About culturebuildsflorida

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

Grantee Feature: An “Ode to Understanding” at Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra

Mar31_Instagram (1)

About the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1981, the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra brings a variety of high-level concert experiences to Florida’s capital city and surrounding region throughout the year. The orchestra regularly presents a five-concert subscription series in addition to young people’s concerts, Pops concerts, and special events throughout the community. On March 31, the TSO will present a unique opportunity for community dialogue on complex issues through the performance of Joel Thompson’s Seven Last Words of the Unarmed and Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony.

Ode to Understanding

famu concert choirPresented by Leon County Government, the “Ode to Understanding” project brings together the forces of the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, The Village Square, the Florida A&M Concert Choir, and the Morehouse College Glee Club to create a profound community event that will open hearts and inspire civil discourse.

 

On the first half of the concert is a new work titled Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, written for male chorus and orchestra. Seven Last Words of the Unarmed laments the deaths of seven African-American men, addressing complex and difficult emotions.

2017-2018 GleeClub MorehouseThe concert’s second half will present Beethoven’s beloved Ninth Symphony, a fitting expression of humanity, brotherhood, bonding and equality. Beethoven’s Ninth is a life-affirming masterpiece whose joyful message has inspired millions of people worldwide since its premiere in 1824. Through partnerships with local government, other arts organizations, and community members, the event underscores the importance of community to transcend division.

Following the first half of the concert, Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil will a lead conversation with composer Joel Thompson and TSO Board Members Byron Greene and Patrick Slevin. Sheriff McNeil will interview these stakeholders about Thompson‘s piece of music, the TSO‘s decision to program it, and how shared artistic experiences impact the community as a whole. At the conclusion of the concert, the audience and the performers will be invited to break bread and talk with each other, as we seek a better understanding of complex social issues.

For more information, please visit the TSO’s website: https://www.tallahasseesymphony.org/odetounderstanding/.


This post was provided by Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. Interested in seeing your organization featured on Culture Builds Florida? Please fill out this form: https://goo.gl/forms/3sMwuJWA3bM1orPl2.

Meet the Florida Council on Arts and Culture: Jason Tapia

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 Jason Tapia. Jason was appointed to the council in 2018 by Governor Scott. 


Jason Tapia STG_2136 copy webDivision of Cultural Affairs (DCA): Tell us a little bit about yourself.

 

Jason: I am a registered architect in Florida, New York and Texas. I live and practice in Miami. I own and manage a small business, the design firm: Building Center No.3. Our office is an interdisciplinary practice–we do Architecture, Interior Design and Landscape Design. I started my business in 2010 but I have been practicing architecture for 22 years. I am originally from New York and moved to Florida in 2004; at the time I was into motorcycles and wanted to live someplace I could ride all year round.

 

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

Jason: That statement acknowledges that Culture and the Arts are an important part of the State’s economy. Everyone knows that Florida is an international tourist destination and the more we invest, as a State, in Arts and Culture the more outlets we can provide to both in State residents and visitors.

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

Jason: As a creative professional I look to the arts as a source of inspiration. Not just the visual arts but also the institutions that make the work accessible. As part of my own ongoing development as a professional I make time each month to attend openings and exhibits at least 2-3 times. As a parent of two small children I also look to the arts to provide new experiences for them in order to foster that appreciation for creativity and artistic expression.

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

Jason: I hope the Council can benefit from my expertise in the design and construction industry. So much of art and culture happens in and around architecture and the landscape and within interiors. These are all areas that I practice in daily. If my experience can help the Council make more informed decisions or help shape how they implement their rules and guidelines in the future then I think I will have accomplished what I set out to do as a citizen architect.

Culture In Florida: February 2019

culture-in-florida

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.

February was as busy a month as ever! Arts and cultural organizations across the state celebrated Black History Month, a diverse group of festivals were held, and many interesting art exhibits opened to the public. Here’s just a taste of events around the state during the month of February:

FEATURED FESTIVALS

The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park kicked off their annual festival on February 10. The festival’s three weeks of choral, orchestral, and chamber music events continue through March 3 at various venues throughout the Orlando area. The Bach Festival Society is Central Florida’s oldest continuously operating performing arts organization. 

