Art exhibition, reception planned for Aug. 18

First Coast Cultural Center, Morris Center team up to present show


First Coast Cultural Center and The Morris Center will partner in an art exhibit and reception featuring Joe Desiderio, Robin Hanna, R.J. Higgins and Sloane Keats from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, at The Morris Center, 50 Executive Way in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Phillip Anthony will donate a piece of his work as a fundraiser during the exhibition to benefit First Coast Cultural Center’s children’s programs. A healing arts donation from Hilda Cioffi, a reiki master, registered nurse and advanced holistic practitioner, will also serve as an event fundraiser to include a 20-minute healing session.

Donna Guzzo, First Coast Cultural Center’s president and CEO, and Dr. Tim Conway Ph.D., researcher, neuropsychologist and The Morris Center’s president, will speak during the event.

Anthony owns and operates a fine art gallery in St. Augustine. His nature photography and paintings are represented by galleries nationwide.

Desiderio captures images including local history, scenic beauty and people who provide him with endless opportunities to depict moments he shares photographically with the public.

Hanna’s paintings include several types of media in realism and abstract styles.

Higgins’ art features graphite pencil, pen and ink, acrylic, watercolor and metal sculpture with a whimsical theme featuring nature, sea life and fantasy creatures, to name a few.

Keats’ work includes original oil paintings, landscapes, nature, beach scenes, impressionist, Fauvist, plein air, abstracts and seascapes, among others.

According to Guzzo, the pop-up exhibit is free and open to the public with educational and cultural components for viewing and conversations with the local artists.

“Joe, Robin, R.J. and Sloane are all professional artists with personal messages to share about their work, which represents the rich culture and subject matter found in our area,” said Guzzo. “We welcome the public to enjoy the exhibit opening and reception. The purpose of the exhibit is to bring more understanding about the arts in our community and its positive impact. During the event, we will also acknowledge a ‘fond farewell’ to our original building, which is now where The Morris Center is located. First Coast Cultural Center is under contract to purchase a building in the Sawgrass area of Ponte Vedra Beach.”

The event is sponsored by Florida ARTS & CULTURE, United Way of St. Johns County and St. Johns County Tourism Development Council.

First Coast Cultural Center’s fall classes, programs and workshops are currently available for registration. Adult classes will include gold leaf mini painting workshop, seascapes and landscapes acrylic painting, how to watercolor, abstract human painting, watercolor with six tubes, pen and ink drawing and watercolor painting, sumi painting and drawing a realistic portrait from a photo, among others. Children’s classes include the Kick StART after school program, private piano and orchestra, and youth drama and improv classes, to name a few.

For more information and to register for classes, call 904-280-0614. Go to

First Coast Cultural Center is located at 3972 3rd St. South in Jacksonville Beach and holds classes in Nocatee at Care Connect+, located inside the Flagler Health+ Village at 351 Town Center Plaza, Suite 205 in Ponte Vedra. Studio hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., with after-hour appointments available.