About culturebuildsflorida

This blog is managed by Curtis Young, Communications Coordinator for the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs.

Meet the Florida Council on Arts and Culture: Heather Mayo

The Florida Council on Arts and Culture is the 15-member advisory council appointed to advise the Secretary of State regarding cultural grant funding and on matters pertaining to culture in Florida.

Appointments to the Council are determined by the Governor, President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, in consultation with the Secretary of State. The Governor manages seven seats that serve four-year terms. The President and Speaker manage four seats each, with terms of two years. The appointments are based on geographic representation, as well as demonstrated history of community service in the arts and culture.

In this bi-monthly series, we will introduce you to each member of the council and share their thoughts on the role of arts and culture in the state of Florida. This month, we chatted with the council’s newest member, Heather Mayo. Heather was appointed to the council in April 2018 by House Speaker Corcoran. 


Heather Mayo - HeadshotDCA: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Heather: I am a Tallahassee, Florida born-and-raised resident who has a great love for the arts. The arts have always played an integral role in my life, and my involvement in the arts began at a very young age when my mother, a ballet instructor enrolled me in dance lessons at the age of three. At seven years old, I picked up the guitar for the first time and discovered my passion for music. Throughout the years, I have played various genres on the guitar but mainly focused on studying the styles of classical and jazz guitar during my studies as an undergraduate student at the Florida State University College of Music. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Commercial Music in 2006, I worked at a prominent recording studio on music row in Nashville, TN and learned various aspects of the music business. Four years later, I decided to return to FSU to pursue a Masters in Arts Administration and to dedicate my career to working as an arts administrator in the non-profit arts sector.

Currently, I have the privilege of working for Florida State University as the Assistant Director of Production and Community Engagement within our College of Music. In my position, I help oversee our performance hall production coordination and assist in various outreach, engagement and entrepreneurial activities of the College. As a volunteer, I am currently serving as the Immediate Past-President of the Friends of Dance Council within the College of Fine Arts at Florida State University, and I am also serving as a 2018 Catalyst with the Knight Creative Communities Institute in Tallahassee.

DCA: What do you think of when you hear “Culture Builds Florida”? Why are the arts and culture important to our state?

Heather: When I hear “Culture Builds Florida”, I think of economic growth and social impact. In the most recent Arts and Economic Prosperity study conducted by Americans for the Arts, it was found that the arts and culture sector is a $4.68 billion industry in Florida. The arts and culture industry in our state supports 132,366 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $492.3 million in local and state government revenue [1] In my hometown of Leon County, FL the nonprofits arts and culture sector is a $201.9 million industry which supports 7,161 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $26.6 million in local and state government revenue.[2]  To me, these numbers prove that the “Arts Mean Business!” The arts support job growth, generate government revenue and attract cultural tourism in our state.

In addition to impacting our state’s economy, arts and culture contribute in countless ways to the well-being of our state by making a social impact in our everyday lives. The arts enable us to uphold our cultural identity as Floridians but also keep us moving forward in innovative ways that are relevant. Arts and culture celebrate diversity and inclusion by bringing people together under one purpose. They enable us to express ourselves, our feelings, and our beliefs creatively. They help us heal; they contribute to our health and wellness. They are vital to the education of our children. They allow us to reflect on our society, on world issues and on our own lives in meaningful ways.

 DCA: For you, what is the most inspiring part about working in the arts?

Heather: For me, the most inspiring part about working in the arts is the opportunity I have to work in an industry that makes a difference in people’s lives through a creative process. The best example of this in my own world is witnessing a performance come to fruition after our team has spent months preparing for its premiere. There is so much behind-the-scenes work that goes into each production, but the most rewarding part is to see it all come together successfully. Some of my most favorite moments are when I stand in the back of the concert hall and witness the joyful impact the performance is having on an audience member’s life. I often think to myself, “Wow, we helped create this moment for them!” Those are the times I feel most inspired.

Another aspect I love about working in the arts are the relationships that are made along the way. On a daily basis, I get to work with a fantastic team of colleagues who inspire me to be more excellent in everything I do. I also have the wonderful opportunity to work with multiple artists at the local, national and international level. Through these relationships, I have seen the power in collaboration and how we can spur on each other to new creative heights.

DCA: What do you hope to accomplish as a member of the Florida Council on Arts and Culture?

