For those seeking heritage, diverse arts, and cultural tourism, the Florida Keys and Key West is a vibrant and welcoming destination. This island chain hosts year-round art walks, literary tours, classical music, film festivals, and more.
The Florida Keys has a legacy of inspiring artists and writers who use the pristine natural surroundings, colorful culture, and local character of the islands to influence their works and spark their creativity.
Every visit to the Florida Keys and Key West becomes a journey full of wonder - there’s so much to experience and you’ll be inspired to return.
For more information visit www.fla-keys.com.
Enjoy these stories on the arts of the Keys, sponsored by Florida Keys & Key West!
Florida Keys Sculpture Trail
A gift to the Florida Keys, the sculpture trail runs from Islamorada to Key West, inviting visitors to explore the storytelling of each work along the way.
See more at: https://keysarts.com/artist_connections/new_sculpture_trail_map.pdf and http://www.jamesmikhel.com/about.html
Lisa Lee Herman and Gyotaku
Artist Lisa Lee Herman owns and operates Gallery of the Arts in the Upper Keys and has spent the last couple of years perfecting the Japanese method of Gyotaku or “fish printing.” Join us as she shows us this process of capturing a moment in time from catch to dinner table.
See more at: https://www.galleryoftheartsislamorada.com/about
Butterfly Gallery in Key West
In this segment of Art Loft we cover the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Come with us as we explore this wildlife sanctuary.
Peter Arnow, Pride Historian in Key West
In this segment of Art Loft, we cover Peter Arnow, Gay Pride historian in Key West.
John Hawver, Island Landscape Painter | Art Loft 248 Segment
Meet John Hawver, an artist from the northern region of the Florida Keys, in Islamorada whose paintings depict the lush landscapes and island scenes that surround his home. Take a look.
Marine Artist Jack Kelly
Marine artist Jack Kelly finds inspiration in his daily work as a marine biologist and animal caretaker. His work with sea turtles, alligators, and crocodiles informs the detail in his paintings.
More at: https://jackkellyart.com
Elena Madden Studio in Islamorada
Artist Elena Madden captures the energy and motion of the Florida Keys, creating light from within the layers of paint. She recreates her surroundings through memory, ensuring the result is fluid and not rigid.
See more at: https://www.elenamadden.com/
Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West
The Hemingway Home and Museum invites visitors to step back in time to see how the prolific author spent his days living and writing in Key West. In a new offering, they are also giving authors a chance to find inspiration from the home to spark the creation of their own novel or work of literature.
Find more at:
Colin Goldberg in Key West
Artist, Colin Goldberg, walks us through his multi-faceted artistic process and gives us his impression of life in Key West.
South of Heaven Tattoo
At South of Heaven Tattoo the artists not only take pride in the art they leave on customer’s skin, they make sure it’s on the walls, too. Join us as we talk shop with the guys behind this notable Key Largo establishment.
Carmen S. Kelley, Key Largo Painter
This next story comes to us from the upper region of the Florida Keys, in Key Largo…here artist Carmen Kelley uses bold, vibrant colors in her paintings to bring memories and island scenes to life. We recently met up with Kelley at her studio near mile marker 103 to learn more.
Washed Up Key West
Washed Up Key West is a collective in Stock Island, dedicated to providing a space for artists to showcase their talent and crafting pieces of useable art in wood.
Find more at: https://www.washedupkeywest.com/
The Jews of Key West by Arlo Haskell
KEY WEST, FL – Cigar manufacturing in Key West is often told as a Cuban story. And while the island country did have a meaningful impact, the industry was actually started by the Jewish community in Key West. Writer and historian Arlo Haskell reveals this history and more in his latest book, The Jews of Key West: Smugglers, Cigar Makers, and Revolutionaries (1823-1969).
Ruth Gilmore Langs’ Abstract Painting in Islamorada
The world of Ruth Gilmore Langs is filled with shapes, textures and colors. She is an abstract painter in Islamorada, Florida and says it’s all about losing the trees and the ocean and trying to emote and communicate through brushstroke, color and energy. Follow her as she takes you through her “Free: The USA” series.
