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. 

Happy New Year from Culture Builds Florida!

Happy New Year!

As we begin 2019, we are eager to hear and share your stories on Culture Builds Florida. Have a great event, initiative, or story that you think we should know about? Would you like to see your organization or community event featured on this blog? We want to hear from you!

Post submissions are currently being accepted. Posts should be 150-250 words long and include a few pictures.

Post categories are:

  • Grantee Spotlight (short features of our grantee organizations);
  • Art Talk (Q-and-A with Florida arts leaders);
  • Month-in-Review (monthly recap of Florida arts and culture events).

For Grantee Spotlight submissions:

https://goo.gl/forms/3sMwuJWA3bM1orPl2

For Month-in-Review submissions:

https://goo.gl/forms/rNFpweK1euL3y9YH2

Questions? Leave a comment below.

Note: submission does not guarantee publication. 

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!


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. 

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/.


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

 

Culture in Florida: November 2018

Culture In Florida is a monthly news roundup to showcase our state’s wonderful diversity, spotlight the organizations and artists that contribute so much to our communities, and stress the comprehensive benefits of arts and culture to Florida’s economy and quality of life.

We are very thankful for the contributions that arts and culture make to the state of Florida! Did you know that the arts and cultural industry generates $4.68 billion of economic activity statewide? Here are a few highlights of how Culture Builds Florida from throughout the state during the month of November:

Awards and National Events

Opera America celebrated National Opera Week from October 26-November 4. This week-long celebration featured numerous events that celebrate the timeless artform of opera. More locally, the botany team at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens was awarded a prestigious grant from the Cactus and Succulent Society of America. The grant will allow the team to care for a federally endangered cactus species known as the Harrisia aboriginum, or the ‘aboriginal prickly apple’. Key West Literary Seminar also announced the recipients of their Emerging Writer Awards.

Openings

In Miami, Bakehouse Art Complex opened ‘Collectivity’, an exhibit that explores the line between the individual and the collective. It was curated by 17-year old Quinn Harrelson and remains on display through March 30, 2019. In Davie, Young at Art museum opened ‘Lightscapes’, one of three new light sculptures where light, color, and sound combine for a multisensory experience.

Several museums celebrated Florida-based artists and Florida history with new exhibitions that opened in November. In Jacksonville, JAX Makerspace opened ‘Ties and Knots: Weaving Narratives of Northeast Florida’ on November 7. This exhibit “explores the dynamic relationship between tradition and modernity, as textiles expand beyond functional art and into the realm of fine art”. In partnership with Art and Culture Center/Hollywood, Art Center South Florida opened ‘Center to Center’, an exhibit focused on the ever-growing community of artists in South florida, on display through January 6, 2019.

Boca Raton Museum of Art opened ‘Imagining Florida: History and Myth in the Sunshine State’, the most comprehensive Florida-themed show of its kind, featuring a major anthology of art made in and inspired by Florida and its people, places, flora, and fauna. History Miami Museum opened ‘A Peculiar Paradise’, a collection of photographs that caputred Florida in 1981 by Nathan Benn. The exhibit features over 100 selections in addition to artifacts from Benn’s career at National Geographic.

Fort Lauderdale’s Museum of Discovery and Science opened their newest permanent exhibit ‘Design! Build! Play! KEVA!’ on November 10. The exhibit combines a science lab and an art museum to create a place to explore design and invention. Perez Art Museum Miami opened the most significant presentation to date of the art works of Kingston-born artist Ebony G. Patterson. The exhibition features multimedia artworks that explore the importance of gardens in the artist’s life.

Closings

St. Petersburg’s Dali Museum closed their exhibit titled ‘Clyde Butcher: Visions of Dali’s Spain’. This exhibit featured photographic documentation of Dali’s homeland by the nationally renowned nature photographer. Bay Arts Alliance’s quilting exhibition ‘Maxine Thomas: Through Threads of Time’ ended on November 17. The exhibit featured a wide variety of quilting techniques that used fabrics from around the world. The Sarasota Chapter of the Sumi-E Society of America concluded their 55th annual exhibit at Art Center Manatee on November 30. Sumi-E is the Japanese word for Black Ink Painting. The juried exhibit featured 112 paintings by 18 artists from the United States and Germany.

Special Events

Fort Lauderdale’s Museum of Discovery and Science kicked off their quarterly “Discovery After Dark” series on November 8 with their event “Science of Beer”. This adults-only series allows the opportunity to meet other curious-minded people and explore the museum’s interactive exhibits while enjoying food and beverages.

Young at Art museum presented their 13th annual Recycled Fashion Show. This benefit event celebrates the creativity and talent of teenagers from the museum’s volunteer program and at PACE Center Broward. Each teenage designer was challenged to create fashions that “bring awareness to environmental issues using recycled materials”.

