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A Good Week for Art and Ballet, Thanks to Okaloosa Public Arts

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Okaloosa Public Arts founding members. Back row, from left—Thalia Newton, Linda Carr, Anne Johnston, Fran Gertzman and Linda Kernick. Front row, from left—Dinah Remington, Bernadette Sims and Barbara Lord.

Okaloosa Public Arts (OPA) recently awarded grants of $5,000 each to the Arts and Design Society (ADSO) and the Northwest Florida Ballet, both nonprofit organizations. The presentation to these groups takes place at the Arts and Design Society’s reception for their “That Old Refrain” show Friday, March 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. The public is invited.


Bernadette Sims, president of the OPA Board of Directors, stated that selection criteria for this award were based on artistic excellence and community involvement. Both of these organizations are the oldest arts organizations in town and have contributed in many ways to Okaloosa County for years. ADSO is 62 years old, and the Northwest Florida Ballet will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in two years.


Both organizations have provided classes for children, teens and adults and have collaborated in public artistic presentations as well. The standard of art, in both performing and visual art media events, has risen to a very professional level as a direct result of the involvement of these nonprofit organizations.


The money given to the Northwest Florida Ballet will be used to support the visual art program that the NWF Ballet Academie offers to their students, through providing supplies and staff support. The ADSO grant will primarily be used to improve the teaching and display space for children’s art activities at the Art Center Gallery.


Okaloosa Public Arts is a nonprofit organization that exists to promote the arts and organize art exhibits for public buildings in Okaloosa County. They have provided art exhibits in the Okaloosa County Courthouse Extension (there is now a permanent collection there); the mural inside the lobby of that building painted by member Elia Saxer; the statue outside the building; and the Lady Justice Statue in the lobby.


In addition to the entrance hall murals in the Okaloosa County Administration Building in Shalimar, OPA has sponsored a new art show there every summer since the building opened.

– Tuny Jennings


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