The Florida Experimental Film/Video Festival (“FlexFest”) was held from February 6-10 in Tampa. The festival screened over 100 films by filmmakers around the globe. In Orlando, Mennello Museum of American Art held their 5th annual Indie-Folkfest on February 16. The family and pet-friendly event showcased local, national, and regional art, music, and culinary exhibitions.

Lake Wales Arts Council also presented their 46th annual Art Festival on February 24 and 25. The critically-acclaimed festival attracts thousands of art lover every year and awards more than $30,000 in prizes to competing artists, and also includes food trucks, live entertainment, activities for children, and a student art show.

OPENINGS

Gauguin: Voyage to Paradise opened at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota. The exhibition highlights the role of botanicals in the artist’s vision of the exotic, and is on display through June 10. In Fort Meyers, Alliance for the Arts opened The Nonagenarians of Shell Point on February 8. Each of the 20 black and white photographic portraits highlight the hobbies, spirits, and souls of Shell Point residents aged 90-99.

Broward County’s Young at Art kicked off a larger than life museum-wide event featuring ten new murals. The three-month long Mural Museum includes workshops, live painting exhibitions, and culminates in the collaborative creation of a public mural masterpiece in celebration of YAA’s 30th birthday on May 18, 2019.

Fort Lauderdale’s ArtServe held their annual juried exhibit ArtBravo from February 5-22. Entrants represented all disciplines and media. In St. Petersburg, Studio @620 featured the group exhibition titled Disparate Saints of St. Petersburg from February 9-28. The exhibit featured sevel local artists and included painting, photography, pastel drawings, and sculpture installations.

Winter Park’s Crealdé School of Art opened Keepers of Heritage: Puerto Rican Artists in Central Florida on February 1. The exhibit features paintings, mixed media, and sculpture by Puerto Rican artists honoring their cultural roots and is on display through May 18, 2019.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Four-time Grammy winner Seal appeared in a special gala concert with The Florida Orchestra on February 9. The multi-platinum singer-songwriter performed several hit songs as well as standards from the Great American Songbook to benefit the orchestra’s community and artistic initiatives.

Jacksonville’s Museum of Science and History hosted the Jacksonville Mini Maker Faire on February 16. The event celebrates the innovative spirit of the region’s “maker movement” and collaboration in Northeast Florida and encourages creativity in each and every citizen.

The Muse Awards, St. Petersburg’s annual celebration of arts and cultural throughout the city, were held on February 8. The event features live music and artwork, dancing, celebration, and camaraderie and benefits creative work throughout the city.

In West Palm Beach, Norton Museum of Art celebrated the opening of the 59,000 square-foot Kenneth C. Griffin Building, designed by Pritzker-Prize-winning architect Lord Norman Foster, as well as a re-imagined main entrance and accompanying sculpture garden. The dramatic updates to the museum will allow the Norton to increase programming and engage with the local community in more dynamic ways.

UPCOMING IN MARCH

Emerald Coast Science Center celebrates its 30th anniversary, Tampa hosts the annual Gasparilla Music Festival on March 9-10, and Spring Break fun for kids at arts organizations throughout the state. Subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter for more updates!


Have an event you’d like to see featured as part of this blog series? Please fill out this form: https://goo.gl/forms/rNFpweK1euL3y9YH2Note: submission does not guarantee inclusion. 

Grantee Feature: Great Explorations Across the Ability Continuum

Provided by Great Explorations Children’s Museum

GreatEx-edit-42354

For over 30 years, Great Explorations Children’s Museum has been committed to bringing innovative, hands-on, educational programs to area youth while also providing invaluable family support services that promote safe and healthy caregiver-child relationships. Known as “Great Ex” to locals, the museum’s mission is to stimulate learning through creativity, play and exploration.

