Arts and Culture Day

Stephanie Langlais
Leadership Palm Beach County
December 11, 2013

Arts and Culture Day

December 11th, 2013

Class of 2014

By Stephanie Langlais

It was an early arrival with hot coffee awaiting us! As went settled in and enjoyed waking up with our delicious hot joe, we were greeted by Rena Blades from the Palm Beach Cultural Council. After a short history lesson, we now know that we can thank founder Alex Dreyfoos and his desire for a written calendar for their amazing schedule of events. The Cultural Council is also responsible for $17 million in grants to date in support of the arts in Palm Beach County! Thanks Cultural Council!
Rena turned it over to Joe Gillie who was so entertaining I felt privileged to be there! Talk about passion! Joe gave us an amazing tour of the Delray Beach Center of Arts starting with the 3 most important points for us to take away… 1) Legislature, 2) Support the Arts, 3) Support Arts Education. The Delray Beach Center of the Arts has so much to offer. We were able to experience their amazing theatre which was a part of their 1825 schoolhouse. We then revisited our childhood with a ride on their carousel! We visited their 1913 gymnasium which now serves as their super cool event venue and host to many parties and weddings. The tour culminated with a visit with Elvis! The museum which was originally their 1913 schoolhouse, now houses an ongoing tour of amazing exhibits including the current exhibit of Elvis in the early years. There is also a kid’s corner located upstairs!
Next stop: Arts Garage!!!
Our very own Alyona, Class of 2014, hosted us at the Arts Garage in Delray Beach. In one word…well, that would be impossible! One word can’t possibly describe the hippest venue in Palm Beach County! We were treated to a snapshot of Radio Theatre’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Radio Theatre is just one of the many forms of artistic performance at Arts Garage. Any artist is allowed to perform if they meet one criteria – they have to be amazing!
The Arts Garage has a mission: Arts in Every Life, Every Day! They work towards this mission by offering education in the arts and we had the opportunity to participate in an exercise called the “Monologue Game”. The group formed a circle and the first person starts a story. The story passes from person to person until it has made it way around. Only the “Most Creative Class Ever” could come with a story that included a giraffe, a hippo, a Chihuahua, a pig, a manatee, travels to Vegas, Africa, Memphis, Cuba and all of this turned out to be Claudia’s daughter’s dream! Let’s not forget a visit from Elvis along with singing lessons and a fundraiser! Whew!
The short time at Arts Garage ended with a grand finale by brothers Rashad and Tashad’s incredible performance whose story is almost as amazing as their talent! We wish them the best with their career and their new home!
Lunchtime! We arrive at our lunch destination, Florida Atlantic University and we are greeted by Laurie Carnie. Laurie takes us to the Living Room Theatres. We made our way into seats via I-Phone flashlights and were rewarded with incredibly comfy seats! Hence the name…Living Room Theatre! In this theatre, they offer opportunities for the public to attend performances – the website is the best resource for ticketing information. They also offer designated parking for their performances.
FAU also has public museum which currently houses a tragic exhibit borrowed from the US Holocaust Museum called “The Perfect Race” which includes many excerpts and photographs from Germany’s attempt to create what they considered the perfect human race during World War I and the Holocaust. It is a great history lesson with some visuals that really resonated.
After an appreciative lunch, compliments of FAU, we were entertained with some interactive learning from Gail Burnaford. We broke into teams and learned hands on about art integration by actually performing an example! We broke into teams and each team was given a picture. We had to act out the picture through emotions and actions for our classmates. It was not only fun but a great example of how children are learning through Arts Integration!
So…now that we have been fed and educated, the obvious next stop is the relaxing and beautiful Morikami Museum and Gardens. The Morikami Gardens is 17 acres of authentic Chinese artistry created from nature. Some of the highlights of the garden include the zigzag bridge, the amazing Buddha (well protected by Zach Berg), the bonsai garden and the lesson in Chinese writing.
The Morikami Museum also hosts an authentic tea ceremony the 3rd Saturday of every month but we were fortunate to be given a glimpse by Morikami volunteers. It is amazing the precise movements and the historic routine that is followed to show respect and gratitude from the eastern culture!
Our final stop was the Spady Museum located in Delray Beach. This historic home was built in 1926 and was the home of Mr. Spady, the 3rd teacher for the school for the School for African-Americans in Delray Beach. The current exhibit in the museum was Mr. Dusty Evans, a local talent with a strong connection to the local community. The Spady Museum also offers Trolley tours the 2nd Saturday of each month called “Ride & Remember” which showcases the rich African-American history of the area along with the beautiful architecture.
Overall, this day was an overwhelming overview of so many amazing venues where we can appreciate the amazing talents of our community. We may capitalize on tourism (hotels and restaurants) and agriculture; but we are also very rich in talent and entertainment. we are blessed to live here!!!