ARTS AND CULTURE
In historic Fort Pierce, the nearly 100-yearold Sunrise Theatre, a beautiful performing arts venue, hosts top-notch entertainers, comedy acts, musicians and performing artists. Also on the downtown waterfront of Fort Pierce, the A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery houses the nation’s largest public exhibition of artwork by Florida’s preeminent painter, A.E. Backus, as well as the State’s only permanent multimedia exhibition on the Florida Highwaymen. Changing exhibits from artists of national and international acclaim round out the museum’s Florida-centered mission. The outdoor Mural Plaza opens onto a park that borders the Indian River Lagoon and offers a place for fresh air and artistic inspiration.
Located in the middle of Central East Florida, Vero Beach has two very special venues. The Riverside Theatre runs six off- Broadway performances per season and a Comedy Club event on select weekends. Riverside’s 2018 highlights include Million Dollar Quartet, Gypsy and Mamma Mia and hosts four Premiere Lecture Series that are popular among locals. Second is the Vero Beach Museum of Art, which houses regional, state and national art exhibits. Admission is free on the last Saturday of the month.
Melbourne’s Eau Gallie Arts District is a cultural pearl that supports the arts through galleries, museums, local stores and antiques. You will find a combination of poets, dancers, potters and painters in this cute neighborhood. Commonly referred to as EGAD, it is home to Brevard County’s top fine art galleries and the Foosaner Art Museum. First Friday events take place in the Community Garden next to the bandshell. Come for hands-on artmaking, music and kids’ activities.
Visit Historic Cocoa Village and catch a show at Cocoa Village Playhouse, part of the community since 1924 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Situated between Cocoa Beach and Orlando, the award-winning main-street community of DeLand holds onto its historic past as it moves into modern times. DeLand is a thriving community full of pride and passion that is apparent by its numerous art murals, friendly patrons, shops and galleries. The Athens Theatre is a masterpiece of Italian Renaissance architecture,offeringclassicmovies,independent films and live entertainment.
The Hub on Canal, in New Smyrna Beach (NSB), is unsurpassed for its individuality and original artworks. Nearly 80 artists convene in this contemporary exhibit hall, which doubles as a workspace where visitors can observe artists at work and buy directly from them. This is only one offering within the town’s four-block radius that makes up the Arts District filled with boutiques, galleries and cafes. Be sure to check out the Atlantic Center for the Arts, which draws aspiring artists from across the country to study dance, poetry, writing and painting and create unique unified experiences. They also have a free summer concert.
A newer artsy community is located in the greater Daytona Beach area. A visit to the Museum of Arts & Sciences (affiliated with the Smithsonian) gives you access to a train and railroad station exhibit, the Root Family collection of Coca Cola memorabilia, priceless Cuban and Chinese art displays, and the favorite giant ground sloth. For art, check out the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art, home to the largest private collection of Florida-themed paintings in the world, with many dating back to the 1800s.