GreatEx-edit-42841Founded in 1986 as the result of a movement to create a children’s museum by the Junior League of St. Petersburg, Great Explorations maintains a significant presence in the Tampa Bay area and nationwide. A member of the Association of Science-Technology Centers and the Association of Children’s Museums, Great Explorations was the first mid-sized children’s museum to receive accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums. It is the only accredited children’s museum in Tampa Bay and one of fewer than a hundred accredited children’s museums nationwide. Great Explorations is committed to upholding museum standards of excellence through its work with children and families in the St. Petersburg community and beyond.

Longos cove kidsSince its founding, Great Explorations has remained steadfastly committed to education through a variety of avenues both inside the museum and out in the community.  We provide S.T.E.A.M. based educational exhibits and programs daily on the museum floor for visitors and school field trip groups.  Our Museum InReach field trips provide elementary-aged children with opportunities for unrestricted self-guided “purposeful play,” providing a unique multi-sensory approach to the traditional classroom subjects taught in school. As funding permits, Title 1 schools and nonprofits are granted free field trips and bus vouchers to ensure students access to our museum; and for many of these students, it is their first visit to a museum in their lifetime.

GreatEx-edit-42930Our educational programming for school-aged children extends to summer camp opportunities as well as after school programming that not only provides homework assistance but extends learning opportunities beyond school hours in our nurturing, enriching and fun environment. Our community outreaches also allow us to take our educational programs mobile, bringing hands-on interactive S.T.E.A.M. activities directly into the most at-risk communities, providing access to high-quality, fun, educational experiences to those that are unable to access these programs at the museum due to monetary or transportation barriers.

Great Explorations is committed to accessibility for all children in our community. In addition to providing reduced admission rates to those in need, after hours museum access for nonprofits and community groups, and resources and educational workshops for families, parents, and caregivers, Great Explorations has developed programming specifically to reach those on the autism spectrum as well as those experiencing memory loss.

GREAT CONNECTIONS

DSC_0330After consulting with the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, Great Explorations launched “Great Connections” in January 2014. The goal of the program was to provide a less crowded and stimulating time for families of children with special needs to explore the museum. We provide extra staff for increased safety and supervision and a “cool down room” for children who need a break.

We are able to offer half-off of our standard admission price to families attending these sessions, and regularly distribute free family passes through our community partners.  We also provide an opportunity for families of children with special needs to connect with community resources in a low-pressure and casual way. In the past, we have connected families with therapeutic drummers, arts organizations, chiropractors, therapy centers, urgent care clinics, and many others.

DSC_0368We are thankful to be one of many organizations that have begun to offer sensory-friendly experiences. It has always been our goal to represent a more inclusive environment that might encourage families to feel more comfortable participating in other museum programs like camps, Parents’ Night Out, and special events, opening the door to a more inclusive experience for all families at all times. We are thrilled to say that we have witnessed this to be the case since the program’s inception. Many families continue exploring the museum even after we open to the general public, and many speech and occupational therapists use our “child-sized world” as a safe place for therapy during standard operating hours.

DSC_0351In the five years since its launch, Great Connections has been a huge benefit to our community because it connects people. It connects family members to each other through interactive engagement fostered by play, it connects families to other families facing similar challenges, and it connects families to services and support from local organizations. We hope to continue to adapt to the needs of the community and to represent the holistic benefits of providing inclusive environments that celebrate the diversity of our community’s children.

MEMORY MONDAY

Memory monday_02Great Explorations is also committed to engaging differently abled adults. In 2017, the museum was approached by three women, now affectionately known as the “Brain Dames”, about being involved in an ongoing program that would provide experiences that could benefit adults with memory loss. In partnership with AARP and the “Brain Dames”, as well Great Ex’s Director of Community Initiatives, Lael Arango, we launched “Memory Monday” in 2018.

Memory Monday is a free, two-hour event that takes place on the first Monday of the month. The core programming includes music, movement, art, humor, intergenerational interaction, and brain boosts, which are strategies, tips and recipes to engage the mind even when memory challenges make other activities difficult.