Astrophotography at the Winter Star Party in Big Pine Key
It’s not as easy as point, click and shoot. Astrophotographer Taimur Khan says it’s an art and shares his tricks on how to get the best images of your favorite galaxy, nebula or star. Get a glimpse of Alfred Hitchcock also known as the Orion constellation and follow Tim as he joins a group of about 600 astronomers at The Winter Star Party on Big Pine Key.
Leather Mask Making in Key Largo | Art Loft 808 Segment
Leather mask maker Caroline Guyer from Key Largo, Florida takes us behind the scenes to show us how to create animal masks. From molding the leather to creating the face, Caroline takes us step-by-step through the process. Watch out for the creepy rabbit!
Andreas Franke's Plastic Ocean in Key West
Enter the underwater world of photographer and diver Andreas Franke. You will find his artwork where our plastic problem is most acute: in the sea. Here is your chance to explore his underwater exhibition on the wreck of the USS Vandenberg off the coast of Key West, FL. Andreas says 50 percent of the art he creates, and the other half is created by the sea.
Pottery at The Art Studio in Marathon
Discover Lynn Loftus’ whimsical approach to crafting pottery. In her play-on words-world she enjoys taking clay and creating pieces like “One Night Stand” and “Cheeseburger in Pair-O-Dice”.
International Sand Art Competition in Key West
Join us as we learn how these works of art are created with just sand and water (yes, really!)
See more at: https://www.justsandandwater.com/isac
Florida Keys Brewing Company
Located in the heart of the Morada Way Arts and Cultural District, the Florida Keys Brewing Company not only offers local brews, they also offer their walls to muralists to create unforgettable works of art. See more at: https://floridakeysbrewingco.com/
Abigail White, Conch House Artist
Join us as we travel to the Key West Art Center to meet an island native named Abigail White. She's an artist who creates fanciful paintings of conch homes that re-imagine the dwellings that are a staple to island life in the Keys.
Boat from Movie "The African Queen" Restored
Art Loft Archives: We visit an iconic piece of film history docked in Key Largo. The African Queen - the boat used by Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in the namesake film - has been restored and put back in service by a Key Largo couple. Now over a century old, the African Queen is registered as a national historic site.
Florida Keys Concert Association in Marathon
Join the Florida Keys Concert Association for a classical music concert in Marathon. This concert is part of their Rising Stars series and features powerhouse pianist Tengku Irfan. For more information, please visit http://www.floridakeysconcerts.com/
Sculptor Craig Gray in the Lower Keys
We head to the Lower Keys and visit a sculptor whose work is in public spaces across the United States. To see more of his art, please visit www.crgray.com or check out his work at the Stock Island Studios on your next trip down the Florida Keys.
Lobster Trap Art in Islamorada
Since 2003, an artist couple has recycled 10,000 lobster traps, turning them into handmade frames. We head to Islamorada to meet the creators of the Lobster Trap Art Gallery. To find out more, visit: www.lobstertrapart.com
Art in the Garden at the Key West Tropical Forest & Bota
Art and nature merge at the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden. Various mediums are placed within the garden and become part of the landscape as people explore the grounds.
Old Town Literary Walking Tour in Key West
The Key West Literary Seminar presents the Old Town Literary Walking Tour. Hop on as we take you on a stroll through downtown Key West, to the houses and haunts of the great writers who have called the island town home. To find out more, visit https://www.kwls.org/tour/
Belly Dancing in Key Largo
Inspired by her ball pythons, Daisy Silveira has a new workshop she is teaching in Key Largo and around the Florida Keys. Lolo finds out what inspired her to belly dance and even learns some key moves. To find out more, visit https://floridakeysbellydance.info/
Welder Cindy Wynn in the Lower Keys
Welder Cindy Wynn has been making furniture for the last 30 years out of scrap metal. Her collection of metal weighs in at 250 thousand pounds! But it allows her to create her pieces whenever inspiration hits.
