Lesmarie Velez won’t tell you this, she’s not one to “toot her own horn” (…and that’s her quote, not ours.), but she’s the wizard behind the curtain when it comes to the Cultural Arts Showcase each year. What she will tell you is the history; how it started, how it struggled, and how it finally started rolling into the event it is today. She’ll also name all of the performers, arts groups, cultural organizations and the team of people that have helped to present this unique performing arts festival for our community. If you can imagine a tympani roll building a great crescendo, you’re on the right track.
Years ago, the Brevard Symphony Orchestra had an annual event called, “Fall for the Arts.” Borrowing the name from a previously held localawards dinner, it became more of an awareness event where the BSO would hand out press kits and media packets at a reception. As other groups heard about it, they asked to participate, and it grew. When it was too big for one person to practically manage, the Brevard Cultural Alliance stepped in, and partnered with the Eau Gallie Arts District to present the event. As social media lessened the need to disseminate information by hand, the event ran its course and was shelved.
Fast forward a few months, and in wanting to create a fresh approach to celebrating the arts, Lesmarie had an idea to re-invent the BSO’s annual family concert into a festival and invite other arts organizations to showcase themselves alongside the BSO. She ran the idea past her director, and then The King Center. It took about six months to get everyone on board with the idea, but she was finally given the green light. When the Eau Gallie Arts District stepped in as a partner, the first Cultural Arts Showcase came together in about two months with about 30 organizations. The next year was about 40, and last year featured about 60 groups.
Lesmarie will tell you it is an amazing atmosphere, “There are ballet dancers in tutus dancing around and cosplayers in the hallways!” She added, “During our first year, the Space Coast Ballet recreated the entire Nutcracker in seven minutes on stage while the Orchestra performed, and I now have this great photo of the Mouse King standing backstage with Darth Vader!” That’s the purpose of the Showcase, not just public awareness of the Arts in Brevard, but making the Arts organizations aware of each other and to encourage collaboration. Velez added, “We have so much more to share than just the classic performing arts, we’re raising awareness to more modern forms of expression, too.”
Indeed, she has started a movement. The annual family concert is the main event at the Showcase, the entire day is like a “symphony in movements.” There are painters painting, sculptors sculpting, photographers photographing, and singers singing. In an example that brings tears to her eyes, she’ll describe the BSO’s instrument petting zoo. Called “PLAY,” it puts instruments in kids’ hands for the first time. The BSO then offers its free Concert Club for Kids to nurture that interest. “If just one of those kids picks up an instrument and becomes a musician or makes them appreciate music more, it justifies what we at the BSO do, and makes the Cultural Art Showcase vital in growing the arts in Brevard.”
For details regarding the showcase, turn to page 77 in “The Buzz” section.
Cultural Arts Showcase
(321) 242-2024 | CulturalArtsShowcase.com