Since  February 2018, 118 people with memory challenges (affectionately called “cared-fors”) and 82 caregivers have attended Memory Monday. In its second year, we have moved the program to a larger space to accommodate the high number of participants, volunteers and presenters.

memory-9302Memory Monday is unique in that it goes beyond providing a social experience or a “keep Grandma occupied” experience by presenting high-quality activities that enrich and engage participants. For example, the Florida Orchestra brought violins to one event and everyone had the opportunity to play them – one table of participants even pieced together “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and played it in unison in an impromptu performance. Each month, an instructor from Arts4All Florida facilitates Mindful Moves, during which one dance is made up of movements inspired by a conversation with participants about love, or nature, or whatever the theme of the month is. The instructor puts the movements in a sequence and sets them to music, allowing participants to do a memory activity tied to physical movement and the sensory experience of listening to beautiful music.

Small groups of children from the museum’s educational programs come participate in an activity with the adults each month. One month they may all be learning about the bassoon together, while another month they are painting flower pots and planting seeds together. One month last year they made cards and put together hygiene bags for families at our local Ronald McDonald House together. Many people cite the interaction with the children as their favorite part of the program, and the children’s enjoyment shows on their faces.

JeanneAuggie_MemoryMondayMemory Monday benefits the community by reminding people with memory challenges that their brains are still able to learn and that they are still able to enjoy new experiences. We have also created numerous partnerships with organizations that aren’t necessarily on the front lines of serving families with memory loss, bringing diverse organizations together to serve a growing population in a unique and creative way.

In the future, we hope to be able to reach even more people in the community. We often have requests to hold Memory Monday more frequently, and we’d love to be able to expand our services to caregivers or to provide service-based experiences for our cared-fors. We are honored to provide a safe, nurturing, explorative environment for children and families across the ability continuum and lifespan.

To learn more about Great Explorations Children’s Museum, visit our website: https://greatex.org/.

The Division thanks Lael Arango, Mandy Paige, and Great Explorations staff for their participation in this post.


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

 

Art Talk: Jane Lindberg, President of Arts Alive Nassau

Arts Alive Nassau provides arts opportunities and educational experiences free of charge to students in Nassau County schools. We chatted with founder and president Jane Lindberg to learn more about the organization and about her career in Florida.

Division of Cultural Affairs (DCA): Tell us about the history and founding of Arts Alive Nassau.

Jane: We were formerly known as the Amelia Arts Academy. In the 1990’s, we were the only organization in our area that offered private lessons in different kinds of arts. By 2011, our original plan was not working and the organization was failing miserably. I was trying to raise funds to start a band in one of the elementary schools and went to see a potential funder. He was hesitant to support an organization that was giving lessons to kids from families who could afford to pay for them. I took this information back to our board of directors and we began to rethink our operations. There were hundreds of kids in Nassau County who were totally without any kind of cultural life… there was no visual arts curriculum in the elementary schools at all and very minimal music instruction. So we started a conversation with the school board about how our organization could provide the artists/teachers and the programming if they could provide the space and the children. This was the beginning of our organization as it is known today.

image (4)In 2012, we were “reborn” as Arts Alive Nassau and started offering three programs: a dulcimer class, an elementary school band, and a visual art class. Originally, we worked with three elementary schools and provided the classes after school. Over the past six years, we have grown to providing 20 after school classes and two classes with the ESE program during the school day. We are now a presence in each of the nine elementary schools in the county.  The schools don’t charge us anything for the use of the space and we are able to offer our instruction free of charge, in exchange. It’s a wonderful relationship because finding space and getting kids on location is often a problem. Through our partnership, the instruction happens right where they are and it has worked very well.

DCA: What is unique about the population that your organization serves?

Jane: Nassau County is very unique. The differences between the South end of Amelia Island, West County and East County are huge. Some towns such as Yulee, Callahan, and Bryceville are mostly rural and there are very few arts opportunities at all. Bryceville Elementary, for example, is so small that they don’t even have a music teacher or art teacher. But, the schools in these towns were the first to contact us with interest of seeing what we could do for their students.

DCA: What types of programming does Arts Alive Nassau offer?

