Itinerary: Arts Alive in New Smyrna Beach

Experience this "Top 100 Arts Community"

Just over 40 years ago when Doris "Doc" Leeper founded the Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA) in New Smyrna Beach, it was her vision as an artist and environmentalist that laid the foundation for the destination's future as an arts and cultural hub in Central Florida. Today, Atlantic Center is just one of many organizations welcoming visitors to experience this coastal town's artistic vibe.

With a large concentration of the arts in downtown New Smyrna Beach, a likely place to begin the tour will be The Hub on Canal, an incubator for more than 80 local artists where creating, selling and teaching art in a communal space takes center stage. Founded in 2010 by local artists, The Hub on Canal was born through the idea that sharing art can strengthen and sustain a community. So far, their success proves the formula works. Visitors can browse the galleries, talk with an artist busy at work or choose from a number of art, yoga, music and wellness classes. The Hub also hosts several live performances and events and participates in the monthly Canal Street Historic District Art Stroll.

Also located just east of The Hub on thriving Canal Street is Gallery One Twenty, a contemporary art gallery featuring the work of established American artists.

Just around the corner on Douglas Street is the downtown collective for ACA with Harris House, Yurick Studios, Arts on Douglas and ACA's alt_space gallery. Housed in a former 1930's era Ford showroom and service center, Arts on Douglas presents 18 exhibitions each year and includes the alt_space gallery with a focus on Florida artists from contemporary genres. A three-room programming space at Yurick Studios is used for community arts and children's classes. Right next door is the Clay Gallery, home to artist Teresa Bowen's studio and pottery work created with her unique glaze.

Heading toward the barrier island, you will find the North Causeway home to Off the Wall Art & Wine Gallery and the Artists' Workshop Gallery. The newly opened Off the Wall Art & Wine Gallery features a unique mix of art, home furnishings and decor, along with a wine bar. Popular for complimentary wine tastings, live music and special events, they welcome visitors with dedicated hours seven days a week. Opened in 1980, Artists' Workshop Gallery members participate in monthly exhibits and some paint on location with Plein Air Florida.

Keep heading east and you will arrive at bustling Flagler Avenue, home to multiple art galleries and workshops. Enjoy stops at the Fernandez Photography & Arts Gallery where Gabriel Fernandez's desire to explore the world comes alive in photographs, paintings, and an eco-friendly jewelry line. Jonah's Cat's Art Gallery showcases artist Samuel Ruder's paintings. Joy Badders' Jewelry of Joy Studio & Gallery featues gems and precious metals in unique jewelry designs. A New Smyrna Beach staple since 1987, Palms Up Pottery features stoneware creations reminiscent of the area's beach, ocean and sky. Featuring local handmade crafts, coastal home decor and gift items, the Ring Gallery is most known for owner Mike Ring's award-winning coastal fine art photography. And TaDa Gallery & Gift Shop features the work of over 50 local artists offering an array of paintings, pottery, jewelry and more.

Heading south on beachside to Third Avenue, you will find the Little Theatre, a charming live theater just blocks from the beach. Operating a full season schedule, Central Florida talent is on display year-round with performances this year including "Evita," "Moon Over Buffalo" and "Once Upon a Mattress," among many others. Just across Third Avenue is the Bob Ross Arts Workshop & Gallery that not only hosts a large collection of Ross' original oil paintings made famous through PBS, but offers classes in his unique style from a certified teacher / trainer.

Heading back to the mainland and located along north U.S.1, Studio Bleu stands out as a hands-on arts venue. They offer individual and group classes for adults and children, along with "open" studio time for practicing artists. Their featured workshop is a 2.5-hour hand-building pottery class called "Dirty Night." 

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