Canvas, Stage and More: A look at what’s happening in the arts locally


Here’s a look at what’s happening in the arts locally.

Young artists with developmental disabilities to stage ‘Moana Jr.’

APEX Theatre Studio will present its second annual Penguin Project production, “Disney’s Moana Jr.,” at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 29, and Sunday, July 30, at Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, 14 Granada St., downtown St. Augustine. Tickets are available at

“Disney’s Moana Jr.” is a musical adaptation of the 2016 animated film, bringing the adventures of Moana and her village of Motunui to life onstage. The story follows the strong-willed Moana as she sets sail across the Pacific to save her village and discover the truth about her heritage.

All of the roles are filled by young artists with developmental disabilities including Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, visual impairment, hearing impairment and other neurological disorders. They are joined on stage by a dedicated group of “peer mentors,” children the same age without disabilities who have volunteered to work side-by-side with them through four months of rehearsals and the final performance.

The show’s running time is 70 minutes. Tickets are $22 (general admission).

Writers to learn how to build an effective platform

Jennifer Swanson has made a name for herself as the author of more than 45 nonfiction books for kids, mostly in the science and technology genre. Along with winning a bucket-full of awards, she built a substantial platform and brand, and will share her knowledge with writers at the Saturday, July 29, meeting of the Ponte Vedra Writers. The meeting is set for 11 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library.

During her interactive presentation, “Building an Effective Author Platform and Brand,” Swanson will explain the difference between a brand and a platform. She will offer specific advice on how to build an author brand/platform, and answer the following questions:

  • What should be an author’s first step to building a platform?
  • Does every author need a digital footprint?

Aside from her award-winning books, Swanson is the creator and cohost of the Solve It! For Kids podcast which, in its two years of being on air, has 40,000-plus downloads, is ranked in the top 5% of all podcasts worldwide, and is No. 1 in the Top 10 Best Podcasts for Learning by All Digital School.

Her passion for science and technology resonates in all of her books but especially, “Brain Games,” named one of the 50 Best Science Books Ever by

The Ponte Vedra Writers group is part of the Florida Writers Association, a statewide, membership organization dedicated to the support of both aspiring and published writers in any genre. The July 29 meeting is free and open to members and nonmembers alike. For information on FWA, go to

Art House grand opening is Aug. 3

The Art House will hold its grand opening 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3, at 3920 A1A South in St. Augustine Beach.

There will be live music by The Band Be Easy, drinks and hors d’oeuvres, a bounce house and face painting. The studio is located at 3920 A1A South, Suite 8, St. Augustine Beach. The space will be available for private event rental on a limited basis outside of normal business hours.

Security expert to address writers’ group

Sarah Bewley, who works in the department responsible for the physical security of a utilities company, will speak at the next meeting of the NE Florida Sisters in Crime, 1 p.m. Saturday, July 29, at the Ponte Vedra Branch Library.

Bewley writes, climbs rock walls and takes boxing lessons. She was born young, grew old very quickly, then entered into her second childhood, which she found far more satisfying than her first.

“Burning Eden” is her first mystery and the first book of the Eden County Mysteries series. She’s worked as a licensed private investigator and now works in utilities security, which is physical protection for critical infrastructure.

There had been a temporary change of date and time for this meeting due to scheduling conflicts.

— Compiled by Shaun Ryan