Beaches gala celebrates arts, raises funds

Gala promotes arts, raises funds for First Coast Cultural Center


The First Coast Cultural Center hosted its fifth annual Beaches, A Celebration of the Arts gala April 28 at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse. The affair was rich in elegance with an Audrey Hepburn/“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” theme, enhanced by sparkling faux diamonds, pearls and crystal. Guests dressed for the occasion, and period music provided a kind of soundtrack to the evening.

As always, the event featured artists working on pieces live on site. This year, ceramic artist Catherine Lynn, painter and charcoal artist Claire Weaver and oil painter Katherine Weaver demonstrated their talent at various places in the venue.

Live music was provided by violinist Alyssa Albert. Candice Sirak, manager for the cultural center’s Sound Designs Music Therapy program, invited guests to collaborate with her on the creation of short songs.

The keynote speaker was Aundra Wallace, president of JAXUSA Partnership, an economic development agency that oversees efforts in seven Northeast Florida counties. He spoke on the importance of art to the economic success of a community.

One of the gala’s highlights was its awards ceremony with six people being recognized for their work in, or support of, the arts on the First Coast. In addition, the Volunteer of the Year and the Employee of the Year were named.

The gala is a fundraiser for the First Coast Cultural Center and this year raised a record $786,000, which includes pledges made until January 2025.

The center moved into its new location at 6000B Sawgrass Village Circle, Ponte Vedra Beach, in December. For further information, go to