Art Talk: Kimberly Hyatt and Cathedral Arts Project

The Cathedral Arts Project is an arts education organization serving the children of Northeast Florida by providing access to instruction in the visual and performing arts. It was founded in 1993 by a small group of individuals from St. John’s Cathedral wanting to provide arts instruction to underserved and at-risk youth. We chatted with CAP’s President and CEO, Rev. Kimberly Hyatt, to learn more about the organization and about her career as an arts leader in Florida.

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

Kimberly: This summer will be 23 years. I came to Florida in 1996 and have been with the Cathedral Arts Project since 2002.

DCA: Tell us about your work with the Cathedral Arts Project. What is the best part of your job?

AM4A3534Kimberly: The children are definitely the best part of the job — just witnessing how the arts can transform a child’s life. We see time and time again that there’s something about the arts to reach children in ways nothing else can. The arts stay with them for life and it is really a privilege to witness.

 

DCA: What are some of the challenges involved with leading this organization?

Kimberly: When leading any institution there are always challenges to overcome and we try to see these as opportunities to solve. One challenge would be the fact that there are so many children in our community who would benefit from an arts-rich education. Continuously trying to serve these children while maintaining the standards of our programming is definitely a challenge — to balance growth with maintaining quality.

DSC03547Right now, it is especially important to make sure everyone understands how vital the arts are when it comes to issues of mental health. It’s so tough to be growing up today and I really feel that it is more important than ever that children be able to utilize the arts as a means of self-expression. I think anyone who watched the powerful performance by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas theatre students at last year’s Tony Awards is aware of just how important the arts can be when facing complex challenges.

Getting everyone to understand that if you care about public education, you must care about arts education is also particularly challenging. We’ve been able to move the needle a great deal here in Jacksonville, but it is so important that everyone learns how impactful an arts education can be. We know what the arts are capable of achieving and we want to make them the top of everyone’s minds.

DCA: How has the organization evolved over the years?

Kimberly: When I came the budget was small, under $100,000. It was a fledgling ministry of the local cathedral that had just recently become a standalone nonprofit organization. Now our budget is over $2 million and growing — so we’ve definitely evolved in that way. This has allowed us to grow from being a small organization serving just a few children to a more complex organization that serves many more children, working collectively with others for systemic change. Today I tend to put our work into three buckets.

PHP 1718-1The first is that we teach children, so we provide arts learning to children who need it the most. That will always be the heart and soul of what we do. The Cathedral Arts Project also provides professional development for local artists, educators, and school administrators. The third bucket is advocacy. We spend a lot of energy on advocacy, working to broaden the relevance of arts education in the minds of families, policymakers, and business leaders. This goes hand-in-hand with what I said earlier, that caring about public education means caring about arts education.

For a program that started out serving just 10 kids in an afterschool dance class, we’ve grown tremendously. We directly impact more than 1,000 students each year through our afterschool and summer programs but are able to serve many more through the various facets of our programming. Over the years, more than 28,000 children have been enrolled in our programs.

DCA: Which counties or areas does your organization serve?

Kimberly: We serve all of Duval County, which has over 129,000 students enrolled in public schools.

DCA: In your opinion, what is the greatest contribution the Cathedral Arts Project makes to the community?

DSC04264Kimberly: It goes back to our mission statement. I truly believe that we are enriching the quality of life here for generations to come. The latter part of that statement is easy for us to sometimes gloss over, but the transformative effect that our work is having on a child’s life will have ripple effects for generations to come, in countless ways.

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

DSC02413Kimberly: I think that culture really is what sets us apart as a state. Culture draws visitors to come and have experiences that they can’t have anywhere else. Culture is what draws companies to relocate their communities and it’s why people want to live here. I think it is culture that joins all of us to work here together, regardless of how different we might be. I believe that arts and culture provide opportunities for each of us to feel like we belong and to understand each other and really build one another up.


The Division thanks Rev. Kimberly Hyatt and the CAP team for their participation in this interview. To learn more about the Cathedral Arts Project, visit their website: https://capkids.org/.

Culture in Florida: March 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.