IMG_3747Jane: We offer music lessons, violin, ukulele, band… one of the elementary schools has both a brass ensemble and a drumline. We still offer our dulcimer classes as well as visual arts classes in painting, drawing, and puppetry. We also have a great partnership with a theater company in South Carolina, the Baillie Players, that has helped us produce musicals at Callahan Elementary School for the past five years. This year they are doing “Snow White”. The teacher at Callahan has all the music, scripts, choreography and casts the show and then our partner company will come down to coach the kids and bring the sets, costumes, and props. There are usually 40-50 students involved and it’s such a wonderful thing for the children. In Callahan, which has a population of around 1,300, the community members and families come out in droves to see the children perform– even the mayor usually makes an appearance! It’s a great event not only for the students involved but for the community, as well.

In the past, we have also facilitated an honors chorus, which has recently developed into the First Coast Singers.

DCA: How many students are involved with your programs?

Drumlineclass2018Jane: Each year, close to 600 students are involved in our activities. Currently, we have 255 students in our classroom-based programs. We’d love to be able to reach more students but are limited, like many organizations, by our budget.

We emphasize quality over quantity. Most of our music classes have a limit of ten students. This is to ensure that our students are getting the best possible instruction at all times.

DCA: What is your role within the organization?

Jane: I am “president for life”. Our organization is very small and has no paid executive director. We are fortunate to have a wonderful board of directors made up of people who really care and really show up. They are the driving force behind everything that we do.

Four years ago, we were fortunate to receive an endowment that has enabled us to hire a program director. She has done an incredible job working with the schools and coordinating everything. We are constantly coming up with new ways to grow, and to involve students in the arts from early on. This is really important to me because I think that we, as a society, are somewhat culturally illiterate. The arts are not valued nearly as much as the value that they add.

DCA: How long have you lived and worked in Florida?

Jane: I moved here in 1998 with my husband to build an industrial plant in Yulee, for manufacturing and assemble electrical controls. For a long time, I was not very involved in the arts, but then began teaching music history at Jacksonville University. While I eventually left my teaching position due to the travel time, I still miss being around the students. College students are wonderful in the way that they think about things– it’s just a different perspective. I think I’ve always been a teacher at heart– it’s really what I love most. So right now, that’s still at the heart of what I do, even if I do most of it on a volunteer basis.

DCA: What is the best part of your job?

Close up performanceIt’s definitely seeing the children’s faces. When they get excited and they’ve just learned how to play something, they are so proud of themselves. I think that arts education presents the opportunity for children to find out who they are inside because to me, that’s what the arts give us. They allow children the opportunity to find out who they are through creativity. To see the awakening that takes place in every student and the self assurance and self esteem that comes from learning that they can perform and create in front of people is just amazing. I think that the arts are wonderful because you can have so much fun while you’re learning.

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

Jane: It’s amazing to know that we are providing an opportunity for these children that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Our school board does the best that they can– they’re facing constant budget cuts from the legislature and we are able to fill in the gaps and provide art and music to students when the school district can’t.

In some ways, our county is very depressed, so having arts and cultural education available to students is so important. We really want to document what we’ve been able to do in Nassau County so that we can share it with others who might be able to start a similar program where they live and work.

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

Bryceville Jan 2019.2 (002)

 

Jane: Florida, physically, is an absolutely beautiful state– really, there are places in Florida that are just gorgeous. But I think that arts and culture make us civilized. They soften our world and our environment tremendously. I can’t imagine living in a place without art– what a horrible thing it would be if there were nothing stimulating to see or to hear. Arts and culture make us different as human beings– and right now, I think we need culture more than ever.

For more information about Arts Alive Nassau, visit their website at: http://www.artsalivenassau.org/.

The Division thanks Jane Lindberg, President of Arts Alive Nassau, for her participation in this interview. 

Culture in Florida: January 2019

culture-in-florida

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.