The Shanty Hounds in the Lower Keys
We interview a dynamic musical duo called The Shanty Hounds in the Lower Keys. They write and perform their own original music, that has an escapist island vibe.
Oil Painter Peter Vey in Key West
In this segment of Art Loft, we interview oil painter Peter Vey at the Gallery on Greene in Key West. His home inspires the colors and places you see in his art pieces.
Glass Blower Donald McMullen in Marathon
At The Art Studio in Marathon, we meet Donald McMullen who enjoys the infinite possibilities of glass and how the medium pushes back. He says that it is fascinating that you never physically touch the glass in the art piece you are creating.
Billy the Squid Band
Key West has a history of folk music, and Billy the Squid and the Sea Cow Drifters is keeping this legacy alive. The band combines rockabilly vocals and a country sound with the laid back vibe of the island. Take a listen.
In the Studio with Susan Sugar
Painter Susan Sugar is inspired by light, rhythm, and poetry. We explore where she draws her inspiration from in her paintings that sometimes skirt abstraction.
Jeffrey Salter's Key Dance Project
In this ambitious endeavor, Photographer Jeffrey Salter pairs dancers with the various bridges of the Florida Keys. The end result is a haunting memento of these engineering feats. For more on Salter’s work visit http://www.jefferysalter.com/.
In the Studio with Visual Artist Sandra Attales
We caught up with visual artist Sandra Attales in Studio Sesh Arts, her gallery in Islamorada. We learn about her artistic practice, her hopes for this contemporary art space, and more. See her work at: https://www.studiosesharts.com/
Studio Visit with Key West Pottery
In this colorful profile, Adam Russell and Kelly Lever - the duo behind Key West Pottery - give us a tour of their unique gallery space. They also share the story of their origins and the evolution of their artistic practice. See more at: https://www.keywestpottery.com/
Artists Collaborating on A Mosaic of the Keys
For the Fifth Annual Connections Project the Florida Keys Council of the Arts provided six inch by six inch blank canvases to 400 artists and community members. Join us as we chat with some of the artists behind this mosaic of the Florida Keys.A
Michelle Lowe Undersea Artist/Painter
We meet Islamorada artist Michelle Lowe, who with her watercolors, brings undersea life to the canvas. Her inspiration comes from long family history of life near the ocean. Take a look.
Artists Chat at the Key Largo Art Gallery
In this segment Art Loft host Jumaane N’Namdi makes a stop at the Key Largo Art Gallery to chat with artists Mary Carroll, Tere Kelley, and Megan Willoughby. Listen in as the artists discuss their latest works and what inspires their creativity.
Photographer Larry Benvenuti
We caught up with photographer Larry Benvenuti at Crane Point Hammock in Marathon. Join us as he explains how he combines his humanitarian drive with his artistic practice.
Art Garden Blooms in Key West
We visit the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, where we find out about the annual Art Garden exhibit.
Grimal Grove in Big Pine Key
Jumaane N’Namdi makes a stop at Grimal Grove, a tropical garden in Big Pine Key. Listen in as he chats with Patrick Garvey about the history and happenings taking place in this small slice of paradise.
Redbone Gallery in Islamorada
In Islamorada, the Redbone Gallery is providing locals and visitors with an outlet for “art with a heart.” Born from a mission to raise funds for cystic fibrosis research, this gallery showcases eclectic work from all mediums.
The Art Guild of The Purple Isles
In this segment we’re introduced to the Art Guild of the Purple Isles, an arts organization based in the Florida Keys. We discuss their community outreach projects as well as their 50th Annual Member's Judged Show. purpleislesartguild.com.
Florida Keys Watercolor Society
Check out the 35th annual judged exhibition of works from the Florida Keys Watercolor Society at the Marathon Community Theatre. Chat with artist Julie Joyce about the origins of this notable group.
Paradise Paint Out Gala
Join us as we attend the Paradise Paint Out Gala, held in the Florida Keys. With host artist Kathleen Denis, we take in works created during the second run of the Islamorada Paradise Paint Out. For more information, visit pleinairpaintout.org.
