PONTE VEDRA BEACH – The Cultural Center has canceled Fall exhibits and reduced class sizes for the rest of 2020 until further notice, due to COVID-19. The Center has an opportunity to sell the building since the current overhead will not be needed. We have taken programs to the community. Sound Connections® Music Therapy is now taught at six elementary schools including two Title 1 schools in the south of the county thanks to a grant provided by The Delores Barr Weaver Fund, Community Foundation of Northeast Florida. We have also been approved to teach art classes after school in the north portion of the county,” said Donna Guzzo President and Executive Director.
The timing, CCPVB Chairman of the Board Matt Nelson explained, is related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to the likelihood that the sale would not be completed until 2021. Like many nonprofit organizations locally and nationwide, the prolonged pandemic-induced lockdown has challenged all of us.
“After several months of being closed due to COVID-19, the building’s sale will offset lost revenue and provide the cash flow needed to sustain regular operations until a new building is available,” Nelson said.
Guzzo said that while the Center opened to the public on July 6, participation in camps, classes and exhibits have seen a decline for in person classes. One week after we reopened, COVID numbers spiked up. We have been able to shift most of the activities offsite during the nearly four months it was closed.
“Staff have learned to work efficiently from home,” she said. “Some classes were conducted online. The artistic creations traditionally sold in the Center’s Market are being sold online.”
It is unlikely the sale would be completed before 2021. In the months it will take to negotiate and close a sale, Guzzo said, Cultural Center events will proceed as planned, COVID-19 precautions permitting:
The Loving Beethoven exhibit continues through Sept. 25 by appointment only
Summer camps continue with limited amount of campers
The Home Tour offsite on Saturday, Sept. 12 with a morning session and afternoon session
The popular Holiday Shoppes at the Center will have most vendors outdoors, and admission times will be required.
Once the building at 50 Executive Drive is sold, the Center’s many classes will be conducted at new, temporary facilities in St. Johns County until a new building is available.
The Center’s board of directors voted in December to continue collaborative efforts with the County to evaluate and design an arts campus. One of potential sites explored is the parcel located next to the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. These exploratory dialogues are centered round the key objectives of preserving, and or potentially expanding the existing athletic fields, as well as right-sizing the future facility with ample parking that would offer expanded programs and host larger exhibits in partnership with the County.
A feasibility study showed that 91 percent of survey respondents said the Cultural Center was a vital community asset, and encouraged expansion of services.