Arts & Culture Galore: More Than Sandy Shores
There’s so much more to New Smyrna Beach, Florida than just its sandy shores. As a matter of fact, this beachside town has a thriving arts and culture scene. With art festivals, galleries, and classes, there’s no shortage of creative activities to keep you entertained during your fantastic getaway.
Plan to Attend “IMAGES: A Festival of the Arts”
The “IMAGES: A Festival of the Arts” was founded nearly 50 years ago by the Atlantic Center of the Arts. It has since become one of the best art festivals in the entire country! Held annually at the end of January, this three-day festival welcomes over 50,000 people every single year.
The main highlight of the “IMAGES: A Festival of the Arts” is the talented artists. Each year, the event selects one artist to be the IMAGES poster artist. In 2022, it was the incredible Leon Ruiz.
Known for his acrylic and oil paintings, Ruiz’s bold, bright, and beach-inspired works instantly catch your eye. He has recently started experimenting with a new series called “Pulse.” In this collection, Ruiz has created beautiful art pieces using sound waves instead of traditional art tools.
But there are hundreds of other amazing artists to see through the three-day festivities. Whether you’re looking for paintings, ceramics, photography, glass art, or pieces in another creative medium, you’re sure to find something that suits your style. So stroll through the booths, ask questions, and perhaps even purchase a piece or two.
On top of all that, there’s also an exhibit of student work from Daytona State College. Out of the dozens of students that apply, only three are accepted to show their pieces at this renowned art festival each year. The three chosen students are Stephen Stubbs, Richard Malfitano, and Janet Montville this year. Stubbs specializes in portrait photography, Malfitano makes beautiful paintings, and Montville focuses on patterned ceramics.
But visual art certainly isn’t all there is at IMAGES. You can also listen to live music, enjoy children’s craft areas, and munch on your favorite festival foods. It’s an event for the whole family – art enthusiasts or not!
Pop by the Atlantic Center for the Arts
While the “IMAGES: A Festival of the Arts” is the most famous event hosted by the Atlantic Center for the Arts, there’s much more to this New Smyrna Beach cultural hub.
Depending on the artistic discipline, the Atlantic Center for the Arts is split up into many different studios, complexes, and theaters. There are spaces for painting, sculpting, writing, acting, dancing, and more.
That said, these spaces are only open to the public during special events, so it’s quite a treat if you get a chance to see the inside of this facility. So plan accordingly with their events calendar, and schedule a trip to New Smyrna Beach to peruse their art galleries, listen to live poetry readings, or watch captivating plays.
Check Out Arts on Douglas
Situated near the heart of Downtown New Smyrna Beach, Arts on Douglas is known for its fantastic exhibitions that span all genres of art. Past exhibitions have included digital media, conceptual art, video art, site-specific installations, and more.
There’s always something new to see to make Arts on Douglas even better. With two separate gallery spaces and 18 exhibitions a year, you can stop by to see a unique art collection every few weeks.
Find a Hidden Gem at the Hub on Canal
New Smyrna Beach is home to dozens of artists. While a few have their own galleries – including the Fernandez Photography & Arts Gallery by Gabriel Fernandez, Studio Vezza Maggiore by Denise Vezza Maggiore, and Ring Gallery by Mike Ring – many are much harder to find. The Hub on Canal features many hidden New Smyrna Beach artistic talents.
Check out the unique ceramic pieces by Amy Taylor. Feel transported by Frank Ferrante’s landscape oil paintings. Admire Susan Stern’s beautiful jewelry pieces. Perhaps even purchase a stunning watercolor painting from Liv Witherow for your home! And these four artists are just the start!
Try Out Your Own Artistic Skills
After seeing so much incredible artwork, you may be inspired to put your own artistic skills to the test. If that’s the case, you’ll want to head to the Artists’ Workshop of New Smyrna Beach, which offers all sorts of art classes. Learn about everything from drawing to painting to pottery to photoshop. And after you’ve attended an essential series of classes, you can put your newly learned skills to work in the open studio!
Plan your Next Trip to New Smyrna Beach
If you feel inspired to join many arts and culture events, would love to discover Florida’s art scene, then wait no longer to book your next trip to New Smyrna Beach. You may find the most upcoming events happening around our five communities in our events calendar. In addition, on our Arts & Culture page, you can check a complete list of all galleries, studios, or cultural centers.