Culture in Florida: June 2019

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.

Here’s a sample of arts and culture around the state for the month of June:


FEATURED FESTIVALS

The Festival of New Musicals took place at The Winter Park Playhouse from June 20th – 23rd. The four day festival showcased six brand new musicals from around the world. One act of each musical was fully read and sung concert-style, without staging, by various casts of professional actors and musicians.

Produced by Community Arts & Culture, the 21st Annual Afro Roots Fest wrapped up in Key largo on Saturday, June 29th at the Murray Nelson Center. This event has historically celebrated the widespread influence that Africa continues to have on music, and furthers the mission of Community Arts and Culture, which is to foster an appreciation of the arts and culture through education. The festival was named as “Best Music Festival” in the “Best of Miami” 2019 issue.


SPECIAL EVENTS

The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science celebrated World Ocean Day on June 8th with a day full of events and activities! The events included informational sessions on the impacts of plastic pollution, coral reef ecology and conservation, and scuba diving essentials. Museum goers also got to experience virtual swimming with sharks and dolphins!


OPENINGS AND CLOSINGS

The Ann Norton Sculpture Garden’s exhibit The Art of Sherlock Holmes closed on June 2nd after opening on May 10th. The Art of Sherlock Holmes, curated by author Phil Growick brought 14 pieces of art that were interpretations of different short stories featuring Sherlock Holmes, all created by West Palm Beach artists. The artistic styles include abstract, contemporary, digital, realist, minimalist, symbolism, or an amalgam of various forms.

The Moon Bay exhibit opened this month at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. This unique 2,000-gallon habitat has two separate areas where the jellies can be touched by visitors. This experience–to gently interact with jellies–is only the fourth of its kind in the United States. 

The Museum of Discovery and Science opened their new exhibit, Hall of Heroes, this month. This exhibit brings guests into the world of superheroes, crime-­getters, gadgets and spies through an immersive experience. Guests can expect their journey through this exhibit to include movie prop-quality photo opportunities, including an authentic George Barris-built 1966 Batmobile, and challenging, highly engaging interactives, intriguing, informative displays with props, costumes and more. This exhibit will run through September 2nd, 2019.

The Monticello Opera House programmed a production of A Chorus Line at the end of the month as their special summer event. The premise of this show captures the spirit and tension of a Broadway chorus audition.


HONORS

Congratulations are in order for the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, which was chosen this month to become a Smithsonian Affiliate. From the Sarasota Magazine:

“Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has been designated a Smithsonian Affiliate, joining a national network of museums, educational and cultural organizations in sharing the resources of the Smithsonian Institution. There are currently 213 affiliates in 45 states, Puerto Rico and Panama; Selby Gardens is the only garden in Florida that is part of the Smithsonian Affiliate network.”


UPCOMING IN JULY

Arts4All Florida will present their new exhibition, “Transformations: Building a World of Access and Inclusion” on July 26th, which run through September 15th, 2019. “Transformations” is a unique exhibit celebrating personal and societal transformations. The artwork in this exhibition will celebrate the 29th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its influence on creating a world in which the arts are universally accessible. 

The Downtown Cultural Series in Gainesville will continue their free concerts on Friday nights this month for the Gainesville150 anniversary celebrations. This series is the region’s longest-running and largest free outdoor concert series features local and regional musical talent at the newly renovated Bo Diddley Plaza. The Free Fridays Concert Series will continue every week through the month of October.

The Bay Arts Alliance is presenting the Art of Florida Cartoonists Exhibition from June 8th to July 20th at the Panama City Center for the ARTS. This exhibit will showcase a wide variety of visual treasures created by cartoonists, illustrators, and storyboard artists who have lived or worked in the Sunshine State.


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Culture In Florida: April 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.

Here’s a sample of arts and culture around the state for the month of April:

FEATURED FESTIVALS

The 21st annual Sarasota Film Festival took place between April 5 and 14. This year’s festival featured films from national and international filmmakers, special appearances with actors Greg Kinnear, Blythe Danner, and Anne Heche, and other special events. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida celebrated Earth Day on April 13th with a huge community event that included educational programs, interactive shows, hands-on activities, food, and beverages for children and families.

The Jazz Society of Pensacola hosted the 36th annual Pensacola JazzFest on April 6 and 7. This free event celebrated America’s unique musical art form through a wide range of concerts and events. The City of Holly Hill and Helping Hands Thru Arts presented the inaugural Holly Hill Arts Festival on April 6 and 7. The event featured over 70 juried works of arts and crafts.

