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Discover ‘Culture around Every Corner’ on Florida’s Historic Coast

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL – May 17, 2017 – (HISPANICIZE WIRE) – For centuries artists have been inspired by St. Augustine’s diverse cultural history, natural beauty and Spanish architecture. During the 1920-30s – Gilded Age in the U.S. – artists discovered this creative haven when they received invitations from Henry Flagler, Florida’s railroad magnate, to stay at his lavish Ponce de Leon Hotel. Flagler not only supported the artistic aspirations of his art world friends by providing them art studios, but also by connecting them with wealthy benefactors. From then on St. Augustine’s artistic community flourished with gifted painters, musicians, writers and sculptors; and today the art scene adds a unique charm to Florida’s Historic Coast.

Pablo Picasso once said that an artist is a vessel for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web. Many artists who explored the Nation’s oldest city at one time still live today in St. Augustine and have transformed those artistic emotions and shared their beauty to visitors through the vibrant and cultural art scene that exists in the community. From visual arts that indulge the imagination to performing arts which bring the senses alive, St. Augustine’s coastline offers a laidback vibe, unspoiled beaches and culinary delights, all with a historic and colorful artistic flair.

Must-Have Visual Arts Encounters – From modern galleries to exclusive exhibits to the design of historic cathedrals, the visual arts offer an endless feast for the eyes – and the imagination.

Visiting St. Augustine the first weekend of the month? Be sure to arrive on Friday, and don’t miss First Friday Art Walks in America’s Oldest City. The first Friday of every month of the year, nearly 30 galleries in St. Augustine open their doors after hours to the public, welcoming all to pop in and peruse. Whether you’re a serious art collector or just browsing, gallery owners invite visitors strolling St. Augustine’s brick-lined streets to check out their exhibits and take part in artist receptions complete with refreshments and live entertainment. First Friday Art Walks is the perfect time to stop by and visit Rembrandtz, this gallery has been voted the “Best of St Augustine” every year since the contest began. It is filled with original art, hand-blown glass, fine jewelry, hand-thrown pottery; you don’t want to miss an opportunity to browse through this unique and ever-changing gallery. The Butterfield Garage Art Gallery also merits a stop; this professional artist-run gallery encourages creative experimentation. The gallery has successfully established its reputation for showcasing the most distinguished local artists. It remains of the few local galleries where the public can interact with the artists.

St. Augustine is a center of originality – after all, it is the oldest continually occupied city in the United States. See up close the beautiful architectural design and artistic details of the Cathedral Basilica; Spanish Colonial Renaissance-style structure built in 1797 and reconstructed in the late 1880s or experience the Villa Zorayda Museum which was built in 1883 at one-tenth the scale of part of Spain’s Alhambra Palace. Visitors will marvel at the architecture and the unique treasures inside, including the world’s oldest carpet. More than 2,400 years old, the Sacred Cat Rug was woven completely from the hair of ancient Egyptian cats. Legend has it that the rug bears a curse; it was stolen from a tomb and wrapped around a mummy’s foot, which is also on display!

Feel and Breathe the Performing Arts – Professional theater, classical concerts and a state-of-the-art performance venue are all within reach. No matter which event you attend, or where you experience it, you’ll enjoy a unique setting and vibrant performance that the arts community is known for. The Ponte Vedra Concert Hall provides the perfect intimate setting for performing artists while the St. Augustine Amphitheatre has been recognized as one of the top ten outdoor amphitheaters in the world!

Nothing is more magical than experiencing live musical acts in a place full of history. St. Augustine’s Colonial Quarter concert series makes a variety of music genres accessible with free concerts throughout the year. On May 11th, aficionados of the rhythms and beats of the Spanish guitar will be in for a treat. The music of local Hispanic artist, Dennis Fermin, will celebrate passion and romance from Spain to the Caribbean Islands. Growing up in a musical family whose roots come from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Spain, he joined with them playing percussion instruments as a very small child. After sojourns in New York, California and Arizona, he moved to Georgia where Fermin Spanish Guitar was born with the release of his first CD, “Amor y Passion” in 2009. Dennis and his family moved to St. Augustine in 2011 and soon thereafter FSG became a success with tours throughout the southeastern USA. His upcoming special showcase performance will place emphasis on the Spanish, Flamenco and Latin guitar playing but also on cultural percussion grooves such as rhumba, salsa and samba.

The St. Augustine Amphitheatre was built in 1965 to commemorate St. Augustine’s 400th Anniversary as the nation’s oldest permanent European settlement. Upcoming performances by Grammy Award winning artist, John Legend, Tony Award super star Indina Menzel and Grammy Award winning artist John Mellencamp are among the top performers set to perform in this venue. Not to be missed is another Grammy Award-winning hit maker, the Gipsy Kings…. This will be a night to remember in St. Augustine! This world renowned musical group will celebrate in their very own, blistering tradition – taking audiences back to the south of France with flamenco guitars and booming Spanish vocals on Thursday, June 15th at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. The Gipsy Kings will raise the roof with dance-ready furor, returning to their groundbreaking eponymous album and the nomadic spirit that has led them to their latest, Savor Flamenco – giving audiences the ‘deep shout at the heart of our community’. Look for the band’s new release coming this summer.

Take in the Literary Arts – Florida has long been a haven for authors, poets and writers, and Florida’s Historic Coast is no exception. Literary events, book festivals, readings, workshops and more honor the history of the written word and you’re invited to explore them all.

Celebrate Diversity with Festivals – From photography and arts and crafts to seafood and sunsets, there’s a specific festival for whatever you love about St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and its beaches. Many festivals and celebrations showcase musical talent, from rock-n-roll to blues, and classical to jazz.

Many Cultures – Timucuan. Spanish. French. British. African. Minorcan. Florida’s Historic Coast has been home to an especially diverse array of peoples – and they’ve all left their mark here. You can experience the story of St. Augustine’s cultures through architecture, food, music, art, archaeology and more

Explore arts, culture and heritage events and create your cultural journey today at www.historiccoastculture.com.

Located midway between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, Florida’s Historic Coast includes historic St. Augustine, the outstanding golf and seaside elegance of Ponte Vedra and 42 miles of pristine Atlantic beaches. For more information on events, activities, holiday getaways, and accommodations and to plan your vacation in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, go to the Visitors and Convention Bureau website at http://www.FloridasHistoricCoast.com, become a fan of Viaja San Agustin’s Facebook or call 1.800.653.2489.