Happy New Year! We welcomed 2019 with a fantastic array of arts and cultural events throughout the state. This year, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs celebrates our 50th anniversary. Visit our website to learn more about what we do. Here are some notable events from our grantee organizations that took place throughout the state during the month of January:

Arts and Health

Did you make a resolution for better health in 2019? If so, try getting active with arts and culture! Many museums including the Vizcaya Museum, Mennello Museum of American Art, Polk Museum, and ArtCenter Manatee hold regular yoga classes in their galleries. See this feature from back in July that outlines these and many more health and wellness activities at art galleries and museums throughout the state.

Featured Festivals

North Florida

Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival kicked off their 18th season this month with a performance by the world-renowned Miró Quartet. The star-studded line-up includes Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Bell, the Dover Quartet, and Emanuel Ax. St. Augustine also held their annual film festival from January 17-20, featuring films by 20 filmmakers from throughout the nation.

Central Florida

As a preview to their two-week long festival in May, Orlando Fringe held a Winter Mini Fest, featuring 22 diverse shows over four days. Heartland Cultural Alliance presented their inaugural Festival of the Arts, a one-day festival featuring exhibitions by local artists as well as an open house, food and drink, and other interactive activities.

South Florida

Miami Beach’s longest running free community festival, Miami Design Preservation League’s Art Deco Weekend, was held from January 18-20. The wide variety of events included jazz performances, guided walking tours, a “bark deco” dog show, a retro fashion show, food, drink, and other merriment. Community Arts and Culture kicked off their 21st annual Afro Roots Festival celebrating women in World Music. Events will continue through April throughout South Florida.

In Southwest Florida, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve held their annual Festival of Birds and Key Chorale hosted the Sarasota Choral Festival. In Key West, the annual Key West Literary Seminar was held from January 10-13. Visiting authors included Margaret Atwood and Joyce Carol Oates, among others.

Openings and Closings

Kissimmee’s Osceola County Historical Society opened “Osceola Natives”, an exhibit exploring the history and lore of some of Florida’s first inhabitants and Quincy’s Gadsden Arts Center opened “Norman Rockwell in the 1960’s”, an exhibit that focuses on Rockwell’s illustrations during the turbulent decade. The exhibit is on display through May 18, 2019.

In Orlando, Mennello Museum for American Art opened “The Unbridled Paintings of Lawrence H. Lebduska”. Lebduska is one of the most popular folk art painters of the 1930’s. Across town, Orlando Museum of Art opened an exhibit focused on the works of Belgian post-impressionist Louis Dewis.

Jacksonville’s Museum of Science and History hosted “Backyard Adventures”, an interactive, travelling science exhibit for kids, and ArtCenter Manatee hosted a travelling exhibit of the American Watercolor Society. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens opened “Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica”, a unique exhibit showcasing the vibrant, hand-painted masks of artists and artisans from Costa Rica’s Boruca tribe.

In Delray Beach, Arts Garage opened “You Me Us”, featuring up-and-coming artists Bo Sebastian and David Menton, and Museum of Art-DeLand opened “We Too Dream America”, a celebration of African-American art on display through March 17, 2019.

Celebrations and Special Events

Celebrated astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson paid a visit to Jacksonville’s Florida Theatre on January 21. The award-winning scientist presented “An Astrophysicist Goes to the Movies: The Sequel”. Fort Lauderdale’s Bonnet House Museum and Gardens also looked towards the skies with the opening of their 23rd annual “Concerts Under the Stars” series.

Perez Art Museum Miami and ArtCenter South Florida hosted Latinx Art Sessions from January 24-25, an event celebrating and exploring Latinx identity in art. This new initiative by two Miami cultural giants aims to promote research into the complex dynamics of Latinx identity and its representations in art works of all kinds.

Cocoa Village Playhouse held the “Florida Magician of the Year” contest and Sarasota Ballet offered audiences a rare look behind-the-scenes with their event “Inside the Studio: The Creative Process”. This is a monthly series that continues throughout the season.

Upcoming in February

Many organizations celebrate African American History Month, the 84th annual Bach Festival Winter Park kicks off, and Grammy-winning recording artist Seal makes an appearance with The Florida Orchestra. Subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter for more updates!