Welcome back! Here’s a taste of arts and culture in Florida during March 2019:

FEATURED FESTIVALS

The annual Gasparilla Music Festival was held in Tampa on March 9-10. This year’s festival featured a wide variety of performances that promoted the region’s cultural heritage and supported the festival’s music education initiatives.

In Miami, the Miami Design Preservation League facilitated the inaugural Miami Beach Cultural Crawl. Some of the areas most famous institutions teamed up to offer complimentary admission to attendees, who enjoyed a free trolley between venues such as the New World Symphony, The BASS Museum, and the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens among others.

“The greatest show in Gainesville” was on full display during Jest Fest. The event featured six stages of continuous entertainment from world-famous stars of circus and comedy.

The cities of Pembroke Pines and Apollo Beach also hosted weekend-long festivals that included juried art fairs, entertainment, food, and workshops for adults and children, and in Orange County, the Orlando Museum of Art held their annual Festival of Fine Arts and Flowers. This unique event hosted a museum-wide showcase of fresh floral designs inspired by the OMA permanent collection and current exhibitions in addition to a “Flower Power” party, a mystery home tour, live jazz, antique dealers, and much more.

EXCITING EVENTS

Key Chorale hosted their annual collaboration with The Circus Arts Conservatory, Cirque des Voix (R), performed under the Big Top at Nathan Benderson Park. This event, unlike anything else in the country, combined a 100 voice chorus, a 40 piece orchestra, and many spellbinding circus acts. At the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, visitors embarked on a Day Out with Thomas, a family-oriented event that offers aspiring engineers the opportunity to take a ride with Thomas the Tank Engine™.

Emerald Coast Science Center celebrated their 30th birthday this month with a celebration including live music, food and beverages, and a silent auction, and Zoo Miami held their annual fundraiser called Feast with the Beasts. This highly unique event offered wild animal encounters, food, live music, and merriment.

Naples Botanical Garden and Naples Garden Club teamed up to present the annual Naples Flower Show. This event is one of the largest flower shows in Florida and includes a Garden Market, educational demonstrations, juried designs and horticultural exhibits. Polk Museum of Art honored French language and culture by hosting La Francophonie Day. This French-focused educational program coincided with the closing of the museum’s Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist exhibition.

Studios of Key West hosted a Piano Marathon on March 17 to benefit Hugh’s View, the Studios’ rooftop visual and performing space set to open to the public in 2020. The all-day line-up of jazz, blues, classical, gospel, show tunes, standards, new music, and more featured a rotating cast of eighteen fabulous pianists.

In St. Petersburg, Studio @620 teamed up with projectAlchemy and Rebekah Lazaridis for a collaborative dance and visual art performance entitled “Bloom and Residue”. This interactive design performance explored themes of change, transformation, and new life.

OPENINGS AND CLOSINGS

In Fort Myers, Alliance for the Arts held their 33rd annual All-Florida juried art exhibit. This exhibit featured pieces created by artists working in a wide variety of media from all over Florida. In Key West, Studios of Key West opened With the Grain, a collection of some of the nation’s most accomplished wood artists.

Carrollwood Cultural Center curated a unique show of expressive art that addresses the effects of Red Tide and other oceanic challenges called Ode to Red Tide and in Fort Lauderdale, Bonnet House and ArtServe opened Impressions: The New Aesthetic, Fort Lauderdale’s preeminent exhibition of modern and contemporary original work from South Florida.

Art and Culture Center/Hollywood opened a series of site-specific installations by local and national artists who explore discoveries between experimentation and academic practice with lighting, sets, sculpture, and performance called Frimaire is the Color of Adolescent Sunset.

Palm Beach’s Society of the Four Arts opened an exhibit that grew out of the Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative called Portraits of Courage: A Commander-in-Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors. This exhibit brings together 66 full-color portraits and a four-panel mural painted by President Bush and other members of the United States military.

In Jacksonville, the Cummer Museum and Gardens opened Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art, an exhibition that brings together light-boxes and video animations tha chronicle some of the most infamous and high profile museum heists in history. The exhibition’s images pay homage to artworks by Degas, Manet, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and others that were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

UPCOMING IN APRIL

Check back next motnh to hear about Sarasota Film Festival, the Pensacola Jazz Festival, the Inaugural Holly Hill Arts Festival and so much more! Subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter for updates. 


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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.