Heather: First and foremost I hope to support the mission of the Department of State and the Division of Cultural Affairs through my service on this council. I genuinely believe that state arts agencies are one of the most significant vehicles our country has to fulfill our public duty to the arts. By representing all interests of the state, the Division helps ensure that the economic, educational, and civic benefits of the arts are made available to all Floridians. For that, I am thankful for the work the Division is doing for us on a daily basis and look forward to supporting their efforts.

Alongside my fellow council members, I also hope to strengthen strategic partnerships and boost arts advocacy conversations with art constituents throughout the state. It’s no secret that we are living in a time in which advocating for the arts needs to be at the forefront of our daily lives. With this in mind, I hope we as art constituents can become familiar with the economic impact of the arts within our own immediate communities and that we can also be prepared to express how the arts enhance our quality of life. In turn, I hope that through these increased conversations, we can come together as an arts community and jointly make an impact in preserving the cultural heritage of our great State of Florida.

[1] http://dos.myflorida.com/media/698818/artseconomicprosperityfl.pdf

[2] https://coca.tallahasseearts.org/uploads/documents/COCA_Arts__Economic_Prosperity_Bklt_v2.pdf

Grantee Spotlight: Key Chorale ‘Tomorrow’s Voices Today’

Provided by Key Chorale

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Key Chorale, Sarasota’s Symphonic Chorus, celebrates its 6th year of “Tomorrow’s Voices Today”, a music in education initiative that has given hundreds of choral students the opportunity to sing at the professional level. Students involved in the program have debuted world premiere commissions, recorded albums, and performed on the national stage at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Additionally, each spring, Key Chorale is joined by three Sarasota County high school choirs for a unique festival concert that features over 200 voices of all ages, from teenagers to octogenarians and everything in between.

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This season, Key Chorale is particularly excited to admit twelve exceptional area high school students for the second year of the Key Chorale Student Scholar Program. In this program, students who intend to pursue music beyond high school are granted the opportunity to sing on scholarship with Key Chorale for their full performance season. These talented young singers study and perform with a professional conductor, accompanist, orchestra, and world-class soloists. Additionally, they receive private voice lessons, coaching on the business of music, and attend workshops on preparing for college level music success. The students have the opportunity to demonstrate their progress by performing in a recital at the end of the season.

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These programs are the result of artistic director Joseph Caulkins’ passion for education and giving back to the next generation of artists. Key Chorale aims to inspire a lifelong love for and dedication to music in these young students. As Caulkins describes, “experiencing a student’s joy of self-discovery… seeing the looks on their faces when everything just clicks in a moment of transcendent beauty…these are moments where one realizes that sharing your love of music with others is the most important thing a conductor can do.”

As Key Chorale and Caulkins continue to deepen their relationships with local educators and students, they hope to create long-lasting partnerships to build not only good musicians, but good citizens, ensuring that choral music and artistry are alive and well in our community for generations to come.

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For more information, visit Key Chorale’s website at: http://keychorale.org/.


Interested in seeing your organization featured on Culture Builds Florida? Please fill out this form: https://goo.gl/forms/3sMwuJWA3bM1orPl2.

Culture In Florida: July 2018

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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.

We hope that you are spending the extra hours of daylight exploring all that Florida arts and culture have to offer. Here is a sampling of events that took place throughout the state during the month of July: 

Dog-Friendly Museum Days

The arts are for all– even your dog! Several museums across the state, including Naples Botanical Garden and Bok Tower Gardens in Polk County, are offering special dog walk days where your family pets can accompany you to enjoy the beautiful outdoor exhibits.  Orlando’s Mennello Museum of American Art even offers a dog membership program! Dogs are welcome year-round and always admitted for free at Heathcote Botanical Garden in Fort Pierce and at Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. Summer is the perfect time to experience the arts in this playful way! 

Arts and Wellness

Many museums are also offering opportunities to practice yoga and other fitness activities in the beautiful settings of their gardens and galleries. Summer is a perfect time to try out one of these activities that feed body, mind, and soul. Check out Vero Beach Museum of Art, Naples Art Association, Miami’s Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Tampa’s Glazer Children’s Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg,   Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, Orlando Museum of Art, Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, and Sarasota’s Marie Selby Botanical Gardens for an event near you.