Many organizations hosted festivals celebrating the written word in conjunction with National Poetry Month. In Jacksonville, the month-long JAX Poetry Fest featured readings, workshops, and lectures for children, teens, and adults. In Miami, the O, Miami Festival facilitated a month-long initiative with the mission of “every single person in Miami-Dade County encountering a poem”, and in Tallahassee, the annual Word of South festival was held from April 12-14, an event that explores the relationship between writing and music.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Davie’s Young at Art Museum celebrates its 30th birthday this month! The museum hosted an evening of live music, performance art, and food to mark the occasion on April 27. Naples Art Association also celebrates its 65th birthday this month. Happy Birthday!

In Jacksonville, Thursday, April 4 was officially proclaimed “Jacksonville Symphony ‘Bridges’ Day”. This special honor by the city of Jacksonville and Mayor Lenny Curry celebrated the symphony’s Symphony in 60 concert that featured the world premiere of Bridges, a piece inspired by the city and composed for the symphony by composer-in-residence Courtney Bryan.

Naples Botanical Garden kicked off their “Music in the Garden” series on April 7 with a performance by indie band The Woodwork. The series continues on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month through August.

OPENINGS AND CLOSINGS

The Museum of Art-DeLand opened Gary Monroe: Photographs and Revelations on April 6. The exhibit features 46 black and white photographs by the artist as well as 22 cultural objects and 10 paintings from his personal collection. In Miami, the BASS Museum opened Sheila Hicks: Campo Abierto on April 13, an exhibit that groups works of art from various periods that explore the formal, social, and environmental aspects of landscape throughout Hicks’ career.

In Winter Park, Phase II of The Sage Project opened at Hannibal Square Heritage Center. This exhibit features 17 portraits and living histories of the most senior residents of the African American west side Winter Park community.

A new exhibit exploring how contemporary artists are influenced by graphic novels and comic books opened at Boca Raton Museum of Art. Beyond the Cape! Comics and Contemporary Art includes prominent contemporary artists exploring some of today’s most complicated issues in this pioneering show, on display through October 6, 2019.

The United Arts Council of Collier County opened an exhibit by three pastel artists who challenged each other to create 30 images of the same subject. Their creative journey is on display through May 28, 2019.

UPCOMING IN MAY

MOSAIC — the Month OShows, Art, Ideas & Culture — in Palm Beach, the Key West Songwriters’ Festival and the Orlando Fringe Festival are just a few exciting events during the month of May. Subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter for updates. 


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Culture Builds Florida – and Florida Builds Culture: The Southwest Florida Symphony introduces Brave New Music

Provided by the Southwest Florida Symphony 

image001At 58 years old, the Southwest Florida Symphony is the fourth oldest continuously operating orchestra in the State of Florida. As was intended at its inception, it continues to serve as an “audio museum,” performing great classical repertoire written for full orchestra and chamber ensembles, but as Florida’s demographic evolves, becoming younger and more diverse, the Southwest Florida Symphony has made great strides to acclimate to Florida’s ever-changing cultural landscape.

vlcsnap-2018-03-04-23h28m28s160Beginning in 2016, the symphony began experimenting with crossover concerts that blended classical music with other genres; indie rock, electronica, jazz and Latin. As artistic trust continued to develop between the symphony and its audiences and our community expressed more “classical curiosity,” the symphony became more artistically confident in its ability to expand its horizons and establish a new concert series called Brave New Music. Not exactly Pops, though featuring popular music – and not exactly classical, though always featuring classical repertoire, this series is designed to encourage dedicated, knowledgeable classical music enthusiasts to examine familiar works through a new lens and to remove classical music’s historic intimidation factor for audiences that are not ordinary classical music consumers.

IJS06454Ultimately, this is a way to demonstrate the relevance of classical music to new patrons of the arts and to lead classical audiophiles on a musical journey that begins in familiar territory for them. In addition to the music these audiences experience, these concerts provide educational opportunities through guest artist and conductor Q&A sessions, to meet our orchestral musicians to gain their perspective on these concerts, pre-concert lectures and social gatherings. The best, most beautiful part is that it brings both of those audiences together; spanning generations, socioeconomic and cultural strata, forging relationships among them. It has been said that music is the greatest social network. That’s what we for envision Brave New Music. The Southwest Florida Symphony is honored that Brave New Music can serve as the cornerstone of that network in our community.

