VISIT FLORIDA Highlights Art and Cultural Events Across the State
Exhibits, museums and festivals make Florida more than a beach and outdoor destination
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.: All around Florida, artistic and cultural offerings abound. From mural tours and historical museums, to festivals and new exhibits, every corner of the state has something going on this summer.
Get up-to-date with some of the state’s lesser known destinations and their cultural offerings, as Florida continues to attract travelers from around the nation.
Jacksonville’s Cummer Museum, located in the historic Riverside neighborhood, houses more than 5,000 works of art that span 8,000 years, including significant European and American paintings and a renowned Meissen porcelain collection. Visitors can also tour the century-old beautiful, formal gardens, which overlook the St. Johns River. The Museum of Contemporary Art displays more than 1,000 pieces in its permanent collection, encompassing one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary art in the Southeast with paintings, installations, prints, sculpture and photography. The Museum of Science & History in downtown Jacksonville’s beautiful southbank brings thousands of years of Northeast Florida’s cultural and ecological history to life, featuring interactive exhibits and the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium, the largest single-lens planetarium in the world.
Pensacola is one of the only cities in Florida that offers the “Big Five,” boasting the Pensacola Opera, Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Pensacola, Pensacola Museum of Art and the historic Saenger Theater. Institutions like First City Arts Center, the Pensacola Little Theater and Vinyl Music Hall also
offer programming year-round that visitors and locals alike can enjoy. The Pensacola Foo Foo Festival takes over the city each fall. The annual 12-day cultural festival holds events hosted by local organizations. Signature events include the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival and live musical performances in Pensacola’s amphitheater, the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival and more.
South Walton may be best known for its 26 miles of sugar-white sands, turquoise waters and 16 beach neighborhoods, but it’s also one of the few beaches that can boast a thriving arts scene. The first Underwater Museum of Art in the U.S. opened its doors in 2018 in Grayton Beach. The museum rests on the seafloor approximately 55 feet below the surface, and in its first year was made up of seven unique sculptures created by local and nationally recognized artists. Davide Galbiati’s “The Seed and The Sea” sculpture is set to be deployed to the Underwater Museum of Art in 2022.
In Gainesville, the newest addition to the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention is an exhibit that seeks to educate visitors about the art and science of animation. Opened in May, Animationland transports visitors of all ages to a fantastical land with a quirky cast of characters, where inspiration is everywhere!
In Ocala/Marion County, The Appleton Museum of Art displays stunning paintings, sculptures, artifacts and more. If you are all about the arts, Ocala/Marion County offers many more ways to discover the destination’s unique arts and culture scene. Silver River Museum provides hands-on learning opportunities and dives into Florida’s cultural and natural history, dating as far back as 12,000 years.
Brick City Center for the Arts is located in historic downtown Ocala and showcases a new art exhibit by local artists every 30 days. The Reilly Arts Center features state-of-the-art acoustics and production equipment in a 705-seat venue that hosts an eclectic assortment of events, concerts, meetings, and parties, and has become a hub for the arts in Ocala. It’s not just art in Ocala, however. The Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, which opened in 1976, chronicles the history of the sport of drag racing, complete with. With some 90 racing cars and an additional 50 vehicles are in the antique car building.
St. Petersburg boasts incredible street murals that adorn the buildings around Central Avenue, alongside the famous Dali Museum, which houses the largest collection of the artist's work outside of Spain. Current exhibits include “The Visit” by Yamandú Canosa, as well as this year’s student surrealist exhibit themed “The Metamorphic Moment.” The St. Pete Pier houses exclusive public artworks designed especially for the pier. Not only is the pier itself a work of art, it also exemplifies the transformative power of public art thanks to the large-scale public art installations from international artists, including Xenobia Bailey, Janet Echelman, Nathan Mabry and Nick Ervinck.
Florida’s Adventure Coast invites visitors to view and purchase the works of local artists. Located in the heart of historic Brooksville, the Uptown Art Gallery displays local artworks of all mediums, from jewelry to digital art, much of it available for sale. Admission is free and new exhibits are cycled throughout the year. Locals and visitors alike can enjoy art festivals and events throughout the year, including Art in the Park, Weeki Wachee Swamp Fest, Art Strolls and Murals in the Park, among others. Visit our calendar of events for guided workshops, art classes and more.
Indian River County features Vero Beach Museum of Art, with rotating art exhibitions, a permanent collection, classes, gallery tours and children’s activities throughout. Highwaymen Landscape Art Gallery began in the 1960s when 26 Black artists, shunned by local galleries, took to their cars to sell their lush oil landscapes for $25 to $30 apiece along Florida’s highways — sometimes while the work was still wet. Today, the paintings sell for thousands of dollars and are exhibited in museums nationwide. The Gifford Historical Museum and Cultural Center has permanent collections and special exhibitions that include: local artists, such as six original Florida Highwaymen, second-generation Highwaymen, a Black history library, a children’s library and African artifacts, in addition to documents, photographs and ephemera from Gifford pioneers and notables throughout Indian River County.
In Martin County, MartinArts is headquartered in the historic Court House Cultural Center, which houses an ever-changing gallery space. Downtown Jensen Beach is known as the Artist Colony, where painter Karen Leffel-Massengill creates one of her iconic Florida-inspired landscapes. Sally Eckman Roberts also has a studio at the cottages. The Elliott Museum inspires creativity through exhibitions and programs about art, history and technology. Visitors can stop by the Chamber of Commerce for a Mural Tour Map and enjoy a self-guided walking, biking or driving tour to explore the Hobe Sound Murals Project. Martin County hosts a range of art-themed events and festivals throughout the year, from the award-winning ArtsFest and the weekly Jammin’ Jensen event in downtown Jensen Beach, to the Annual Downtown Stuart Craft Fair, which brings together some of the best crafters in the nation.
Downtown Delray Beach has become a cultural hotspot, where renowned works of art adorn fine galleries and unique shops abound. The First Friday Art Walks invite guests to explore the heart and soul of the town’s art scene on the first Friday of every month beginning in October and lasting until July)/ The newly-created Delray Beach Art Trail showcases the evolving public art scene throughout Delray Beach. Its art galleries, including the Arts Garage and the Arts Warehouse, offer visitors a glimpse into the lives of working artists. The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum shares the Black history and heritage of Palm Beach County while the Delray Beach Historical Society & Museum, founded in 1964, collects, preserves and shares materials from Delray Beach’s past. Self-guided walking tours, like the Delray Beach Art Trail and the First Friday Art Walk, highlight murals, galleries, artist studios and cultural centers.
ABOUT VISIT FLORIDA
VISIT FLORIDA is the Sunshine State’s official tourism marketing corporation and travel planning resource for visitors across the globe. As Florida’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming over 122 million visitors in 2021, an increase of 54 percent from 2020. VISIT FLORIDA promotes tourism through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations and visitor services programs, and serves more than 13,000 travel industry partners throughout the state. To learn more about VISIT FLORIDA, follow @FloridaTourism on Facebook and Twitter, or go to visitflorida.org. For inspiration in the Sunshine State follow @VISITFLORIDA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit www.visitflorida.com. For media resources, visit www.visitfloridamedia.com.