Community ‘Celebrates the Arts’ with Cultural Council at Riverside Theatre

The Cultural Council of Indian River County moved its fifth annual Celebrate the Arts Festival to the Riverside Theatre campus last Saturday, where attendees enjoyed a day chockfull of cultural arts information.

The festival was developed to showcase a multitude of cultural opportunities available to local performers, purveyors and patrons. Culture vultures were able to visit more than 50 booths featuring visual artists, literature, music, theater and dance, to learn more about programs, volunteer opportunities and upcoming shows.

This collaborative effort is meant to fuel the creative environment nurtured by the Cultural Council’s mission to illuminate lives and drive economic vitality through our community’s numerous cultural activities.

“This event was designed to be a showcase so that in one spot you can spend a day and learn about all the different types of organizations that offer some kind of cultural experience,” said Jon Moses, Riverside Theatre managing director/COO.

Cultural Council executive director Barbara Hoffman said the move from Riverside Park to the Theatre’s campus was a positive shift; saving money on site costs and stage rentals, showcasing the council’s collaborative spirit, and no longer having to deal with the whims of Mother Nature.

“The Cultural Council is the spokesperson for the arts in the community,” said Hoffman. “Designated by the state as the local arts agency in 1995, the Cultural Council is the center of the cultural arts for passing information, promoting tourism and publicity.”

As Mark Wygonik directed performances on the outdoor stage, he recalled that in 1985, when he returned to Vero Beach, the only venues available for creativity were the Vero Beach Museum of Art, Riverside Theatre and The Vero Beach Theatre Guild.

“The growth has been amazing,” said Wygonik. “In the 90s and the early 2000s we saw a big growth. Now we have ballets, we have opera and we have symphonies. There are over 100 arts organizations in this county now and Celebrate the Arts gives the organizations a chance to show who they are.”

He added that it’s also good for the community; enabling them to come to one event to see the enormous variety of cultural arts available to them.

Throughout the day artists happily discussed their creations, authors gave readings and answered questions, musicians entertained, and nonprofit organizations and civic groups shared details about their pursuits.

Art on display ran the gamut from photography, pottery, crafts, glass, sculpture, jewelry and various fine art mediums giving a well-rounded accounting of the range of talented local artists.

New this year, awards were given in 22 categories with Mike Nelson receiving Best of Show for his sculpture.

Performances went on throughout the day featuring the Oslo & Storm Grove Orchestra, Vero Beach Chamber Orchestra, Gifford Youth Orchestra, Vero Beach Theatre Guild/Guild on the Go, Vero Beach Pipes and Drums and the Friends and Neighbors, and RCT students performed on the outdoor stage and later gave a presentation of Xanadu on the Waxlax Stage.

Across the street the Vero Beach Museum of Art offered free admission to its exhibits, including the Vero Beach Centennial Children’s Poster and Art Show and the Vero Beach Centennial Timeline.

On May 8 the Cultural Council will present the Laurel Awards at Riverside Theatre. For more information, visit

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