Awards season may be over, but we’ve still got our own crop of statues to hand out to a few of the outstanding arts and culture institutions in and around Opal. From museums in Florida to Maine’s iconic Farnsworth Museum, we’ve nominated the best of the best. Read on for our winners – no red carpet required.
The Vacationland Lifetime Achievement Award: Farnsworth Art Museum [Rockland, ME]
From the works of three generations of famed Wyeth family artists (including Andrew Wyeth, painter of the famed Christina’s World, which depicted the Olsen farm in Cushing, Maine) to the nation’s largest collection of works by sculptor Louise Nevelson, the Farnsworth Art Museum defies any stereotypes of Downeast Maine by showcasing the work of some of America’s own native-born art superheroes. Throughout the 20,000 square feet of gallery space within the buildings that make up the museum complex, the Farnsworth features some 15,000 works, with a focus on celebrating Maine’s role in American art.
Where to Stay Samoset Resort
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Fort Ticonderoga [Lake George, NY]
When it comes to the land where America’s battles for freedom and independence have been waged, Fort Ticonderoga is in the running to be the spot that has seen the most action. From the French and Indian War to a back-and-forth battle between the French and the British to the final battle waged during the American Revolution, Fort Ticonderoga has been center stage in all of them. Visitors these days will see more wildlife and peaceful contemplation and less cannons blasting on the fort’s nearly 2,000 acres, but the fascination with the place that helped shape the nations of North America stands as strong as the stone walls.
Where to Stay The Sagamore Resort
Best All-in-One Cultural Powerhouse: Old School Square [Highland Beach, FL]
For those who like a lot of bang for their buck, a visit to Old School Square in downtown Delray Beach offers more arts and culture than even the most ambitious traveler could pack into one day. The campus, which is made up of the 1913 Delray Elementary and 1925 Delray High School buildings that were saved from demolition by a group of concerned citizens, is now home to an award-winning nationally recognized arts center that includes the Cornell Art Museum, a state-of-the-art outdoor performance venue and the 323-seat Crest Theatre, The Fieldhouse, and the Creative Arts School.
Best Documentary Feature: Flagler Museum [Jupiter, FL]
Built in 1902 by industrialist and founder of Standard Oil Henry Flagler, the 75-room, 100,000-square-foot Gilded Age mansion named Whitehall was built for Flagler’s wife, Mary Lily Kenan Flagler. From the start, Whitehall set the standard for wealthy Palm Beach entertaining. By 1959, the estate was on the verge of being demolished but was saved by Flagler’s granddaughter, who renovated the property into the Flagler Museum, which is open to the public and features world-class exhibits that highlight art and issues of the Gilded Age, as well as artifacts from Flagler’s life and times.
Where to Stay Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa
Best Alternative Group Performance: The Village of the Arts [Longboat Key, FL]
An “eclectic live-work community” with hallmark historic cottages painted strikingly bright colors, the Village of the Arts is home to award-winning restaurants, bakeries, specialty shops, art studios, and Bradenton’s best art galleries. A stroll through the fanciful streets offers the chance to sort through classic records, examine handmade quilts, watch a master knife sharpener, or even take a yoga class. For those who attend the popular art walks held the first Friday night and Saturday afternoon of each month, live music, delicious food, and indie arts and crafts are waiting.
Best Original Screenplay: Tropics Cinema [Key West, FL]
The key ingredients in a successful cinema night in Key West are as follows: a diverse selection of independent and classic films, a quirky selection of candy curated by the famed Zabar’s in New York City, a fine glass of wine or pint of your choice, gourmet snacks, and, per The Miami Herald, “the best popcorn around.” What started as a two-screen nonprofit theater has now blossomed into a state-of-the-art four-screen multiplex with an art gallery, gourmet concessions, and lounge.
Where to Stay Sunset Key Cottages
Best Museum in Florida, Inside and Out: The Dali Museum [St. Petersburg, FL]
Salvador Dalì’s priceless works of art are striking and incomparable. So, it’s fitting that a museum designed to house a permanent collection of 2,000 of the artist’s works is as arresting and eccentric as the works within. The inventive, mind-bending Dalì Museum in St. Petersburg greets visitors at the entrance with a fountain of youth and a lush grotto before leading through that free-form geodesic glass bubble known as “The Enigma,” a helical staircase (a nod to Dalì’s obsession with spirals), a Mathematical Garden that includes a labyrinth, and an entire floor filled with some of Dalì’s seminal works.