Art And Culture Are Alive And Well In Our Town

Art and Culture. Flagler County is growing, like it or not, progress is imminent. Our art and culture environment will continue to benefit from the talented people who have migrated to our community. More and more creatives such as artists, writers, actors, comedians, historians, and musicians are seeking audiences, venues, and collaborations. I know – they call me regularly. I for one am grateful to have had the pleasure and opportunity of working with many of these creative types.
Art and Culture. It has developed, much like our community, and now has municipal support on a grander scale. The Flagler County Board of Commissioners endorsed the formation of the Flagler County Cultural Council (aka, FC3) with area leaders to spearhead, cultivate, encourage and engage in advocacy and support of the arts and humanities (Editor’s note: see article on page 26 for more details). This group vows to seek and provide resources that will enrich the lives of our residents and visitors. The Palm Coast and Flagler Beaches Tourist Development office has been a strong proponent of this group and has provided staffing and guidance to launch this initiative as part of their strategic plan.
Likewise, the City of Palm Coast has incorporated the arts into their long-range planning of Town Center with a designated Arts District. Outside consultants have been retained to conduct an arts and cultural facility market analysis and feasibility study. The study is underway with Phase I having just been completed.
Flagler County is rich in talent when it comes to visual artists. Gallery of Local Art (GOLA), Pineapple Gallery, Expressions (in the Grand Living Realty office), Art LaMay, Paul Baliker, and Bess studios are examples of where you will find unique, inspired, imaginative, original art by local artists. Salvo Art Project’s JJ Graham has been at the forefront of showcasing artists as well as his own thought-provoking and emotional work. Studios at Salvo Art provide cross-inspiration and collegiality among artists in this unique workspace.
In 2018 The Palm Coast Arts Foundation started a public art Turtle Trail collaborating with many of these local artists to create work inspired by historical artists or environmental themes. The Trail now has 17 turtles throughout Flagler County with 3 more in the planning stages. To celebrate the culmination of these first 20 life size turtle sculptures, a book is being considered for publication next year.
After a two-year pandemic hiatus from the annual Picnic and Pops concert with the Jacksonville Symphony, the Palm Coast Arts Foundation brings the Jacksonville Symphony back for an outdoor concert, October 29. This has been a local favorite for 12 years.
Let’s support what we have. The theatre season has begun…The City Repertory Theatre never disappoints with their thoughtful programming of often edgy performances for the more mature audience. The small, intimate theatre in City Market Place promises an alternative theatre experience, often times humorous, provocative, intense shows. John Sbordone and Diane Ellertsen have jointly created this gem of a theatre experience for us. I encourage all to purchase their VERY affordable season tickets.
The Flagler Auditorium also announced their season. The premiere performing arts facility adjacent to Flagler Palm Coast High School has and continues to give us musical, dance, and comedy entertainment throughout the year. Tickets are affordable, find a performance that interests you and support them.
The Flagler Playhouse boasts our community live theatre in Bunnell. Area talent has their opportunity to shine on stage from the great line up of theatre scheduled this season.
The historical societies of Palm Coast, Flagler County, and Flagler Beach just announced a “citizens-type academy” specific to the history of our community. Another opportunity for residents to learn about where they live. I know this will fill up quickly as they are limited in class size. Programs offered by our historical community are often free, so I encourage everyone to take advantage of their educational offerings.
Cultural outreach by our many heritage organizations provides a glimpse into the myriad of ethnic populations here in Flagler County. From the African American Cultural Society to the Portuguese American and Hispanic American Clubs and others in the community, there is something for everyone of any ethnic origin.
Let us be reminded that these organizations operate on slim margins with mostly if not all, volunteer staff, so supporting our cultural activities in Flagler County is key to their survival. Shop at local galleries, attend performances, and stop by every First Saturday to see what artists are showing their work at the Creative Bazaars in Town Center, hosted by the Palm Coast Arts Foundation.
Art and Culture. Live It.
— Nancy Crouch