ARTS AND CUL­TURE

Travel Guide to Florida - - CENTRAL EAST FLORIDA -

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.

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