Have an event you’d like to see featured as part of this blog series? Please fill out this form: https://goo.gl/forms/rNFpweK1euL3y9YH2Note: submission does not guarantee inclusion. 

Meet the Florida Council on Arts and Culture: Katharine Dickenson

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 Council Chairman Katharine Dickenson. Katharine was re-appointed to the Council by Governor Scott in 2018. 


katharine photoDivision of Cultural Affairs (DCA): Tell us a little about yourself.

Katharine: As a lifelong Floridian, I have been fortunate to see the state of Florida develop into a world class arts destination. Growing up in Jacksonville I was lucky to have had an early start in theater. As a Girl Scout, I played Juliette Gordon Low, Girl Scout founder, to a packed audience in a church hall wearing bloomers. Moving to Miami as a young teenager, I acted in several plays at my high school. “Glee Plays the Game” and “The Mouse That Roared” were two of my early Thespian efforts. In “Glee” I had to flounce around the stage and in “Mouse” I was a dedicated secretary to the Prime Minister. I found I was a much better “flouncer” than a secretary.

At home, my family had an interest in the arts. My father would show slides of famous paintings after dinner and we would occasionally listen to opera and jazz. I loved the slides but opera was harder for me to understand. Now of course I love it.

I attended the University of Miami graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Education and a Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel Work. I wanted to be a Dean of Women in a college or university. My Graduate Assistantship work consisted of programming speakers and events for the large student union. Some of the events included Dionne Warwick, Andy Warhol, The Aboriginal Missionaries Band (spoiler alert: my brother’s band), and Gene Shepard, American Storyteller and radio and TV personality, amongst others. I even spent a day with Andy Warhol, Paul Morrissey and Viva as chair of the Program Council at the University of Miami. Buy me a coke and I will tell you about that.

Retiring from the stage early, I began a career of community leadership and advocacy in Boca Raton with an emphasis on Historic Preservation and the Arts. Serving as President of the Junior League, Chair of the Historical Society Board and the Palm Beach County Historic Preservation Board was a privilege. I was appointed to the Florida Historic Preservation Advisory Council in 1983 by the Secretary of State to review grants, set policy and advocate with the Legislature.

Nationally, I served on the board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Edith Wharton Home in Lenox, MA, the Robert Todd Lincoln home in Vermont and the Manchester Music Festival as well as the Dorset Theater Festival also in Vermont. Recently, I served on the board of the Lynn University Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton.  In 2010, the Department of The Interior appointed me to a Federal Commission to celebrate the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine, which was held in 2015. St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied city in America, and our year-long celebration culminated in hosting the King and Queen of Spain as our guests.

DCA: What do you think when you hear “Culture Builds Florida?

Katharine: The Arts are for everyone, with enjoyment coming from creating, producing or being an audience member. They create soul-changing experiences that unite us as a people, a culture and as a social organism– giving us laughter, tears and pure enjoyment for a full life. In Florida, The Division of Cultural Affairs and The Council on Arts and Culture strive to do this every day, every way for everyone.

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

Katharine: For me, working as a member of this Council since 2001 and chairing it several times, I find it most inspiring to be able to affect change. In a field that is home to 29,735 creative industries with a $14 billion annual payroll creating $49.7 million in annual revenue, the Arts are clearly a player in state industries. This success creates economic prosperity and makes our state livable and attractive.

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

Katharine: As a longtime member of the Council, I have seen the “glory days” when legislative support for Florida’s arts and cultural programs was over $40 million dollars and also the years where only $2 million was awarded to run the same number of programs. It is my job as a member of the Florida Council on Arts and Culture to work towards greater legislative support for the role of the arts in creating a diverse and successful state. Florida has the potential to have one of the finest statewide arts and cultural programs in the country. We who love the arts must encourage advocacy, diligent grant reading, and speaking aloud in support of the arts in our individual cities in order for things to change.

Currently, I live in Vero Beach happily representing Indian River County after 48 years in Boca Raton and representing my beloved Palm Beach County.