Indian Rocks Beach Art Center remains the city’s cultural hub | Beaches

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – The Beach Art Center is a long-standing community institution that opened in 1978.

The facility, which includes two galleries and a gift shop that recently underwent a major renovation, offers weekly classes and weekend workshops in a variety of mediums, as well as summer camps, open studios and shows, according to Patricia Thomas, a four-year volunteer who serves as the center’s spokesperson.

But Thomas noted that they regularly attract amateur patrons and professional artists from across the state, in person and through Zoom, the Beach Art Center, located at 1515 Bay Palm Blvd. adjacent to Indian Rocks Beach Town Hall, has retained its quaint, unpretentious vibe befitting the IRB community.

“It’s a pretty neat, pretty special little place with a lot to do,” Thomas said over the phone recently. She noted that the installation began as an American Legion Hall before it was purchased by a local artist and converted into a non-profit community art center. “We offer multiple levels of classes in a variety of mediums, including oils, watercolors, pottery, acrylic and mixed media, and they are offered on a pay per class, not weekly or semester basis as well. many other places. “

Thomas said they also offer outdoor, or outdoor, classes as well as “Art on the Rocks,” a sip and paint style event that’s more advanced than most.

Thomas said the center has around 1,200 people on its mailing list and “a few hundred active members who support us.” She added that the all-volunteer operation is managed by “a very active board of directors with people who fill different roles”, although she acknowledged that they had a paid employee, the store clerk of gifts. She also said the center could not have survived this long, especially throughout the coronavirus pandemic, without the full support of IRB leaders, visitors and residents.

“The community has always been very supportive of us,” said Thomas, who moved to the area five years ago. “It amazes me. The center is important to Cookie (IRB Mayor Kennedy) and Diane (IRB Action 2000 President Flagg) and Mary Rose (co-founder of Plein Aire Cottage Artists Holmes), but it is also an important part of the community. It’s a hub for gatherings and special events, a place people are drawn to.

One of these events is the centre’s annual fundraising gala. The next one, slated for Saturday, February 26, is titled Boots and Brushes and will use a country-western theme using the street and Kolb Park up front that promises to make it another fun and successful fundraiser, according to Thomas.

“The gala is the main fundraiser for us each year which is critical to our budget, and this next one should be a big party, with food and shows, a live auction, raffles and a bar. whiskey, ”she said. Tickets for the gala can be purchased on the Beach Art Center website. “So we want to invite everyone to come have a good time for a good cause! “

Until then, Thomas and the rest of the centre’s volunteers will continue to deliver a full range of programs, classes, workshops and performances for art lovers across the IRB’s large community and across the region. State.

“Art does different things for different people, but it’s a great mental health booster,” Thomas said. She noted that the center has remained open for the past two years, except for the first two weeks of the pandemic.

“When people are engaged in art, they are not alone, they are not sad, and we are happy to be able to relieve stress for our clients. “

James C. Tibbs