Pensacola, Florida
Thursday December 14th 2017

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Foo Foo Fest 2017: Art Around the Clock

By Jennie McKeon

First City Art Center (FCAC) really does make the community a more beautiful place.

And that’s just the kind of thing the art center wants to celebrate with its 24-hour Art-A-Thon.

With funding from a Foo Foo Fest grant, FCAC members Jonathan Kusnerek, Devon Murphy and Ben Twingley have been collaborating on a fountain sculpture at Long Hollow Park across the street from the center. On Monday, Nov. 6 the new sculpture will be unveiled at 6 p.m., and it is just one part of the non-stop celebration of creativity planned for the 24-hour event.

FCAC Managing Director Caitlin Rhea said the collaboration is a great way to incorporate art into the cityscape.

“The fountain hasn’t worked for several years, it was just a little patch of grass with a concrete circle,” Rhea said. “The artists had a lot of meetings to create something cohesive, but also showcase their talents and styles. It’s been really fascinating to watch.”

A project that big and exciting warranted a cause for celebration. Following FCAC’s previous Foo Foo events such as the Day of the Dead celebration and pop-up glass blowing demonstrations, Rhea said they wanted to do something that would engage the community.

The fun begins at 9 a.m. on Monday, as the community is welcomed to join in on a mural painting on the FCAC campus. Then, there’s glass blowing demonstrations, learning to throw clay on the potter’s wheel, figure drawing sessions, PechaKucha artist talks, a drag fashion show and dance party at midnight and finally, a sunrise meditation the following morning.

Open Books, which is located on the FCAC campus, will also be open the full 24 hours and are having a book sale as well as providing free coffee.

In a way, the Art-A-thon is like taking a crash course on all of the classes that are offered at FCAC.

“We are a community based art center for all ages and abilities,” said Rhea. “It’s a creative outlet for people. We have schools cutting back on their art programs…adults need an outlet after work. It’s a great place to come and try new things, have fun, experience art and share work. It’s a great sign of any thriving city.”

Since Foo Foo Fest’s inception, FCAC has been one of the benefiting cultural nonprofits. It’s a partnership that helps promote the work of the art center and the talents of Pensacola, said Rhea.

“We would not have the budget for this without the Foo Foo Fest grant,” she added. “That would have been a separate fundraiser, which can be a roadblock. Foo Foo Fest helps make the city a more vibrant place. It helps put Pensacola on the map.”

Planning and coordinating a full 24-hour event is no easy feat, but Rhea is looking forward to Art-A-Thon. The best part is seeing the reactions from folks who walk through the FCAC doors.

“Even in this visual culture we can still give people something new,” she said. “I know I’ve done my job well if we can give people an experience they’ve never had before.”