Osceola County Historical Society celebrated their 27th annual Pioneer Day on November 10. Residents were able to “step back in time” and learn about Osceola County’s first residents through historic re-enactments, demonstrations, shopping, and entertainment.

Lakeland’s Imperial Symphony Orchestra teamed up with the Mulberry Phosphate Museum to present a free community concert called “FOSSILS!”, which allowed attendees a kid-friendly musical journey through prehistory.

Jacksonville’s Cathedral Arts Project hosted the international dance troupe ILL-ABILITIES on November 5. The all-star team of dancers features differently-abled dancers from around the world.

Miami’s Frost Science museum hosted comic and science educator Rhys Thomas for several presentations of his “Science Circus: The Physics of Fun!”. This popular live show blends science, comedy, and circus acts while exploring Newtonian physics.

Featured Festivals

Filmmaking was frequently celebrated throughout the state in November! Key West and Fort Lauderdale held their annual film festivals, Miami’s Gables Cinema hosted the 6th annual Miami International Children’s Film Festival, and Orlando’s Enzian Theatre hosted their 27th annual Brouhaha Florida Video Showcase, which featured films by local artists, educators, and residents.

In Pensacola, 12 days of artistic shows and events were celebrated during the popular Foo Foo Festival. The annual festival features ballets, operas, culinary events, Naval air shows, and everything in between.  

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden hosted their 78th annual Fall Garden Festival and Ramble from November 9-11. This lively event featured numerous plant sales, culinary demonstrations, garden demonstrations, and family-friendly education events.

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum also hosted their annual American Indian Arts Celebration. The event takes place on museum grounds in the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, and features traditional and contemporary arts, dance, and music of the Seminole,  Southeastern, and other Indian tribes from across the country.

Kicking Off the Holiday Season

Orlando Museum of Art celebrated its thirty-second Festival of Trees. This annual, week-long festival ushers in the holiday season by transforming the galleries into a sparkling winter wonderland filled with trees and decorations available for purchase. Miami’s Gold Coast Railroad Museum started offering round trip adventures to the “North Pole” aboard The Polar Express™ on November 10! Rides are available through the end of December and feature music and theatrical recreations of scenes from the beloved movie.   

Upcoming in December

Art Basel and Miami Art Week; international opera superstar Stephanie Blythe pays a visit to Palm Beach Opera; and many wonderful holiday events statewide.


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 Spotlight: ‘W.O.N.D.E.R. in the Garden’ at Naples Botanical Garden

Provided by Naples Botanical Garden

06142018__WONDER_05Founded in 1993 by a visionary group of local plant enthusiasts, Naples Botanical Garden is a 170-acre, world-class garden paradise that features plants from around the world. In 2017, Naples Botanical Garden became the youngest garden in history to receive the prestigious Award for Garden Excellence from the American Public Gardens Association. They are steadfastly committed to their local community, to award-winning horticultural design, and to comprehensive approaches to sustainability. The garden welcomes over 220,000 visitors per year in their themed gardens that include an orchid garden, a water garden, and a children’s garden, among many others.

06142018__WONDER_02Naples Botanical Garden presents their year-round W.O.N.D.E.R. in the Garden program, which began in July 2010. An informal educational drop-in family activity for children of all ages, W.O.N.D.E.R. is an acronym for “walk, observe, navigate, discover, explore, read.” The fun and engaging lessons are based on a monthly theme such as:

  • Super Seeds – discover the magic of seeds as we discuss where they come from, where they go, and what they need to grow; then, plant a seed to care for at home!
  • Little Green Thumbs – learn how we take care of our vegetables, herbs, flowers, and more; then, find out how to grow plants from cuttings take home a piece of the Garden!
  • Tremendous Trees – count the rings in a tree cookie, read stories, and plant a tree-mendous tree to take home!
  • Feathered Friends – explore feathers up-close and create binoculars to search out birds on the fly; then plant some Florida-native fiddlewood seeds to take home!

The program typically includes a story about the month’s theme and hands-on activities, experiments, art, and planting projects related to that theme. Visitors are invited to imagine, create, and explore together at 10:30 am in the Garden. W.O.N.D.E.R. is available daily during the season in locations throughout the Gardens. No prior registration is necessary for this educational nature-based programming and is included with regular Garden admission.

WONDER1The program is appropriate for families with children of all ages, from toddlers to teens, and approximately 9,000 children and families have participated in the program since its inception.

To learn more about Naples Botanical Garden and the W.O.N.D.E.R. in the Garden program, visit http://naplesgarden.org.


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