lived and worked in Miami since 1981.
“Science Through the Ages“ at Pensacola MESS Hall also closed on August 19. Visitors were offered a unique opportunity to explore the history of scientific discovery through workshops, MESS kits, and other hands-on experiences.
IFÉ-ILÉ Afro-Cuban Dance Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary with many exciting events including dance workshops in various afro-cuban styles, a week-long children’s camp, a performance parade, and an academic conference on Cuban dancing. The festival celebrates Miami’s large Afro-Cuban population and various dance traditions that share African roots.
Bok Tower Gardens honored “summer’s most popular plant”, the caladium, with a month long Caladium Festival. Events included a special caladium trail highlighting over 20 different varieties and a series of plant education workshops.
Brevard Zoo also hosted a Bonsai Weekend which featured dozens of miniature trees on display and included bonsai care demonstrations and workshops.
Upcoming in September
20/20 at Locust Projects, an ambitious, 20-hour, rotating exhibition by 20 different artists; ArtsLaunch 2018, Miami’s arts season kick-off celebration; Women in Science Conference at Emerald Coast Science Center; State of the Arts 2018 at Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville; Global Peace Film Festival in Winter Park.
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