DSC06874allBrave New Music initiatives have included jazz arrangements of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition created and performed by Israeli jazz pianist, Yaron Gottfried and Bach – Jazz fusion arrangements created and performed by pianist Matt Herskowitz. Upcoming Brave New Music programs include an evening of Beethoven v. Coldplay, featuring original electronica – classical compositions and visionary arrangements by Maestro Steve Hackman. This concert culminates the Southwest Florida Symphony’s 58th season with a fusion of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 and tunes by British pop band, Coldplay, on Saturday, May 4th. The orchestra commences its 59th season with a screening of the classic thriller film, Psycho, with live orchestral accompaniment on Friday, October 25th and Saturday, October 26th, then closes its 59th season with a celebratory program of tolerance and joy – Symphabulous! A Symphonic Drag Show features nationally known drag performer Chris Weaver. We have every expectation that this innovative programing will enlighten and bring audiences together and will inspire other orchestras to do the same.

To learn more about the Southwest Florida Symphony, visit their website: https://www.swflso.org/.


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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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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!


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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!


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Culture in Florida: December 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.

Holiday Fun

Holiday fun continued at many organizations throughout the month. Fort Lauderdale’s Bonnet House Museum and Gardens held their weeklong “Holiday Magic” celebration which included self-guided tours, strolling carolers, and Christmas storytelling amidst beautifully decorated trees, wreaths, and centerpieces.

Jacksonville’s Museum of Science and History hosted a special motorized holiday train display that allowed visitors to learn about trains, engineering, and model building while traveling through a winter wonderland and Miami’s Frost Science Museum hosted their “Scientific Winter Wonderland” which included a live show exploring the science of snow, and interactive activities exploring the physics of freezing and other activities exploring a mini bobsled challenge, an interactive “blubber glove”, and a Nutcracker Fantasy Laser Show.   

Many museums and gardens saw their outdoor areas light up for the holidays! Over one million lights illuminated the garden and walkways at Selby Gardens, Naples Botanical Garden was transformed into a Tropical Winter Wonderland, and Zoo Miami hosted a series of holiday-themed, illuminated nights on Fridays and Saturdays throughout December.

International Opera Stars Grace our Florida Stages

Two internationally-renowned opera singers graced our Florida stages this month. Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe appeared with Palm Beach Opera’s apprentice artists on December 18, and soprano Karita Mattila will appear in concert at Artis-Naples on New Year’s Eve with the Naples Philharmonic.

Visual Art

Miami Art Week was held in December, featuring over 20 international art fairs, more than 1,200 galleries, thousands of artists and a virtual art fair. This year, artists and galleries from 16 different countries united to bring the center of the art world to Miami.

Miami’s BASS Museum also announced the acquisition of a new work by Paola Pivi, “Call Me Anything You Want”. The 2013 work is comprised of 20 individual canvases made of cascading natural pearls.

Many exciting exhibits throughout the state also featured prominently this month. The Studios of Key West opened their annual members’ exhibition, “Look Upwards, to the Sky”, and St. Petersburg’s Studio @620 hosted “Plastic is the New Fish”, a collection of sustainable modern artwork by Amandine Drouet. Lake Wales Arts Council opened an exhibit by Orlando-based artist and pop culture aficionado titled “Pop!”. The exhibit features paintings and pop-culture phenomena. ArtCenter Manatee also opened their annual exhibit featuring Women Contemporary Artists. Women Contemporary Artists is a regional organization of professional women in the visual fine arts that is based in Sarasota, that seeks to provide visibility, encouragement, and inspiration to women artists.

Arts for All

Earlier this month, we chatted with Jennifer Sabo, executive director of Arts4All Florida, about making the arts accessible for everyone. Here is just a sample of a few wonderful organizations doing just that:

Jacksonville’s Cummer Museum and Gardens celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 4. The celebrations included artworks created by persons with disabilities, an open studio opportunity to learn about the museum’s programs for persons with disabilities, outreach activities, and adaptive art-making opportunities for everyone.

Davie’s Young at Art Museum kicked off their monthly “Sensory Sunday” series on December 16. This new initiative opens the museum one hour early on the second Sunday of each month for families of children with autism or other sensory integration sensitivities. The museum welcomes families to a safe and welcoming environment with theme-based art activities and other sensory-friendly experiences.

Upcoming in January

Florida kicks off 2019 with the Amelia Island Chamber Festival, the Heartland Cultural Alliance Festival of the Arts, and the Sarasota Choral Festival, along with many other exciting events!

From all of us at the Division of Cultural Affairs, we wish you a wonderful Holiday season and a Happy New Year!


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