Survival, at times, was unlikely...but this year we celebrate our 40th!
Updated: Oct 30
The Beach Art Center celebrates its 40th year with a Fundraising Gala!
“We’ve made a miracle happen here…and the days ahead are not going to be easy”. This is a quote from Jean Blair spoken almost 40 years ago. Mrs. Blair was the Director of the Holiday Isles Chamber of Commerce. This took place in May 1978, when Mrs. Blair and George King – artist and founder - were presiding over the opening of The Beach Art Center, now a fixture in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida.
George King, a long-time IRB resident, founded the Beach Art Center in what was then American Legion Post #128. King himself was an artist who had a dream to enhance and advance public knowledge of the visual fine arts. He worked with the American Legion to use some of their space to hold art classes. The remainder of the space was used as the Legion’s gathering place. Over time, the Legion membership dwindled, and in 1978 the building at 1515 Bay Palm Blvd, Indian Rocks Beach, was purchased and so became The Beach Art Center.
That was forty years ago. This month is special: works created by George King and many of the founding members of the Beach Art Center are on display at the Beach Art Center. They are on loan from collectors and the artists themselves and are works not often seen in public. This show will be on view until early-February.
The instructors who teach at the Beach Art Center, incredible artists in their own right, are also talented teachers whose gift it is to encourage their students to develop their own creative talents. Some people come through the doors saying, “I can’t draw a stick figure” and leave with a piece of their own work that they can be proud of. You can find a current schedule of courses and instructors on the art center website at www.beachartcenter.org.
Art is healing. Anyone who has held a brush or a pencil in their hand or shaped a bit of clay, transforming those elements into something of their own creation has experienced this healing effect. Local art centers and galleries like the Beach Art Center bring the arts to people where they live. Today, the mission of the Beach Art Center is “to inspire lifelong learning, empower the individual, and engage the community of all ages in the creative arts.”
For almost 40 years they have accomplished this by offering weekly classes in watercolor, oil and acrylic painting, water-media, as well as drawing, pottery, photography: the list goes on and on. In addition to these regularly scheduled courses, the talented artist-instructors at the Beach Art Center offer “Art on the Rocks”. Art on the Rocks refers to single, social, 3 hour sessions, where all materials are included and you walk away with a finished piece of art of your own making! This is an excellent time to gather with friends, have fun and create.
The Beach Art Center has also developed children’s programs including the “Kreative Kids Summer Camp” offering week-long programs during the summer break for area children. In addition to their creative courses, the Beach Art Center opens its doors to many community groups who otherwise may have limited options of places to gather.
A 40th Anniversary Fundraising Gala, a Benefit for the Beach Art Center titled “Rubies & Roses,” will be held Saturday February 10th at the Beach Art Center. Kicking off this anniversary in style, guests can celebrate both the start of this 40th year and Valentine’s Day. This will be a magical evening with music, cheek-to-cheek dancing, and a sumptuous cocktail buffet provided by the Original Crabby Bills, another long-term figure in the community. Guests will also have an opportunity to bid on original works of art donated by members of the community.
The Rubies and Roses event will see the Beach Art Center transformed. The Art Center has always been a chameleon – moving easily from working art studio to a lovely gallery space. Romantic and elegant on February 10th, guests will see the Art Center as they’ve never seen it before.
As foretold by Jean Blair, keeping the art center open for 40 years has not been easy. Events like the Rubies & Roses Fundraising Gala are critical to keeping George King’s vision alive. Many people believe that the Beach Art Center is a city service, paid for with taxes, but that is not so. The fact is that although it neighbors the city offices, The Beach Art Center is a 501c3 Non-Profit corporation with no major sources of outside funding. It relies on membership dues, class enrollment, commissions on art sales, donations and sponsorships to keep its doors open to the community.
Rubies and Roses, a 40th Anniversary Fundraising Gala to Benefit the Beach Art Center, will be held on Saturday, February 10th, from 7:00-10:00PM at the Beach Art Center, located at 1515 Bay Palm Blvd, Indian Rocks Beach.
The number of tickets is limited. They are available for $65 per person and can be purchased at the Beach Art Center or by contacting Donna Valery at 727-517-0517. Patrons of the arts are welcome to become a $100 Sponsor, visit www.BeachArtCenter.org for details.