Pensacola, Florida
Sunday September 21st 2014

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Get Fired Up for the Holidays

By Sarah McCartan

It’s that time again. It’s time for the holidays, and time for the eagerly anticipated “Hot Glass, Cold Brew” event at First City Art Center (formerly the Belmont Arts and Cultural Center). Although Friday, Dec. 6 marks the fifth event of its kind since the center’s move to its current Guillemard St. location last November, this particular occurrence is especially designated as the holiday edition.

“The ‘Hot Glass’ events are fundraisers and are a huge part of our success,” said Executive Director Meredith Doyen. “Last year they represented almost 10 percent of our annual budget, so they are very important and very fun.”

When it comes to the fun, for starters, there’s the signature component of each recurring event—the glass cup or clay mug you get to carry with you the entire night through to fill with complimentary beverages and then take away as a keepsake at the close of the evening. It’s best to arrive on time if not early to make sure you get your hands on one of these prized vessels, made by members of the center’s guilds.

“The glass and pottery departments operate on a guild structure,” explained Doyen. “This means the guilds are committed to helping the center succeed and do so by gathering and creating art pieces we can sell in order to fund the center’s operations. Both pottery and glass guilds make cups and mugs for the event.”

Event sponsors Pensacola Bay Brewery and Escambia Bay Homebrewers, will be providing local craft brews for guests to leisurely sip, while enjoying the evening’s sights and sounds—live art demos and live music. Pizza and festive non-alcohol beverages will also be part of the festivities.

As a new addition, there will even be something for the kids. The event will include supervised children’s art activities, available to children ages four to 11, allowing attendees the option of forgoing the babysitter and simply milling about while the younger ones make something crafty to bring home. This children’s art time is a joint effort of First City Art Center and Gulf Coast Kid’s House.

“We are partnering with Gulf Coast Kid’s House to offer some kids art projects so that families will feel more encouraged to come,” said Doyen. “Families will also be introduced to the Kid’s House mission and be able to learn about child safety and abuse prevention.”

Not only is this a great opportunity for First City Art Center to include kids in the mix, it doubles as an education and outreach effort, and supports the center’s goal of building community through the arts.

Thanks to the expanded space at the new location, the center is now able to include both an art gallery and studio spaces, not to mention host a range of workshops.
“The studio spaces are leased out to local working artists at an affordable rate to enable them to pursue their art,” said Doyen. “The gallery is their space to show their work. Presently there are six studios with 13 artists.”

Some of the fruits of their labors are on display in the gallery, as a part of the current exhibit “Small Works.”

“The ‘Small Works’ show was the idea of the studio artists to encourage everyone to make smaller pieces and expand their collections. It has been a fun new show and all of the pieces are lower in price,” said Doyen.

In addition to “Hot Glass, Cold Brew,” the weekend marks the return of First City Art Center’s Holiday Fair, that will be taking place during Friday’s event as well as Saturday. The Holiday Fair includes a collection of unique glass, pottery and gallery pieces available for purchase, providing a prime opportunity to bring home items for individuals on your holiday shopping list—or even just yourself.

First City Art Center
1060 N. Guillemard St.
firstcityart.org or 429-1222

Hot Glass Cold Brew
WHEN: 5 – 9 p.m., Friday Dec. 6
COST: $20 for members; $25 non-members
DETAILS: firstcityart.org

Holiday Art Sale
WHEN: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Saturday Dec. 7
DETAILS: firstcityart.org

If you’re looking for a hands-on art opportunity and holiday fun for your younger ones, consider signing up for the parent and child clay ornament workshop taking place on Dec. 7 and 14.

Parent and Child Clay Ornament Workshop
WHAT: Children will make three ornaments and a necklace out of clay. Ornaments will be fired after first session and children will glaze during the second.
WHEN: Saturday Dec. 7 and Saturday Dec. 14; pick up Dec. 21
10 a.m. – 12 p.m., ages 5-9 (parents must be present on FCAC premises)
12:30 – 2: 30 p.m., ages 10-14
(Space is limited to 12 children per age group)
COST: $20 per child
DETAILS: firstcityart.org

If you are interested in additional ways to support First City Art Center this season, consider purchasing a membership, contributing items listed on the center’s donation wish list, or signing up to serve as a volunteer.

To learn more, visit firstcityart.org.