Cultural Center to open new location in Jax Beach on Jan. 4

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The Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach is opening a new facility in Jacksonville Beach, the first step in expanding its services to reach more artists, art students and art lovers in Northeast Florida.

The new studio is scheduled to be open to the public on Jan. 4, at 3972 Third St. South in the Trader Joe’s shopping complex. It will house classes in visual arts and music, plus workshops, camps for children and the Cultural Center’s popular Market, where various artistic creations by local artists provide gifts and decorative options in a wide range of prices.

The Cultural Center, a St. Johns County icon for more than a quarter century, is shifting its services from its former headquarters at 50 Executive Way in Ponte Vedra Beach. That building has been sold to Roanoke Vinton Radio Inc., a Virginia corporation.

“That building served the Cultural Center and its array of artists and students very well for 26 years,” Executive Director Donna Guzzo said. “It was showing its age, however. And COVID conditions were limiting the space we could use for most of 2020 and into 2021. “We were planning to sell the building eventually to complete plans to move into a future arts complex on St. Johns County land near the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. The opportunity to sell now on attractive terms ignites our ambition to meet the demands of a wider audience for arts and arts services.”

The Cultural Center is planning even more expansions, as well.

  “In addition to the new Jacksonville Beach studio, the Cultural Center Board of Directors is pursuing additional facilities in Nocatee,” Chairman Matt Nelson and Chairman-Elect Joe Bryant said. “Nocatee already represents a significant — and growing — percentage of activity at our Ponte Vedra site.

“When fully realized, the Cultural Center will be offering more services than ever in proximity to more residents than ever — in Ponte Vedra Beach, Jacksonville Beach and Nocatee — at least.”

The Cultural Center was voted by Beaches-area readers of the Ponte Vedra Recorder as the best art gallery and the best specialty school for 2020. This past year, it hosted a national exhibit featuring works by Andy Warhol and the “Loving Beethoven” interactive exhibit from Spain, supported by Robert and Monica Jacoby, as well as exhibits by local master artists such as Ellen Diamond and Suzanne Schuenke. Classes and workshops led by master artists from throughout the country have been staples at the Cultural Center.

The Sound Connections Music Therapy program for children with special needs has expanded from four St. Johns County schools to six, including two Title 1 schools in the south of the county. The expansion is supported by the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund and The Community Foundation of Northeast Florida. The program provided at no cost to the school district or parents must raise each year $150,000. This program contracts with three nationally-board certified music therapists who utilize evidence-based music experiences to help children reach their educational goals.

The Kick StART after school visual arts program kicked off at the beginning of the school year at Palm Valley Academy with two classes, and at Osceola Elementary. The program is supported by the Dr. JoAnn Crisp-Ellert Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida and by The Lazzara Family Foundation.

To make a donation or for more information, contact Guzzo at dguzzo@ccpvb.org or call (904) 280-0614, ext. 1205.

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