Beaches — A Celebration of the Arts to benefit educational programs

Honors and awards will be presented to artists, philanthropists, volunteers


This year’s First Coast Cultural Center Beaches — A Celebration of the Arts annual fundraising event will be held from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. May 15 at The Surf Club Patio at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, 200 Ponte Vedra Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach.

The gala event theme is Hawaiian with traditional foods and drinks along with a performance by Prince Pele’s Polynesian Revue. The entertainment will feature a cultural experience through the South Pacific islands with Samoan sword and fire dancers, and a fun-filled luau atmosphere.

Highlights of the evening will include local honorary chairs Drs. Arun and Suparna Gulani, and the Irene Lazzara — Beaches, A Celebration of the Arts Award. Additional awards to be presented are the Emerging Artist Award, The Ron and Hilah Autrey Arts Education and Advocacy Award, Community Impact Award (Member’s Choice), The Art of Giving Award and Volunteer of the Year.

Event funds to support the nonprofit and event will be raised from ticket sales, sponsorship packages, program and signage opportunities, and honoring individuals, businesses and organizations within the coastal counties from Amelia Island to St. Augustine Beach that have enhanced arts and culture in the region.

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For more information about individual and table ticket pricing, sponsorships, program inclusion and more, go to

According to Donna Guzzo, president and executive director of First Coast Cultural Center, the evening features key award recipients who have dedicated their expertise, philanthropy and services to the nonprofit throughout the year.

“We were pleased to honor many local creative professionals and volunteers who generously shared their time and knowledge to help the center and our beaches communities,” she said. “The support from our patrons and donors during the year has been breathtaking.”

Sponsors currently include a private, in-memoriam tribute, and contributions from Irene and Gasper Lazzara, Hilah and Ron Autrey, Dr. Arun Gulani and Dr. Suparna Gulani, Tom Bush BMW, Claude Nolan Cadillac and Pivot CPAs.

For more information about the event, contact Callie Johnson, community connections manager at or call 904-280-0614, extension 1202.

First Coast Cultural Center hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, with after-hour appointments available. Classes and programs are held at 3972 3rd St. South, Jacksonville Beach and at CareConnect+, 351 Town Plaza Ave. in Nocatee.

The Cultural Center is a place to create, understand and experience the arts. The organization accomplishes its goals through exhibitions of local, regional and national artists in a variety of media through educational and enlivening events, quality arts classes, lectures and workshops.

Key programs include Sound Connections Music Therapy for children with disabilities, which is offered free of charge to students at St. Johns County schools and Title I schools that provide additional resources to economically disadvantaged students. Also, Kick StART afterschool arts enrichment programs and services are available.


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