Arts in the Great Outdoors

The abundance of beautiful weather presents new ways to experience the arts outdoors. Delray Beach’s Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens presents an ongoing “Sushi & Stroll Summer Walk” series. Guests can experience the beautiful gardens enhanced by live taiko drum performances and the opportunity to try pan-Asian cuisine. Broward County’s Museum of Discovery and Science presents Moonlit Sea Turtle walks where visitors can experience a nighttime educational adventure learning about Sea Turtles and trying to spot them on Fort Lauderdale Beach. In Daytona Beach, the  Museum of Arts and Sciences presents a “Summer of the Planets” viewing party, an outdoor stargazing party where visitors can spot the planets using telescopes guided by museum educators.

Openings and Closings

Throughout the state, July was a wonderful and varied month for art exhibits. In Delray Beach, Arts Garage showcased artworks created by city employees and their children. In Naples, twenty-one Florida-based artists were amongst those featured at the Camera USA ® National Photography Exhibition at Naples Art Association. Ocala’s Appleton Museum of Art featured “From Medieval to Metal: The Art and Evolution of the Guitar”, a touring exhibition from the National Guitar Museum.

In Palm Beach, the Lighthouse Art Center in Tequesta offered a unique opportunity for children to see some of their favorite books come to life with their exhibit “Full STEAM Ahead”, which featured artworks of five Caldecott-winning children’s book illustrators and offered unique STEAM-based interactive activities. Ongoing at Orlando Science Center is the “Hall of Heroes”, an interactive exhibit that merges science and science fiction and explores superhero lore and origin, featuring artifacts and relics from superhero films.

In Tallahassee, the year-long celebration of the Museum of Florida History’s 40th anniversary closed. “Living the Dream- Twentieth-Century Florida” explored the state’s modern history through music, films, artifacts, and immersive experiences that both examined the past and considered the future.

Featured Festivals

Symphony of the Americas’ Summerfest

Fort Lauderdale’s Symphony of the Americas continues to celebrate its 30th anniversary season with the presentation of its annual summerfest, “The Shape of Music”. Throughout July and August, the symphony will present many programs throughout South Florida and complete a two-week performance residency in Panama. The festival also features performances from nationally and internationally acclaimed artists and ensembles, resulting in a varied, unique cultural exchange experience. Artists from more than ten different countries will be featured on stages throughout the state.

Hemingway Days

In Key West, the 38th annual Hemingway Days festival was held between from July 17-22. Featuring a Hemingway ® Look-Alike Contest, poetry readings, a running of the “bulls”, a deep-sea angling tournament, symposium presentations and other events, Hemingway Days is a unique tribute to the legendary author and his time living and working in Florida.

Micro Theater, Mangoes, and More

In Tallahassee, Goodwood Museum and Gardens hosted the first annual Micro Film Festival, a two-day event that featured four 15-20 minute “micro plays” in a casual, open-air atmosphere. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden hosted their annual Mango and Tropical Fruit festival, featuring exhibits, demonstrations, cooking classes, live music, and the opportunity to try rare varieties of mango and other tropical fruits. Venice Theatre also opened their sixth annual Cabaret Festival, featuring dozens of cabaret shows covering various topics and highlighting local talent.

Upcoming in August:

The 20th annual Ife-Ile Afro-Cuban Dance Festival in Miami (August 16-18); ‘Birds of Paradise’- photographs from Florida’s Wetlands at Gadsden Arts Center (through September 8); half-off admission at Bok Tower Gardens for Florida residents during the month of August.

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Have an event you’d like to see featured as part of this blog series? Please fill out this form: https://goo.gl/forms/rNFpweK1euL3y9YH2.

Grantee Spotlight: Young Singers of the Palm Beaches ‘Choir in the Glades’

Provided by Young Singers of the Palm Beaches

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Young Singers of the Palm Beaches (YSPB) is Palm Beach County’s award-winning, community-based children’s choir. The non-profit just completed their 15th season. YSPB is an all-inclusive, multi-cultural arts education organization based centrally in West Palm Beach. It is their mission to teach life skills through music. Young Singers of the Palm Beaches believes that music education of children is an important resource in the development of productive participants in our society. Through it we can transform and enrich the lives of children and our community by: breaking down social barriers, developing life skills, providing an outlet for creativity, and fostering good citizenship.

Choir in the Glades 6Young Singers of the Palm Beaches’ CHOIR IN THE GLADES program for elementary school children in the Belle Glade area just completed its fifth season. Choir in the Glades “BellaVoce” middle school program at Lake Shore Middle School just completed season two. The elementary and middle school choirs each meet weekly and offer the children in Belle Glade tuition-free choral and music experiences, taught by music professionals. Transportation is offered, also free of charge, to all elementary school children from school to the rehearsal site.

