First Coast Cultural Center formally opens new location


Donna Guzzo, president and CEO of First Coast Cultural Center, recently announced that the nonprofit organization’s new building has formally opened with arts, culture, community activities and a gift shop at 6000B Sawgrass Village Circle in Ponte Vedra Beach.

The two-story, 6,000-square-foot space was funded in part by local donors and an additional support campaign is currently in place.

According to Guzzo, the donations also help to expand local programs for adults and children in art, music and culture, bringing in renowned artists, performers, instructors and audio-visual equipment, among others.

“Contributions and naming rights are still available for many opportunities at the new building, including a culinary center, pottery room, music and arts workshops, performance areas, exhibits and rehearsal space,” Guzzo said.

She also announced a new milestone partnership with Florida Ballet with dance instruction, programs and classes. Additionally, the Cultural Center is now a Certified Autism Center accredited through The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. The local organization now joins worldwide members who are leaders in working with the autism and neurodiversity community.

First Coast Cultural Center classes for adults and youth are now available for members and non-members and priced accordingly at the new location.

For more information, registration and payments, go to

For more information, contact Silvia Romero, director of programs, at 904-280-0614 ext.1206 or email

Adult classes include: “Botanical Mandala — Illustration and Watercolor” with Elaine Bergstrom from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, Feb. 6-27; “Valentine's Day Candle Making Workshop” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7; “Acrylic Inks on Watercolor Canvas: A Unique Color Technique” with Sandy Harrington from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 23; “Where in the World Have You Been? Acrylic Painting with Charlotte Chastain” from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, March 5 to April 9; “Acrylic Painting — Zoom Series” with Ellen Diamond from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. with four Tuesday sessions, March 5-26; “Sharpen Your Palette Knife Painting Skills” with Jeff Desautels from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays, March 6-27; “Encaustic Workshop: Image Transfer” with Caitlin Flynn from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 8; “Natural Perspectives in Watercolor” with Charlotte Chastain from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, April 16 to May 7; and “Still Life and Floral Painting Workshop” with Qiang Huang from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 15, 16 and 17.

Youth classes include “Spring Break Art Camp” with printmaking and painting for ages 7-11, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 11-15. Also, parents may schedule a party for children to celebrate a birthday and create art with their friends. Summer camp scheduling will be available soon for May 28 to Aug. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The new location in the Sawgrass area of Ponte Vedra serves residents and visitors in St. Johns County and the Beaches area, including Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach.

“With more than 8,000 constituents, we are pleased to have our own home where we can double and, in some instances, triple the number of programs we offer,” said Guzzo. 

All interior and exterior areas of the new building will be Americans with Disabilities Act-approved and accessible. Visual arts and music classrooms will be designed to teach music therapy to children with disabilities. There is to be a pottery room with multiple wheels and a kiln, a culinary studio and expanded spaces for exhibits, along with a gift shop. The center’s Kick StART afterschool enrichment program and classes will continue to reach several Title I schools in the south of the county.