Since its inception, Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA) has been a research and development lab for artists and a leader in arts programs for the community. ACA outreach programs in the community focus on collaboration between arts and wellness, environment, education, and accessibility. The intersection of these disciplines reveal innovative approaches to community resilience and creates greater value for the arts in society. ACA staff and artists provide creative opportunities that cultivate local community engagement in the Southeast Volusia County area, bringing together a diversity of citizens, businesses and community leaders. Through existing relationships and decades of community outreach, service, advocacy, and partnerships, ACA has a reputation of serving as a connector in designing programs that create lasting impact. Many of these programs reach a global audience by sharing videos and live streams of artist workshops, interviews, lectures, and performances on the ACA YouTube Channel, Facebook page, and Instagram account.
Arts & Wellness
Atlantic Center for the Arts is driven by a mission that focuses on multidisciplinary artistic collaboration and mentorship. Since 2015, ACA Arts & Wellness ambassadors have developed a shared culture and experiential method that connects the arts to community health. ACA staff and artists organize inter-generational workshops for adults, elders, veterans, families, and youth who wish to learn creative skills together, and improve expressive techniques. These programs improve mental and physical health, offer creative solutions to overcome age and disability discrimination, prevent loneliness and isolation, and support healthy living from a holistic perspective. In the area of professional development, we invite teaching artists, arts programmers and healthcare professionals to learn these techniques and best practices in a unique immersive Academy Retreat held at the beautiful artist complex of ACA. View the Calendar of Events to learn about these programs.
Long before the establishment of Atlantic Center for the Arts, founder Doris Leeper advocated for conservation of the pristine natural Atlantic coast habitat. Her legacy steers a strong commitment by staff and artists of ACA to explore the intersection between arts and environment. ACA produces programs that engage the community with its surroundings. In partnership with Canaveral National Seashore, the ACA Soundscape Field Station is an artist residency program designed to provide a creative platform where sound artists and scientists can discover sustainable solutions and raise awareness of sound as a natural resource. It is the first of its kind in the United States dedicated to preservation of natural sound, following in the tradition of other types of successful U.S. National Park Service artist-in-residence programs located in more than 100 parks throughout the country. Click here for schedule of events and residency application.
Atlantic Center for the Arts programs nurture the work of artists at all stages of their artistic journeys, from children just beginning their artistic voyage to renowned artists working at the height of their careers. The year-round schedule of workshops, exhibitions, presentations, and performances include:
- Exceptional exhibitions throughout the year, hosted at ACA galleries New Smyrna Beach: Arts on Douglas, Harris House, and the Pabst Visitor Center & Gallery. Each exhibit includes a free opening reception and artist talk or related community engagement. These exhibitions feature Florida artists, university students, and touring artists. For over twenty-nine years, ACA has sponsored, produced, and hosted the Volusia County Select annual exhibition of exemplary youth talent from throughout the county. Open to all Volusia County art students, the exhibit sees over 400 applicants each year and has become a fixture in the local community.
- Artist lectures, readings, demonstrations and presentations by some of the world’s most distinguished authors, composers, choreographers and visual artists from the ACA Master Artist Residency Program. Approximately 30 artist presentations are scheduled each year. Artist talks occur during every residency, and in correlation with exhibitions and other special events. Visit the Calendar of Events for upcoming free lectures and presentations.
- ACA Summer Art Camp is New Smyrna Beach’s longest running summer session for children’s to have creative fun. Hosted at ACA Harris House and Yurick Community Studios, each weekly camp gives kids an opportunity to explore ideas of art and culture through hands-on experience with a variety of art forms. The ACA Young Masters online gallery features top-rated artwork made during camp, which can be shared with family and friends everywhere.
- Atlantic Center for the Arts maintains ongoing outreach programs within Volusia County Public Schools which provide enhanced educational opportunities in the arts and humanities. These programs are integrated into the students’ curriculum and therefore, are not open to the public. The long-running IMAGES Middle School Art Program, supported by the ACA Volunteer League, was created by local painter Cathy Berse and is now run by the ACA Community Artist. This monthly visiting artist program at New Smyrna Beach Middle School features local and regional artists from IMAGES: A Festival of the Arts, and includes a full day workshop into the wonderful world of art. Exploratory project themes have included plein air, felting, color theory, and the artistic styles of Keith Haring and M.C. Esher.
- From 2012 – 2015, Atlantic Center for the Arts hosted a variety of artists working in social practice, community engaged art, socially engaged art, and live art. These Community Artists In Residence worked directly with hundreds of people in our local community, including children, teenagers, adults, elders, and under-served communities. Their projects touched the lives of our community and for that we are grateful. Click here to visit the artists’ blog Click here to view the artists
- Each year, ACA Community Programs joins IMAGES: A Festival of the Arts to feature local live musical entertainment, creative children’s art projects, a student art exhibit, and local art performances to provide a culturally rich experience that communicates the ACA stamp of artistic excellence.
All programs at Atlantic Center for the Arts are ADA accessible, but staff and artists recognize the need to push further to welcome all people to find their creative potential. ACA has developed programs that provide a safe space for those with specific accessibility needs, such as tactile and audio resources for the non-visual community, visual support for the deaf and hard of hearing, and considerations in facility lighting, sound, and pace of presentation delivery. In recent years, ACA has partnered with local agencies to bring its artist ambassadors to engage veterans living with PTSD, elders navigating stages of dementia, and disabled youth seeking creative expression and mentors.