Art Talk: Jennifer Sabo, Executive Director of Arts4All Florida

Arts4All Florida is a statewide service organization dedicated to making the arts accessible for everyone. We chatted with Jennifer Sabo, the organization’s executive director, to learn more the organization and about her career in Florida.

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

Jennifer: I attended grad school at UF and earned a Master’s in Museum Studies with a concentration in Education. After grad school, I briefly moved to LA, but ultimately came back to Florida, working at the Ringling Museum for a few years as the Youth and Families Program Manager. After that, I had the opportunity to be the founding Director of Education at the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples. That was a true labor of love! It was so exciting to be part of building something from the dirt up. I then had the not-so-brilliant idea to move north again (into the cold), but was soon looking to move back to Florida right when Arts4All Florida (formerly VSA Florida) was looking for a new Executive Director. It worked out perfectly, as I already knew a lot about the organization and had partnered with them on a few programs when I was working with Ringling and Golisano. I’ve now been the Executive Director at Arts4All Florida for a little over four years.

DCA: Tell us about your work with Arts4All Florida. What is the best part of your job?

Jennifer: There are three parts to my job. One part involves the typical Executive Director task of funding the organization—both finding funding and managing funding. A big part of our budget comes from the Florida Department of Education, so a lot of my work is managing and writing our grants, meeting deliverables, reviewing program evaluations, communicating with stakeholders, and so on.

Another big part of my job is what is typical of much nonprofit administration work, “other duties as assigned”. This includes a little bit of everything—marketing, event planning, working at summer camps, and many other things. This is one of the things that I love about the organization. We have an amazing—but small—staff, so everyone really works together and takes turns helping one another with their duties. No one is a silo!

The last part of my job involves trainings, conducting both in-person trainings for school districts and cultural organizations and webinars. We help teach others about accommodations and accessibility for all. I love this part of my job. Most of the time, the people that are at the training really want to be there and want to be more inclusive and accessible. It’s awesome when you see the lightbulb go off in someone’s head and say, “this will work for my neurotypical students, too!” Our vision is really to make the arts accessible for everybody.

DCA: What are some of the challenges involved with leading this organization?

Jennifer: Funding. Every year, the month of April is really stressful, as we wait to hear about grants and other funding sources. We are an interesting organization in that we are both public and private. A large portion of our funding comes from the Department of Education through the University of South Florida. All of our staff are USF employees, but we are also a private 501(c)(3). This makes my work interesting because we have to report to our funders, the DOE, USF, and school districts in more than 60 different counties.

DCA: How has the organization evolved over the years?

Jennifer: The organization is now 38 years old. It was founded in 1981 as a joint project between the Florida Department of Education and the Division of Cultural Affairs. Florida was incredibly proactive about facilitating arts accessibility in this regard– the organization was founded before the Americans with Disabilities Act. It was originally called Florida Arts for the Handicapped, and was part of the international organization that eventually became VSA (which stood for “Very Special Arts”). In 1986, VSA directed all affiliate organizations to become private nonprofit organizations, which was the start of the organization as it exists today.

The program has changed throughout the years based on whatever the needs have been at certain times. We have hosted conferences, residencies, trainings, and now we do a little bit of everything.

Recently, we changed our name from VSA Florida to Arts4All Florida to signify our focus on universal arts. We want everyone to be able to participate in the arts together, not just people with disabilities.

DCA: Which counties or areas do you serve?

Jennifer: For the past two years, we have served 64 different counties throughout Florida. We serve each differently based on their specific needs.

DCA: In your opinion, what is the greatest contribution that Arts4All Florida makes to the community?

Jennifer: Our vision is to make it so that everyone can do art together, so that the arts are universally accessible to people with and without disabilities. The arts are a unifying force and they really level the playing field, so to speak. Many people who have disabilities are able to be incredibly successful in the arts. It’s really cool to see someone without a disability appreciating the art of someone with a disability.

