Let’s talk arts in the Keys

Liz Young, from the Florida Keys Arts Council, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s going on in the new year.

The Connections project began last Tuesday.

Young said, “We kicked off our new series. It’s focused on music and our musicians living and working in the Keys. So that’s been a big project that we started over the summer to sort of reimagine it. It was a huge success. We started out up in Key Largo. We had just a wonderful evening and then a smaller visual art display. So we’re focused on music and art. I’m really excited. Our next reception will be at the Hale Gallery, which used to be the Roberto Russell Gallery in Islamorada. One of the things that the Arts Council’s really working on is building our audience, expanding beyond galleries, finding different building an audience, bringing our art and music to people who are part of our workforce. We had a lot of people invited from the Rotaries, the hotel workers, teachers, first responders, so we’re just really pushing art throughout the Keys. That’ll be February 15, at the Hale Gallery. The public is invited, it’ll be a free reception. So I’m excited about that.”

The Cultural Series has been going on for many years.

Young said, “It was about a conversation around an artist’s creative process. Two years ago, we changed the name to Gather Round, to give that sort of everybody sitting around a dining room table having a really wonderful conversation with artists and arts organizations. I’m excited to announce that the first one will be sort of about art and science and we will be highlighting a grantee of ours called Florida Bay Forever. That is next Thursday in Islamorada for lunch. We’re going to have a really great experience there. You can sign up online or email me. We’ll be coming down the keys doing those two series.”

On January 25, the annual meeting will happen at Crane Point.

Young said, “That’s where we invite all of our members and we hand out our annual report for the last fiscal year and we have a really fun conversation about kind of what’s up and coming and what’s hot in the cultural and arts world. We will have Brian Schmitt who is obviously a very well known Realtor with Coldwell Banker, owner of the Coldwell Banker. He is one of the founding members of Crane Point and really helped Crane Point establish its land trust. So we’re going to hear all about why Crane Point is so important. We also have Kelly and Nick Norman joining us to talk about the big music scene in Key West around the amphitheater, the Key West Theater, the songwriter’s festival, and why musicians love coming to the Keys.”

The Arts Council is really working on taking the arts right to the people in different settings.

Young said, “I think we learned during the pandemic that people want to be outside, they want to enjoy music, they want to support creative people. We’re really seeing a great audience because of that. I think like the Studios of Key West is using their rooftop for their old town folk series. We’ve got Williams Hall producing music. Of course the restaurants and the bars always have music, but to see so much great music also featured we do have, of course, the Florida Keys Concert Association in the Middle and Upper Keys, impromptu concerts here. The South Florida Symphony will be returning to the Tennessee Williams Theater not this Saturday, but next Saturday with a spectacular concert to open their season. They’ll be back twice in March. All of that is at our website. We have our whole calendar color coded.”

The 41st annual Key West Literary Seminar kicked off last night.

Young said, “My husband and I got to go to the opening talk. The keynote speaker was fantastic. At the Key West amphitheater, hundreds of people coming to Key West and then all of the lucky ones of us living here get to attend if you can get a seat. There’s wonderful programming today, tomorrow and then Sunday, there are free programs all day at the amphitheater as part of the literary seminar. There’s book signings going on at Books and Books. The Key West Library, Friends of the Key West Library Lecture Series will also be part of the literary seminar with a talk on Monday, and all the details are on our website.”

The annual meeting will keep the focus about music.

Young said, “And how musicians get here, how they get booked, where they stay, what they do, how they feel about being here. We’ll talk about the magnificent Crane Point, over 60 acres of protected hammocks. The Crane House has been recently restored so that more events can occur there with food and then weddings and annual meetings and all sorts of great things. Congratulations to Crane Point they received a state of Florida Historic Resources grant. So we were very proud of them for getting those funds and then being able to raise the rest of the money to do that. We see that up and down the Keys.”

There’s also going to be a big collaboration amongst the theaters.

Young said, “This is new, maybe for some of your listeners, but over the summer, there has been a big push to have many, many of the organizations post and use keystix.com. That box office opportunity online used to just be for the Tennessee Williams Theater and they’ve really expanded the opportunity and made it possible to buy your tickets there for the Waterfront Playhouse now for the Fringe Theatre that has a brand new play that just opened. Everybody’s, you know, migrating to keystix. I think that’s a really great show of everybody supporting other people, which of course is very Keys. Everybody wants everybody else to be successful. We all thrive. So I do want to mention that I’m really thrilled to see that as the Arts Council umbrella organization it just benefits everybody to see what the calendar is. So the symphony is there, the impromptus is there, the theaters are there and just great things happening up and down the Keys.”

For more information, click here: https://keysarts.com/