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Florida: State of the Arts

Florida Arts Organizations

The state of Florida is one of the most popular US locations for people who enjoy sunshine, nature, and culture. It features beautiful outdoor spaces including its famous beaches and renowned gardens, and is home to an extensive assortment of cultural attractions, from historical landmarks and national parks to performing arts venues and museums. Art lovers appreciate Florida because the state is teeming with countless art museums and galleries from the Panhandle to the Keys.

The history of art in Florida begins with the arrival in 1564 of the first European artist in the area, Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues. From the earliest explorations, art came forth from Florida: early explorers and naturalists (like the distinguished and well-known John James Audubon) provided the first artistic offerings reflecting the natural beauty of the area. St. Augustine, established as the first permanent settlement in Florida, developed into the very first center of art in Florida. As Florida was further settled, a wide variety of artists were drawn to the area; they still come in droves to mine for inspiration and create new masterpieces.

Whether you enjoy the works created by famous artistic masters or those presented by contemporary artists fresh to the scene, the variety of art in Florida offers something for you. Art lovers can visit various places across the state to admire the masterpieces of old and new fine artists, from local vicinities and international regions. Arts and culture is indispensable to supporting imagination and inspiration across Florida. A huge bonus is that it is also a critical contributor to the state economy, supporting jobs, tourism and education.

The arts are vital to economic industry in Florida. They are key when it comes to generating revenue, creating jobs, and bolstering communities across the state of Florida. According to “Arts and Economic Prosperity 5: Economic Impact of the Nonprofit Arts & Culture Industry in the State of Florida,” a 2017 report completed in partnership and presented by Americans for the Arts and Division of Cultural Affairs and Citizens for Florida Arts, Inc., Florida’s arts and cultural industry generated close to $5 billion of economic activity, including over $2 billion by nonprofit arts and culture organizations. This economic activity supports 132,000+ full-time jobs and generates over $3 billion in resident household income, while also delivering over $492 million in local and state government revenue. And this all happens as creativity is cultivated in Floridian communities, amongst residents and visitors to the state who all value the arts as a vital spark that can bring people together.

The Naples Art District boasts the largest concentration of working artists in Southwest Florida. It is home to over 70 visual artists, who maintain studios and galleries there. The Naples Art District (NAD) gives professional artists a place to share their artistic talents with each other and with the general public. NAD can be contacted any time for more information; plus, the organization has a calendar of events and classes available online for anyone who wants to explore the fine arts in greater depth with NAD member artists. The Naples Art District, located north of Pine Ridge Road and west of Airport Road, awaits your visit!


“Arts and Economic Prosperity 5: Economic Impact of the Nonprofit Arts & Culture Industry in the State of Florida”


Art in Florida: 1564-1945

Mann, Maybelle. Art in Florida: 1564-1945. Sarasota: Pineapple Press, 1999.