We just wrapped up our “A Definition of Dance” program which we started four years ago. We wanted to bring world-renowned dancers with disabilities to Tampa to do community outreach and performances. The performance during the first year of the program was one of the most incredible performances that I have ever been to in my life, one of those events where everything comes together just right and amazing things happen. In year two, we expanded the program to bring in more dancers and travel to more cities. We were able to bring in 15 artists with all different kinds of abilities from eight different countries for performances in Jacksonville, Miami, and Tampa. This year, we brought in the dance crew ILL-Abilities, and they were absolutely amazing. They spoke about discovering and overcoming their disabilities through dance, and were able to translate this story into their performances. Each dancer performed solo before they came together as a crew. The coolest part was watching how kids reacted to their performance—the kids didn’t focus on the dancers’ disabilities—they just thought, “this is really cool”. That experience was really like our vision coming to life.

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

Jennifer: As I mentioned before, the arts are a unifying presence for everybody, whether you are a creator or a consumer. Everybody can enjoy some type of arts and everybody gets something different out of it, either through producing art, participating in art, or viewing art. The arts relax, heal, and unite us. They are social and bring everybody together. No matter what your job is or what your abilities are, everybody can engage with the arts at some level. They make us who we are as a society and culture.

DCA: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about Arts4All Florida?

Jennifer: If there are any organizations that want to help the arts become more inclusive and accessible, please contact us! We are here as a state service organization to help you.

For more information about Arts4All Florida, visit their website at: http://vsafl.org.

The Division thanks Jennifer Sabo, Executive Director at Arts4All Florida, for her gracious participation in this interview.  

Grantee Spotlight: Art and Culture Center/Hollywood ‘Arts Aspire’ Programs

Provided by Art and Culture Center/Hollywood

Arts Aspire Summer Group

Founded in 1975, Art and Culture Center/Hollywood is a thriving cultural institution in Broward County, providing diverse and comprehensive programming in the visual arts, theater, music and dance. Throughout the center’s more than 40-year history, their programming has evolved to include comprehensive education programs, partnerships with other South Florida cultural institutions, and a wide variety of special events.

Education CampSince 2003, Art and Culture Center/Hollywood has dramatically expanded their education initiatives to include both summer and year-round programming for children, teens, and adults. They also have a successful Distance Learning program, which has provided arts education broadcasts to nearly 14,000 Broward County students since its inception.

Ramson Sound BoardOne of their programs for teens, Arts Aspire, is a three-tier pyramid of defined, hands-on activities that promote strong leadership as well as college and career readiness for students and young adults ages 14-21. The program grew out of the Center’s thriving summer performing arts camps. It became evident to the education staff that as the campers were growing older, they were becoming interested not only in performing but in everything that was happening behind the scenes to support the productions. As a result, several interested students were invited to participate in an informal apprenticeship with the camps, exploring set design, lighting, and sound engineering, as well as leadership and business skills.

Peter Pan Set Painting

 

The opportunity to explore multiple facets of production was extremely popular with the students, and as a result, the apprenticeships were formalized into an application-based ‘Ambassador’ Program. A year-round version of the program was added soon after and then expanded last year to include a more comprehensive experience at multiple levels. The program now offers three tiers of participation, for different age ranges:

  • Teen Arts Ambassadors (ages 14-18), which offers leadership and professional training through monthly meetings and workshops, participation in a community-based outreach project, and work-place experiences and community service hours at the Center
  • Arts Associates (ages 17-18), which offers project-based training through shadowing, observing, and hands-on experiences in marketing, events, and education initiatives at the Center
  • Arts Apprentices (ages 18-21), which offers an internship-based training program in the areas of education, marketing, grant development, curriculum development, multimedia design, and events at the Center

Jas MakeupStudents participating at all levels not only gain valuable work experience, but receive hands-on training in 21st-century leadership skills that are transferrable to any occupation. Arts Associates and Arts Apprentices are even paid for their work, providing many students with their very first formalized work experiences in an environment in which they are already comfortable. The Center selects up to 5 students each year as Arts Apprentices, 3-5 Associates, and around 20 Arts Ambassadors, with most spots available during the summer months. Many past participants have gone on to work in similar fields at other organizations or in college.

Set Design

To learn more about Art and Culture Center/Hollywood and Arts Aspire, visit their website at: https://artandculturecenter.org/.


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Meet the Florida Council on Arts and Culture: Nancy Turrell

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 Nancy Turrell. Nancy was appointed to the council in October 2017 by Senate President Negron.