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The importance of this program to the children and families involved is proven in the retention rate of the program, with many of the children who started with the choir on day one still being a part of it today. Choir in the Glades reinforces a love of singing and the satisfaction of being a successful part of a group.

 

For additional information, contact Pauline Zaros at pauline@yspb.org or visit http://www.yspb.org.


Interested in seeing your organization featured on Culture Builds Florida? Please fill out this form: https://goo.gl/forms/3sMwuJWA3bM1orPl2.

Art Talk: Gold Coast Jazz Society and Mari Mennel-Bell, founder of JazzSLAM

Gold Coast Jazz Society

Founded in 1992 to bring more jazz to the “Gold Coast” area of South Florida, the Gold Coast Jazz Society presents a seven-concert jazz series in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts each year from November through May.

Gold Coast Jazz Society has a rich history of community outreach and over the years has expanded its outreach and education programs. For those who cannot attend mainstage concerts, free outreach concerts are provided throughout the area allowing access to cultural arts programs to economically disadvantaged residents. The Jeanette M. Russell Jazz Scholarship Program has provided over $450,000 in scholarship support to qualified and aspiring young jazz students to study jazz in college or to attend summer jazz camps over the past fourteen years.

In 2010, the Society began presenting the jazz education program, JazzSLAM, at no cost, to area public schools. This program, which includes a live jazz quartet, helps students improve their reading, math and test taking skills through jazz.  In addition, Gold Coast Jazz has presented several other jazz education presentations in local elementary schools.  Gold Coast Jazz also provides the free First Friday Jazz Jam program, where local students can jam, before a live audience, with a professional jazz quartet led by local jazz musician and educator Nicole Yarling.

 JazzSLAM (Jazz Supports Language Arts and Math)

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Designed by musician and educator, Mari Mennel-Bell, JazzSLAM is a free in-school jazz education program targeted to 4th and 5th grade students and includes a one-hour, live and interactive jazz presentation with a professional jazz quartet. The program integrates the music of jazz with elements of Language Arts, Math, and Social Studies to help students with critical thinking skills and strategies for test taking.  The program is designed to support teachers’ efforts to raise students’ test scores, motivate students to learn how to express themselves within the confines of a given form, and supports teaching with the Aural, Visual & Tactile benefits of music.  Students learn how musical forms relate to concepts such as essay writing forms, how musical rhythmic patterns relate to mathematical concepts such as percentages and how the ethnic origins of jazz relate to the geography and social studies.

We chatted with Mari Mennel-Bell to learn more about her long career in Florida and what inspired her to create JazzSLAM.

Division of Cultural Affairs (DCA): How long have you lived and worked in Florida? 

Mari: I grew up from age 11 on in Palm Beach County. There’s something so different about being in elementary school in Florida- it was just so fun! I attended college in New York and stayed in NY after graduating. In 1998, when our kids were in elementary and middle school, my husband and I decided to relocate to Broward County and we have lived and worked here ever since.

DCA: What inspired you to create JazzSLAM?

Mari:  I started JazzSLAM almost immediately after moving to Broward County. I had been doing a jazz program while working in the Hudson Valley, but one of the things that really gave me direction was seeing my sons just sitting at desks doing busy work. They were totally disengaged; they just did not want to be in school. I saw so many connections between academics and music and was inspired to really start developing the program. So, I went back to my roots. When I was in graduate school at New York University, I worked for the Children’s Television Workshop on a program which was using music to teach reading. After I graduated, I worked in a Title I school in the South Bronx that was doing the same thing- using music to teach students that were way behind in reading. I wanted to develop a program in Broward County that taught academics through jazz. I am so grateful to the Gold Coast Jazz Society for their funding and organizational support and the teachers in Broward County, who have, over the years provided wonderful feedback and suggestions that have helped me continue to develop the program.

DCA: What is the best part about your job?

Mari: Without a doubt, working with the students is the best part. Just seeing them make connections and seeing light bulbs go off in their heads is so cool. It’s always surprising, too, which students are the first to make connections. Oftentimes, it is a student with special needs that will allow the connections to become physically apparent by standing up and dancing or clapping to the music. I love to use this as an opportunity to put students that are handicapped or have special needs– students who are usually being bullied– in a leadership role. It is just super cool to be able to do this.

