By: Neil Levine
Experience All Of It!
There is so much going on here in the Brevard County arts and cultural scene. Depending on the day and your mood, you could decide on something uplifting, inspiring or perhaps challenging. Do you enjoy music? We offer a number of concerts in any
genre – rock, pop, blues, jazz or symphonic music – at indoor and outdoor venues throughout the county. Or would you prefer festivals? We have some extraordinary ones, such as the Space Coast Art Festival, the Melbourne Art Festival or the Art of Sustainability in Palm Bay featuring kinetic art. Or maybe you are more interested in the broad offerings of the Friday evening street fests in downtown Melbourne, Eau Gallie, Palm Bay or Titusville. Or perhaps you’d like to pursue an independent, artistic venture, like taking an art class and learning how to paint, sculpt or draw. Regardless of your fancy, Brevard County certainly has plenty to offer, and we can help you discover some
When we think about “arts and culture,” the definition that comes to mind may simply be one tied to the performing or fine arts – paintings on walls or performances at your local theater. But the word “culture” describes so much more; it’s who we are, how we express our interests, and the values we celebrate in our daily lives. Even going to the pub and having a drink with friends is a cultural activity! Other activities that we may enjoy with the whole family, like going to the zoo, are also part of our culture. And while describing a person as “cultured” may have you thinking of someone who regularly attends the theater, I’d challenge you to think about it much more broadly; there is no part of our lives that arts and culture does not touch in some way or another.
Using this context, we can see the arts as a part of culture, certainly more than just visual arts, but something that embraces all of our creative expressions. By taking a closer look at the day-to-day lives of our community, you can see how the arts and culture impacts us all, everyday.
“Brevard County has the 10th largest school district in the state and is teeming with opportunities to add art to the equation,” said Jill Reyes, BCA Board Chair and Director of RSM US LLP.
And that is already happening in our school system. For example, Brevard Public Schools and Brevard Cultural Alliance (BCA) work together to embed local artists into classrooms to assist students in learning sophisticated math and engineering-related concepts through the application of art. This approach is used all over the world to help people more easily understand complexity. A great example is NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), which employs some of the smartest people on the planet, those who understand mathematical theories, rules of physics, compositions of atoms and distances from stars, yet they have an artist in residence to translate these obscure scientific concepts to the public, in a manner we can all “get.”
So, art can even end up affecting the way we think about science and the universe, and this is merely one way that creativity sparks new levels of ingenuity. Don’t think for a moment that our local scientists and engineers themselves aren’t engaging in and benefiting from the arts and cultural offerings around them as well.
“One might be tempted to think that aerospace professionals only need spacecraft and advanced aircraft to keep us happy here on the Space Coast, but I can assure you that the same people who launch humans to explore the heavens and support the men and women of our armed forces value arts and culture in their personal lives and the lives of their families. If we are going to prosper and grow as a community – we must provide music and theater and sculpture and painting and the host of artistic delights that feed the souls of our high-tech workforce,” said local Joe Mayer, Lockheed Martin Director of Government Relations.
We must also involve the youth in our (and every) community that may have little means of self-expression. Art and culture lends voice to them and challenges their thinking. This helps create the civilized society in which we’d prefer to live, in which we all prosper and grow. It requires we immerse our children in art and culture, giving them every opportunity for
The Brevard Cultural Alliance (BCA) has a comprehensive arts and cultural events calendar on its website at
From a more business-centric standpoint, you may not have realized the arts and cultural sector is an economic engine that’s helped the Space Coast emerge from some very difficult times over recent years. A recent study of last year’s economic impact data is an excellent example, showing 1.87 million attended local events, and that activity contributed $71.3 million to the Space Coast’s GDP. The study illustrated that around 20 percent of attendees are visitors and that they spend more than double that of residents; spending money on tickets, but also purchasing souvenirs, and eating and lodging while in the area. A compelling arts and cultural offer is a significant contributor to any community’s economic health, and Brevard’s sector continues to do us proud.
Lynda Weatherman, President & CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, had this to say about the importance of arts and culture to attracting jobs and commerce: “Quality of life is an essential element to attracting talent and investment for any community. The art and culture on the Space Coast not only enhances our quality of life, but is a key factor in what makes Brevard County a great place to live and do business.”
And when you think about ways to spend your hard-earned dollars, while retail therapy is great fun and does positively impact the local economy (if you spend your dollars locally versus on Amazon), it will never inspire you in the way a piece of music that reminds you of your first date, or the images that transport you to your happiest moments, or that painting that draws you into another world, will do.
There are elements of art and culture all around us enhancing our community. Art is everywhere. Open your eyes to it wherever you go. You may notice that, whether you are walking through the Orlando Melbourne International Airport, the Brevard County Government Center, the Planetarium or many other local businesses, there are beautiful works of art gracing the walls to enjoy. Those are all created by local area artists and exhibited by the BCA Art in Public Places Program, enabling hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors to experience local art.
Now, there may be some in our community who tend to seek out entertainment in Orlando by habit – and certainly there is no scarcity of options in the world’s tourism center only an hour west of us – but I’d like to ask you to consider taking a closer look at what we offer right here in Brevard County. You may be surprised by all the opportunities that surround you. And, if you’ve explored the options and still feel we need more – consider driving the change you’d like to see locally. Volunteer to join the board of a local arts and cultural organization. These boards can be great fun to participate in and, in addition to the fantastic networking opportunities they provide, you’ll be helping to shape the local arts and cultural scene for tomorrow’s residents, workers and visitors.
Karen Montas, BCA Board Member and Managing Partner of Johnson & Montas P.A., Attorneys at Law, feels strongly about board involvement, “I believe one of the greatest privileges we have is the ability to love others. I participate on charitable boards because I want to love my community and the people around me. It is one of the keys to a meaningful life. In today’s world, it is easy to become self-consumed and hyper-focused on one’s small universe (e.g. spouse, kids, work). Actively participating with charitable organizations allows me to get outside of that and to actively love my neighbors.”
It’s in your power to create the type of arts and cultural atmosphere here on the Space Coast that can be enjoyed by many generations to come. If you love the arts and feel passionate about making Brevard the best cultural destination it can be, get involved!
The Brevard Cultural Alliance can help facilitate opportunities for you to become a Board Member for local arts and cultural organizations. To learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org