The St. Johns Cultural Council (SJCC) did a phenomenal job transforming the front area at the Cultural Arts Center at Saint Augustine Beach (CACatStAB) to an inviting courtyard. The recent upgrades and enhancements were a great success. The bold initiative of the “Courtyard Beautification Project” was enthusiastically headed by Karen Coker, a board director with the SJCC. Funds for this commendable endeavor were raised by the SJCC through fundraising events, donors, and private donations.
Sally Ann Freeman, an award-winning Master Gardener with the University of Florida and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), suggested the seaside friendly plants. The landscaping compliments the commemorative bricks that were used ten years ago as the initial fundraiser for the first renovation of the building in 2001. St. Johns County UF/IFAS Master Gardeners is a volunteer-driven program that benefits the citizens of Florida. Among the many excited volunteers from the community were eight students from The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind Garden Center, headed by teacher, Jenny Henningsen Palmer, who eagerly helped with digging, planting, mulching, edging, carting materials around, and driving to and from supply stores.
The St. Johns Cultural Council assumed the building in 2000 from the City of St. Augustine Beach as a project to restore the building for use as a non-profit arts center. Beginning in 2001, funded by grants from the Florida Division of Historical Resources and individual and corporate donors of over $800,000, extensive restoration and rehabilitation of the exterior and 5,000 sq ft of the interior was accomplished. In 2007, The Dance Company, a local non-profit dance school, became the first anchor tenant, and The Art Studio joined tenancy in 2015. Further renovations will provide space for more local arts and events for the community as well as visitors.
Stop by and visit this beautiful and inviting art haven to enjoy the arts and the beauty of the building, or you can breathe in the salty ocean air while contemplating its history in the delightfully relaxing, new courtyard: you won’t want to leave.
Learn more about the St. Johns Cultural Council by visiting www.stjohnsculture.com.