Teaching academics through the arts is such a powerful way to reach students. Students come in and don’t know what they’re coming to and aren’t sure they are going to like it and then we get rolling, and the fact that there’s so much music involved, it just captivates them and captures their attention in a way that straight academics don’t.

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DCA: What are some examples of how JazzSLAM integrates musical concepts with academics to enrich learning?

Mari: Our programs focus on language arts, math, and social studies concepts. For example, we use AABA song form as a parallel learning device for narrative essays. Students learn how narrative essays tell a story. Fairy tales are a perfect example: the first paragraph introduces “who, what, when, where, why”, the second develops the story, the third adds a problem, and the fourth resolves the problem. The lyrics and structure of AABA song form do the same thing.

The song “I Got Rhythm” is a great example of this. I describe it to the students as a “gratitude laundry list of good feelings that you can have”. The A sections introduce free things to be grateful for. The B section presents a problem: we are all going to have troubled times in our lives. The last A section resolves this by revisiting our gratitude list, which we can pull out when we are down in the dumps and remember all of the things that are good in life.

The day before the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, JazzSLAM gave a presentation at Silver Lakes Elementary. The school went to a “Code Red” lockdown, which turned out to be a staged, practice drill, however, the students were very frightened and lacked focus when they came in for our presentation. I used the “I Got Rhythm” lyrics to show them how to write a gratitude list to help themselves in times of stress.

After the presentation, Ms. Cline, a fourth-grade teacher, wrote, “Students learned that music can provide you with focus. That you can calm yourself with music.” Music offers logic and predictable patterns that bring us great solace in an increasingly complex world.

DCA: And how about using music to teach math?

Mari: One of the students’ favorite things is when we do a “rhythm orchestra”. Along with our drummer, Orlando Machado, I divide the room into five groups. Each group is responsible for one of five divisions of the beat: whole note, half note, quarter note, eighth note, and sixteenth note. Orlando demonstrates the divisions and I stand in front of the class.  Each group is given different directions and kinesthetic movements for each division of the beat, eventually all clapping together to hear how the half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes & 16th notes fit into the whole note pizza. Then, the students are asked to analyze the divisions of the beat while I show them a pie chart, i.e. “How many half notes are in the whole note pizza pie?”,  “Which fraction is each half note called?”,  “What percentage would each half note be?” Other concepts like finding the common denominator to add fractions are covered. It is purely academic and the kids are having so much fun that they don’t even realize that they are learning valuable math concepts! I think every kid in America should have the opportunity to learn this way.

DCA: How has the program grown over the years?

Mari: The first year, we probably did four or five schools with fifty students each. When we started getting grants for the program, we were able to expand. I initially thought that I could do the program for 300 students at a time, but that turned out to be overwhelming, so we limited it to groups of up to 150 to ensure that each student receives equal opportunity to participate. At one point, JazzSLAM was serving 30 schools a year. Now, we are serving about 20 schools a year and I am also focused on growing our eLearning programs.

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DCA: Tell us more about your eLearning programs.

Mari: An educator saw me do a web learning presentation for Broward County (through Broward County Board of Education TV) and encouraged me to develop a way to present JazzSLAM nationally. Now, through the Center for Innovative Learning and Collaboration (cilc.org), we offer three eLearning programs nationwide, all of which are available for free to Title I schools. It has been really cool to hear from educators in tiny towns without supermarkets across the nation that they are using and loving JazzSLAM in their classrooms. It is one of my main goals for the future of JazzSLAM to continue to develop these programs so that JazzSLAM can reach even more students nationwide.

DCA: Which counties have participating schools? How many children participate each year?

Mari: The program mainly serves Broward County, though we have on occasion travelled to North Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties. In the past 16 years, the program has served around 60,000 students in South Florida.

DCA: In your opinion, what is the greatest contribution that JazzSLAM makes to your community?

Mari: It exposes students to the incredible musical heritage of our nation, which is jazz, while allowing more interactive academic experiences. Oftentimes jazz organizations have difficulty getting into school systems, but because our program is academically focused, that has opened doors.

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DCA: What do you think the future holds for JazzSLAM?

