The once highly popular annual event, “Saturday and Sunday in the Park with Art,” presented by the Cultural Council Inc., is a thing of the past, according to Yolly Buchmann, president of the organization.
Proceeds from the art show were used to benefit the scholarship fund established by the Cultural Council to provide tuition assistance to talented students entering Florida colleges and universities to major in art and music. There was no admission charge, but the exhibiting artists paid fees to participate.
First held in 1985 at the Deering Estate where it continued until 1992 and Hurricane Andrew, the event then moved to Fairchild Tropical Garden until 2000. It relocated to Palmetto Bay’s Coral Reef Park in 2003, where it ran successfully through 2008. In 2009 it moved to the Palmetto Bay Village Center on Old Cutler Road at SW 184th Street when, according to Buchmann, new fees and charges for the use of Coral Reef Park meant that there would be no funds left for tuition assistance.
Buchmann, now 87, laments the loss of the event, which she says no longer takes place due to a lack of public support.
“After the village threw us out of Coral Reef Park, Scott Silver was gracious enough to allow us to have the event at the Village Center for several years, but there was poor attendance at that location, behind the walls,” Buchmann said.
The open air art show once had drawn large crowds of people who could browse and purchase fine art while strolling through the lush park setting.
The Cultural Council Inc., begun in 1982, was made up of volunteer members who were dedicated to bringing cultural and artistic events to the community of South Dade. They lobbied for years for a Cultural Arts Center to be built in the area, and when it opened in Cutler Bay were the first to host a concert there.
The recent recession also was likely a contributing factor in the show’s demise, with people less willing to spend money on artwork at a time when tight family finances and unemployment were on the minds of many.