The arts are alive and well in St. Lucie. Home to artists of all stripes – from sculptors to painters, fiber artists to potters, writers and jewelry designers, visitors will be inspired with the array of talent in a colorful, small town atmosphere. And, there’s some interesting history mixed in with it, too.
Famous and beloved African-American author Zora Neale Hurston lived, wrote, and taught school in Fort Pierce from 1957 to 1960. She wrote four books – possibly the most well-known is Their Eyes Were Watching God. But
that was not all – she also wrote plays, and short stories. Go on the self-guided the Zora Neale Hurston Dust Tracks Heritage Trail which begins at the Zora library and includes three information kiosks and eight trail markers at places that were significant in her life.
The Florida Highwaymen are a group of African-American artists who made a living by selling their paintings from their cars in the 1950s. All 26 are members of the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. Take yourself along the Highwaymen Heritage Trail, starting at the Seven Gables House in downtown Fort Pierce.
Also in downtown Fort Pierce, visitors won’t want to miss the newly expanded A. E. Backus Museum and Gallery displaying the largest collection of A.E. Backus paintings, the artist known as “the dean of Florida landscapes.” The gallery also features changing exhibitions. And don’t miss the Underground Art Market in the old downtown area, too – it features works from budding and seasoned artists with studios and an art gallery.
Lovers of the performing arts should head to the restored 1923 Sunrise Theatre, now on the National Register of Historic Places and home to performances through April.
The St. Lucie County Regional History Center on Seaway Drive on South Hutchinson Island is a fascinating place inside and out with replica rooms, old tools, and even a separate house, the Gardner House, fully furnished in early 1900s style.
One of the newest initiatives going on in Downtown Fort Pierce is the establishment of the Peacock Arts District. The City as well as the community are working to revitalize this once significant part of town in an area (often frequented by peacocks) that had been left abandoned for many years. With the help of local artists, the refreshment of brick pavers and more, this area is beginning to thrive.