NT martiesDCA: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Nancy: I am resident of Stuart, Florida, one of Florida’s great and growing small arts towns. I have been fortunate to serve as the Executive Director of the Arts Council of Martin County since April 1999…nearly 20 years. My educational background includes a Master of Arts in Philanthropy and Development from Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from New York University.

I am not an artist; however, I had opportunities as a young person growing up to be involved in the performing arts.  I played the lead role in our fifth-grade class play, “The Murder at Mother Goose’s House.” Starting in sixth grade, I began playing the flute and in seventh joined the choir, both of which I continued through my senior year in high school. Through my participation on a nationally competitive synchronized swimming team I gained an appreciation of classical music and choreography.

I am a lover of the arts. I was raised to attend concerts, go to museums, and love to be in the audience. In the past I’ve served as a board member of the Lyric Theatre and as an advisory member for Florida Arts and Dance Company.

While attending NYU, I was introduced to arts administration. During my senior year, I had an internship with the Cooper Hewitt Museum, a part of the Smithsonian Institute. I was placed in the development office and was soon covering for the membership director who went on maternity leave. My continuing love of Alexander Calder’s artwork was born there, as I was tasked with the job of translating his titles from French to English.  This was a great early lesson on the many hats an employee of an arts organization wears.  When I moved to California after college, I sought a position in an arts institution but was repeatedly told that without an arts background they weren’t interested. Needing a job, I secured a temporary position with United Way of Los Angeles County and went to work. Shortly thereafter, I found my way to Stuart in 1990, and United Way of Martin County.  When Mary Shaw (my predecessor) retired from the Arts Council in 1999, I jumped at the chance to get back to my roots in arts administration.

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

Nancy: Communities across the state would be lifeless places without the spice and variety that arts and culture infuse. Florida’s most popular tourist attractions are firmly based in creativity; this industry depends on people gaining a solid education rooted in creativity and the arts.  This builds Florida’s economy, its people and culture and our shared experience as Floridians.

The arts are a vehicle to bring together people of vastly different life experiences. Today, we need to have more things that bring us together rather than split us apart. Too many societal issues challenge us and create divisiveness, where shared arts experiences bring people and communities together. This may be our most important role in “Culture Builds Florida” as we look back years from now at the legacy that is created by our actions today.

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

Nancy: I am inspired to build our audiences for future generations to come. I have said for many years that the goal of our arts education programs and outreach efforts isn’t really to build future artists, but rather to create an understanding and appreciation of the arts that leads to a passion for the arts.  Without an audience an artist has no purpose and our lives would be so very boring and uninteresting.

The joy that the arts brings into our lives can not go without mention. For me, the arts have created many happy memories and cherished moments.

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

Nancy: I hope to change the tide of funding for the arts across the state through advocacy. I am a firm believer in the validity of the state grant process.  Having a leadership opportunity to speak out on behalf of the process and its transparency is a privilege. Being appointed to the Florida Council on Arts and Culture gives me a voice that I didn’t have before.  As the director of a small organization in a community where not many organizations receive grants, my hope is to increase the number of grant applications through the Division of Cultural Affairs from my region, the Treasure Coast.  Receiving these grant funds will further strengthen the case for the investment of state funds in local arts organizations.

Culture in Florida: October 2018

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.

Welcome to a special Halloween edition of Culture In Florida! Many organizations got spooky and kooky with arts and culture this month. The Imperial Symphony also hosted Lakeland’s own rock band Copeland in a unique concert, Tampa’s Spanish Lyric Theatre celebrated the beginning of their 60th anniversary season, and Zoo Miami’s newest baby pygmy hippo made his debut. 

Here’s a glimpse into arts and culture throughout Florida during the month of October:

National News of Note

October marked National Arts and Humanities Month. Celebrated by Americans for the Arts for more than 30 years, NAHM is an opportunity to focus on the arts at local, state, and national levels, to encourage individuals and organizations to participate in the arts; to allow governments and businesses to show their support of the arts, and to raise public awareness about the role the arts and humanities play in our communities and lives. Learn more by clicking the link above. 