The Florida Keys Community Concert Band
Join us as we visit Islamorada’s Founder’s Park for a concert that promises to take us “around the world in 60 minutes.” And the Florida Keys Community Concert Band has your passport! For more information, visit keyscommunityconcertband.org.
Truman Little White House
In Key West you can find sun, fun, and political satire courtesy of the Harry S. Truman Little White House. This historic landmark recently hosted an exhibition of political cartoons, mostly featuring president Truman himself.
34th Annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration
The Conch Republic Independence Celebration is an annual festival commemorating Key West’s brief secession from the United States. For over 30 years Key West has hosted this fun-filled springtime celebration. Join us as we take to the streets of Key West for this colorful gathering of folks from near and far.
Roadside Attractions at the Florida Keys History and Discove
At the Florida Keys History and Discovery Center, you can visit their latest exhibition, 'Roadside Attractions,' where you can discover new and unheard of destinations along the overseas highway.
Key Largo Art Gallery
The Key Largo Art Gallery is “the first gallery” you encounter when visiting the Florida Keys. And what awaits is a friendly space, full of vibrant art and multimedia wonders. For more on the Gallery visit http://keylargoartgallery.com/.
Custom House Museum - Roberta Marks
The Key West Art & Historical Society hosted a retrospective exhibition on the celebrated local multimedia artist, Roberta Marks. Join us as the curator, Cori Convertito, tours us through this remarkable show and illuminates the fascinating career of Roberta Marks. For more on the Key West Art & Historical Society visit http://www.kwahs.org/.
Hand-Painted Glass in Stock Island
STOCK ISLAND, FL – Fused and stained glass artist Debbie Baudin uses a hand-painted technique that involves multiple firings and is very time-consuming.
“If you mess up one little thing, you have to start all over again because it's permanent. You can't just wipe it away like you can on canvas,” explains Baudin.
Underwater Photography with Stephen Frink
KEY LARGO, FL - For those who can’t travel the depths of the ocean, photographer Stephen Frink is the conduit. But do the same rules of photography apply on the ocean floor? In his home waters of Key Largo, this artist shows us that "nose to fin" is a good starting point.
"For marine life photography, I think proximity is one of the most important things. And I think you have to be able to project
Coconut's Ukulele Orchestra
Close your eyes and paint a portrait of a tropical paradise like the Florida Keys. There’s key lime pie, a hammock between two palm trees, sunshine on the water. What’s the perfect soundtrack to this scene? A ukulele jam, of course! We recently visited Coconut’s Package & Lounge in Big Pine Key to delight in the cheerful sounds of this uniquely tropical instrument performed by the Coconut’s Uk
National Key Deer Refuge
When you think of the Florida Keys images of diverse marine life probably come to mind. However you might be surprised to hear about a special land-loving creature: the Key Deer, a small subspecies of the North American white-tailed deer. For nearly 60 years the National Key Deer Refuge has strived to protect this beloved yet endangered icon of the Florida Keys. Join us as we learn more about this
Street Art at oTHErside Adventure Park
MARATHON, FL - At a water sports park in the Florida Keys, tourists are also able to take home a subtle message - human effects on the environment. Owner and operator Matt Sexton works with tropical street artist Dave Lavernia to curate and commission murals for his oTHErside Adventure Park. The park has become a haven for muralists, many from Wynwood in Miami.
Pigeon Key Art Festival
Join us as we visit the Pigeon Key Art Festival at Marathon Community Park. For over 20 years, artists from both the Florida Keys and around the country have gathered alongside neighborhood entertainers and food vendors to enjoy this weekend festival. For more info visit pigeonkeyartfestival.com.
The Art of Seth at Portside Gallery
ISLAMORADA, FL - Artist Seth Pitt captures feelings we've all had, but may not have ever been able to articulate. "I've seen people crying here, not once, not twice, but many times. Something about his words really strikes a chord with people," says Valerie Perreault, artist and owner of Portside Gallery in Islamorada.