VERO BEACH ― Visitors to Indian River County who pass through Vero Beach Regional Airport now have an opportunity to view and buy locally-produced art. Thanks to a new collaboration between the Cultural Council of Indian River County and the airport, about 20 paintings have been displayed in the passenger waiting room.
The primary motivation for the installation is an ongoing emphasis on promoting cultural tourism in the county.
“Last October we received grant money from the Tourist Development Council to do a marketing program in the cities from which we get the most tourists coming,” said Cultural Council Executive Director Barbara Hoffman. “So we created some videos promoting how strong the arts are in Indian River County. We produced five videos, and we’ve been running them on social media in markets where we have a fairly high traffic of visitors.”
“The social media videos are doing amazing at attracting people,” said Ms. Hoffman. “Some of the videos say ‘one stop to paradise’ so we wanted to work with the airport on making it more attractive to visitors who fly in. So we worked on the passenger lounge.”
The selection committee for the show included Airport Director Eric Menger, William Howard, who also works at the airport, Mark Wygonik, Peter Polk, and Steve Erickson.
Mr. Menger said he was pleased with the excellent quality of the art selected. He said there would be plenty of passengers to view the art, with the airport now serving nearly 20,000 flying passengers each year.
Some of the artists with displayed paintings for sale are Merana Cadorette, Richard Ramirez, Cindy Miller, Janet Grossarth, Catherine White, Mary Lou Mullan, Deborah Kavanaugh, Eileen A. Lovre, Silvia Forrest, and Owen McGoldrick.
The art will be on display until the end of June. All but one piece is for sale. Those interested in purchasing any of the paintings should see the receptionist in the airport administration office, or contact the Cultural Council directly.
The installation is part of the Cultural Council’s Arts in Public Places program.
“Our community has been putting art in public places for years, in the County Administration buildings, in the Indian River Courthouse,” said Ms. Hoffman. “For years we have been filling those walls with beautiful art. So now we’re expanding that to the airport. We will also soon be installing a large display at the IG Center.”
“This program is a way to provide our artists with places to display their work, so it’s very helpful to them. It is all about promoting local artists and cultural tourism. We want people who visit our community to see the vast amount of cultural arts we have in our community. In the display area at the airport, we’ve got our Cultural Arts Guides, so we use the airport installation to promote all the cultural arts.”
The hope is that art-loving travelers will pick up one of the Cultural Arts Guides after viewing the paintings, and use those to explore all of the other arts available throughout Indian River County.