Featured Festivals

In Tampa, the Florida Aquarium hosted Brews By The Bay, which featured beer and food samplings, live entertainment, and a silent disco throughout its exhibits. In Green Cove Springs, the CalaVida Arts Festival brought dozens of visual and performing arts experiences to the small town on the majestic St. John’s River. Jazz festivals were held in Clearwater and Amelia Island, and downtown Orlando was transformed into a dynamic outdoor performance venue for IMMERSE 2018, facilitated by the Creative City Project.

The arts were on wide display in St. Petersburg, which hosted their annual Festival of the Arts, featuring pop-up performances, theatre, dance, music, culinary experiences, family-friendly events, and performances by local arts organizations. St. Pete also held the SHINE Mural Festival, an initiative that “illuminates the power of art in public spaces by revitalizing areas, inspiring dialogue, and uniting our community–while cultivating new standards of artistic excellence and reflecting St. Petersburg’s creative and vibrant spirit”.

Artis-Naples enjoyed the international spotlight with the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Naples International Film Festival. This four day festival featured a diverse range of films and events. Jacksonville’s Cummer Museum and Gardens, in partnership with the City of Jacksonville’s Environmental Protection Board, hosted their third annual Envirofest, a family-friendly festival centered on raising environmental awareness through the arts. In Delray Beach, Morikami Museum and Gardens hosted their hugely popular Lantern Festival, which featured Japanese folk-dancing, drumming, an Ennichi street fair, and lantern floating ceremony.

Openings and Closings  

Naples Botanical Garden opened “Reflections on Glass: Fräbel in the Garden”, which “brings a collection of whimsical sculptures and installations by flamework glass artist Hans Godo Fräbel to Naples for the first time. The exhibition features botanical pieces, playful figures, and ornate geometric shapes. Palm Beach’s Old School Square opened “Tech Effect”, on view through February 2019, an exhibit that explores how technology has influenced contemporary art through augmented reality, immersive gallery installations, and interactive artwork. Daytona Beach’s Museum of Arts and Sciences hosted a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian called “100 Faces of War”. The exhibition features 100 oil portraits of American veterans.

Art Center South Florida opened “Parallels and Peripheries”, a series that “investigates how eight artists create work constructed from narratives, myths, and memories that shape personal, political and societal identities”. Studios of Key West revisited Thomas Filipkowski’s popular 2013 project, “Heads Up Key West”, which featured photographs of 600 faces from the community. 2018’s “Heads Up Key West: Then and Now” explores changes caused by time and circumstance and “the reality of what it means to live in paradise”. Sarasota’s Selby Botanical Gardens is celebrating orchids in their many froms from October 12 through November 25. Never-before-seen displays of orchids that celebrate the “plant family’s dramatic diversity of colors, shapes, and scents” are featured. 

Halloween-Themed Events

Dozens of arts and cultural organizations embraced the halloween spirit this month. Alachua County’s Matheson History Museum offered a one-of-a-kind immersive theatre experience called “Halloween Moon Rising” and Orange County’s Enzian Theatre showcased a series of 13 scary movies and events throughout the month. In Broward County, Slow Burn Theatre Company reprised their popular 2017 event called “The Silver Scream”, which incorporates extravagant productions, a haunted walk-through, live music and entertainment, and food and drink that pay homage to classic horror icons such as Dracula, Frankenstein, the Werewolf of London, and the Mummy.

In Tallahassee, the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra performed their 4th annual “Symphony Spooktacular”, a free event featuring trick-or-treating and live music by costumed symphony members and the Tallahassee Museum held their 24th annual “Halloween Howl” featuring haunted trails, family-friendly activities, trick-or-treating, carnival games, and a costume contest.

St. Petersburg’s Studio @620 featured an exhibit called “The Unseen” which explored signs, symbols, and apparitions from “the beyond” using visual, theatrical, and optical art, and the Amelia Island Museum of History featured a special “Halloween Ghouls and Goblets Tour”. Visitors explored the streets of Fernandina, stopping along the way for stories and spirits. Miami’s Frost Science Museum enhanced their ongoing exhibit “Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence” through interactive experiences and recreative environments at their “Spooky Science Monster Mash”, which featured underwater pumpkin carving, zombie biology, owl and snake encounters, halloween music, and more.

Upcoming in November

Film festivals in Miami and Key West, Foo Foo Fest in Pensacola, and National Opera Week nationwide.


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.