Locals call for cultural arts building in Port St. Joe

Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 10:28 AM.

In 2015, the Forgotten Coast Plein Air paint-out event will celebrate its 10th anniversary. Franklin and Gulf County trade hosting duties each year, and while Franklin is home to the Center for History, Culture and Art, Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka do not have a permanent installation.

Shoaf fears that if there’s nowhere to hold the Plein Air event, it won’t be in Gulf County at all.

For the 2013 Plein Air celebration, George Duren donated a storefront on Reid Avenue and during a week in May, the building was packed to the gills with the art, music and cultural appreciation. Now, that same structure sits dark and empty.

Lorinda Gingell works at the Gulf County Chamber of Commerce, and like Shoaf, sees the benefit of a cultural arts building in Port St. Joe.

“We need a cultural art center in order to move the community into a first-class place to live,” said Gingell. “Lots of people who moved here are retired and never got a chance to appreciate art and would love to get involved.”

Shoaf and Gingell are gauging community interest for such a building, especially from those willing to donate funds, those with experience in fundraisers or area residents who may have ideas for cultural events that would benefit both kids and adults within the community.

“There are people here who have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this stuff,” said Shoaf. “We need them to stand up and help.”

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