Mari: I want to know that when I leave the planet that JazzSLAM won’t leave the planet with me. I think the future for us is in continuing to give live presentations and develop the eLearning programs, so that we can reach students throughout the state of Florida and the nation. I would also love to partner with a college or university to train future teachers in the JazzSLAM methodology. I’d love to find a doctoral student who would want to research the significance of JazzSLAM concepts and using music to teach academics.  I always want JazzSLAM to be part of Gold Coast Jazz Society and for GCJS to continue serving Broward County, but I also want the program to be able to spread. When you see how much the kids love to do it and how grateful the teachers are for this whole new approach to academics, it’s like a no brainer. I have to figure out a way to get this to more teachers– to everybody!

DCA: What do you think of when you hear “Culture Builds Florida”? Why are the arts and culture important to our state?

Mari: Certainly here in South Florida, we see that arts and culture are a huge draw for snowbirds and tourists. When I was growing up in Palm Beach County, there was close to nothing to go to. There were no opportunities to hear live music other than if you went to a private party or a club or community center. There is certainly a much more vibrant arts community in South Florida than when I was a kid. The more we have for visitors and year-round residents to do, the happier everybody is with Florida!

The DCA thanks Pam Dearden, executive director of Gold Coast Jazz Society, and Mari Mennel-Bell for their participation in this post. To learn more about JazzSLAM, visit: http://jazzslam.com/. To learn more about Gold Coast Jazz Society, visit: http://www.goldcoastjazz.org.

Grantee Spotlight: Pensacola Little Theatre Goes ‘Beyond Boundaries’

Provided by Pensacola Little Theatre

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Realizing the success of the arts and arts education in the community, Pensacola Little Theatre began taking their shows on the go with a traveling theatre troupe in 2008. PLT’s traveling theatre, Beyond Boundaries, takes theatre into underserved communities where children and parents from low-income or minority households can enjoy watching a performance or take part in a production through workshops and classes. Beyond Boundaries’ performances have also been well received by audiences at nursing homes, community centers, Title I schools, and other areas throughout the community.

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Past seasons have included such plays as Cooking It!, an original musical centered on the puppet characters “Sprout”, the Brussel Sprout, and “Brock Broccoli” who both don’t understand why children don’t like them. The program was developed to address the growing problem of childhood obesity by using fun, interactive theatre to promote healthy eating. A school nutritionist supported the lessons from the show by teaching students how to make healthy meals and snacks.

Beyond Boundaries

You’ll almost always catch Beyond Boundaries in local libraries the weeks before performances in their children’s series (Treehouse/Acorn) with characters from the production reading to the children in costume. If you can’t come to them, they come to you!

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For more information, visit http://www.pensacolalittletheatre.com/.


Interested in seeing your organization featured on Culture Builds Florida? Please fill out this form: https://goo.gl/forms/3sMwuJWA3bM1orPl2.

Grantee Spotlight: Zoo Miami Animal Fun Factory

Provided by Zoo Miami

Presented by the José Milton Foundation, Zoo Miami’s Animal Fun Factory is a one-of-a-kind interactive exhibit where zoo visitors can learn about animal welfare and environmental conservation through hands-on creative play. Enrichment is used to promote the natural behavior of the animals at Zoo Miami.  Visitors are guided by zoo educators to create enrichment items that provide this physical and mental exercise for Zoo Miami’s animal residents.

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A visitor to the Animal Fun Factory might make a papier-mâché zebra for the lions to “hunt” or a birthday cake made out of cardboard boxes to celebrate an animal’s birthday. In creating these enrichment items, visitors gain awareness of and insight into how the animals are cared for and how important it is that everyone do their part to conserve and protect our natural resources.

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Other activities help stimulate awareness of endangered animals at Zoo Miami. Zoo Miami recently celebrated the 52nd birthday of Dalip, one of the oldest and largest Asian Bull Elephants in the country. Dalip was treated to a birthday cake and birthday banners as well as painted barrels and other items for interactive play created by the Animal Fun Factory visitors. Each activity provides a unique and creative opportunity for visitors to connect with the animals, to help them understand Zoo Miami’s dedication to caring for the animals and their welfare, as well as increase community awareness on how they can help protect these animals in the wild by shopping for sustainable products to prevent further habitat loss.

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The Animal Fun Factory has received over 13,000 visitors since opening in March 2017 and is the first exhibit of its kind. It is open on weekends from 11am-3pm. For more information, visit http://www.zoomiami.org.


Interested in seeing your organization featured on Culture Builds Florida? Please fill out this form: https://goo.gl/forms/3sMwuJWA3bM1orPl2.