Halifax Art Festival Celebrates 50 Yrs in Daytona Beach

The efforts and determimation of those first organizers not only aided the construction of the Daytona Beach Museum of Arts & Sciences in 1970, but also created a cultural tradition that will bring more than 200 artists and 30,000 people to downtown Daytona Beach this weekend, according to festival organizers.

The Museum of Arts & Sciences, formerly called the Halifax Children’s Museum, was originally located on White Street in Daytona Beach. Community members such as Jackie Harrison dreamed of having a new facility that would also host exhibits and programs for adults. Harrison was the first president of the Guild of the Museum of Arts & Sciences, a group of citizens committed to raising funds for the new museum.

“Before we established the guild we weren’t making much progress or finding a location for a museum,” Harrison said. “After we established the guild we were able to fundraise and find donors.”

With capital raised from private donors, fundraisers and with land donated by the city, the new museum opened its doors July 25, 1971.

Museum of Arts & Sciences Executive Director Andrew Sandall said that the guild has been vital to the success of the museum.

“They are advocates for the museum and the arts community,” Sandall said in a statement. “They’ve created and continue to grow an event that in its own right is a major part of the region’s cultural calendar. The museum staff and board are continually appreciative for the hard work they do.”

While the location of the festival has changed over the years, the community spirit of the festival has not. Riverfront Park in Daytona Beach will supply the location and provide funds for the museum to continue its programs and exhibits. During the event, a jury will select winners for various prizes, with best of show taking home $5,000.

The festival draws photographers, sculptors, jewelry makers and mixed media artists who sell their creations. A festival veteran of 10 years, Palm Coast painter Ray Brilli, said that while the economy has forced him to cut back on other juried art shows, he never misses the Halifax Art Festival. This year he plans to showcase his impressionistic paintings of local landscapes.

“You feel like you are at a community event and you get a sense of the history of the festival when you are there because of its tenure and age,” Brilli said. “The other reason I keep coming is because I get a chance to see all my customers and people who have supported me over the

years.”

The festival is also a family-friendly event with deejays, live music, food and activities for children. The Kohl’s Kidz Art Zone, near the Magnolia Avenue Bridge, will provide young Picassos with easels, smocks and paint so that they can create their own masterpieces.

Guild chairwoman Gloria Keay said that the festival provides local artist with an outlet to showcase their work, while providing for the city’s tourism.

“The merchants on Beach Street really like it because it brings a lot of people downtown,” she said. “I think locals are also impressed by the art that is right here in their hometown that they might not have known about.”

Ormond Beach watercolorist Steve Rogers has been showcasing his watercolor landscapes at the Halifax Art Festival since 1975. In the last few years Rogers began

traveling back and forth to Europe to teach art classes. Coming back to the Halifax Art Festival serves as a homecoming, he said.

“It’s nice coming and seeing people who we haven’t seen in years,” he said. “I think the festival has come back to a more comfortable location for artists and patrons and it does a good job of promoting downtown.”

For more information on the Museum of Arts and Sciences please vistit www.moas.org

Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal/Lacey McLaughlin

Beatrix Ehringer's Painting to be exhibited in the Halifax Art Festival
Ormond Beach artist Beatriz Ehringer will display this painting and other works at the 50th Halifax Art Festival, which runs Nov. 3-4, 2012, in downtown Daytona Beach.

 

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