When people envision life in the Upper Keys, they think about exotic cocktails, tiki bars, boating, scuba diving, fishing, sailing, and sunsets on the beach. It’s true, the Upper Keys are a great place to enjoy a tropical lifestyle, free of big city stress and harsh, icy winters. It’s also true life here moves a bit slower, with plenty of time to feel the sand between the toes while a cool breezes carresses across the body.
What many people don’t know and only discover after their first visit is all the Upper Keys has to offer in arts and culture. This island archipelago has been and is now home to many talented artists, with many distinct styles. From musicians to painters to jewelry artisans, there are many local, state, national, and international talents about the area., but that certainly isn’t where it stops.
A Place of Inspiration
The Upper Keys is a place of enchantment, wonder, and offers many sources of inspiration. Life here is day by day, with each bringing rays of sunshine and plenty of sights, sounds, and natural beauty to inspire. With practically every day of the calendar being sun drenched accompanied by warm balmy breezes, this is one place that’s never short on artistic stimulation.
It’s truly one of the best kept secrets about this island chain off the coast of Florida. With nature abounding, wonderful, warm people, the majesty of the Atlantic Ocean and the peacefulness of the Gulf of Mexico, there’s wonderful influences around every corner.
Many Sights, Many Mediums, Many Discoveries
What you’ll find is no shortage of talent on full display, from eclectic pottery to oil on canvas paintings to nature photography to jewelry makers, it’s all here waiting to be discovered. Artists of all kinds find natural treasures in the Everglades National Park. More awaits in the underwater glory of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the lush colors at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park.
Not only do local artists draw inspiration from natural wonders, they also have plenty of places to show off their talents, from Gallery at Kona Kai in Key Largo, to the Gallery at Morada Bay and Redbone Art Gallery in Islamorada, to the Stacie Krupa Studio Gallery of Art and Village, there’s certainly no shortage of art.
What’s more, the performing arts are alive and well in the Upper Keys, where residents and visitors can enjoy a Broadway Show, dance, musicals, and concerts throughout the year.
The Keys are made up of small towns and communities. However, due to the strong economy from our tourist base, the Arts are a primary part of our culture. Most weekends bring festivals and street parties throughout the Keys and especially in Key West. Photography of wildlife here is also great. Check out www.dhphotoart.comThe Florida Keys Council of the Arts does a great job in supporting Art in the Keys http://www.keysarts.com/
Also see the Key West Arts and historical society http://www.kwahs.com/
• The Keys Community Concert Band. Susan Bazin 451-4530.
• Keys Chamber Orchestra. Call Inga-Lisa Wright, 305-744-0508
• The Key West Pops, Inc. - 305 293-7658, P.O. Box 6206
• Note to musicians-There are about a zillion Tiki bars etc, that have live music. The times range from the afternoon through the evening. The pay is generally better than you'll find working in a regular club in the rest of the country. In addition to that most outdoor venues shut their nusic down about 11-so the hours
Museums and Culture
• Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum - 305 294-1136, 907 Whitehead St., Key West FL
• Flagler's Station Historeum®-901 Caroline St., 1-305-295-3562.
• Key West East Martello Museum - 305 296-3913, 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd.
• Key West Lighthouse Museum - 305 294-0012, 938 Whitehead Street
• Key West Museum of Art & History - 305 295-6616
• Key West Shipwreck Historeum - 305 292-8990, 1 Whitehead Street
• Little White House Museum - 305 294-9911
• Lofton B. Sands African Bahamian Museum - 305 293-9692,
• Wrecker's Museum - 322 Duval St., 294-9502.Theater/dance
• Middle Florida Keys
• Marathon Community Theatre, 5101 O/S Hwy.....305 743-0994
• Key West Theatre
• Island Opera Theatre.....305 296-1520
• Red Barn Theatre, 319 Duval St (Rear).....305 296-9911
• Waterfront Playhouse, Mallory Square.....305 294-5015Art Galleries/ Visual Arts
• Over 90 galleries throughout the Keys
• Note to Artists; regardless of the medium, ther is a place for you in the Keys. The Keys strongly support resident artists.Writers groups in all genres (from screenwriting to novels) are spread throughout the Keys.
There is definitely a reason so many world class writers and Play-rights have made and do make the Keys their home. Especially Key West.(“Ernest Hemingway” )
The musician and actor community here is strong.In conclusion, the arts community in the keys is strong and will even grow stronger. If you like the arts and a small community with lots of outdoor opportunities, The Florida Keys could be just your place.Wouldn’t it be nice to vacation here and not have to leave?
Sally Stribling, P.A.
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Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real Estate Company
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