The legacy of “Old Florida” lives on in Martin County, where arts and culture embody the quintessential, beachy beauty of classic Florida. Dance, music, theatre, visual arts, and historical preservation are an integral part of the community, with plenty of opportunities to experience it firsthand each and every week.
From self-guided art tours to impressive collections, Martin County boasts one of South Florida’s most exciting creative communities. Check out these public art trails (which make it easy to appreciate the beauty of Martin County) and don’t forget to sign up for our new Martin County Arts & Culture Trail – it’s completely free and you can even score special deals and discounts at our most popular attractions!
Follow Martin County’s Art in Public Places Tour
Martin County is best known for our pristine, uncrowded beaches, but we also have a creative side marked by gorgeous artwork, dazzling sculptures, and impressive mural pieces. In 1997, Martin County established a public art program that included ongoing funding for new artworks for public appreciation. In 2017, the Martin County Board of County Commissioners appointed the Community Redevelopment Agency Board members as the Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC). As of September 2018, sixteen sculptures, mobiles, stained glass windows, murals, mosaics, benches and photographs are now on display. To see some of the pieces with your own eyes, you can follow the Art in Public Places hotspots that are scattered throughout our vibrant communities. Let your imagination run wild as you drive from place to place taking in these glorious masterpieces. Some of the stops along the way include the Sea Life Murals of Sailfish Splash Waterpark in Stuart; the Poet Sculpture at the Hoke Library in Jensen Beach; and the Avian Muse Mobile on display at the Morgade Library in Port Salerno.
Explore the Fish House Art Center & Galleries
The Fish House Art Center & Gallery is located on the waterfront of Manatee Pocket in the Village of Port Salerno, Florida, just five miles south of downtown Stuart. The Fish House Gallery is two stories with 3,000 sq. ft. of American Fine Art and Fine Crafts. The center is home to five resident artists’ studios that include a ceramicist, two fine art painters, a fiber artist who creates hand dyed wearable art, a weaving studio, and a lampwork beaded jewelry artist. The resident artists work in their studios year-round. The public is welcome to watch them work and purchase their creations. Visitors can also take classes with some of the featured artists. Come for a class then dine at one of the five restaurants all within easy walking distance of studios.
Try to Find All of the Hobe Sound Murals
Hobe Sound is more than just a beautiful South Florida beach town. It’s a tight-knit community full of creativity and local culture. There is no better proof of Hobe Sound’s artistic flair than the stunning murals found scattered throughout the city. The goal of the Hobe Sound Murals Project is to beautify specific locations, enhance civic pride, encourage positive networking, and plant seeds for future cultural accomplishments. Since 2009, this “paint-the-town” initiative, (spearheaded by professional artist Nadia Utto) has provided creative opportunities for over 40 skilled regional artisans along with approximately 100 individual residents and visitors. New additions are regularly added to the ever-growing collection, but there are currently more than 25 murals. Visitors can stop by the Chamber of Commerce for a Mural Tour Map and spend the day on a self-guided tour walking, biking or driving around town trying to spot each of these lovely landmarks. Consider it a real-life scavenger hunt throughout the vibrant Hobe Sound community. For the directionally challenged, there’s also an option for participants to join a guided tour.
Pop into the Artist Cottages of Downtown Jensen Beach
Nestled in the heart of charming Downtown Jensen Beach is the Artist Colony, a tangle of vibrant, tin-roofed cottages that have been converted into artist studios. Painter Karen Leffel-Massengill can often be found working at easel, creating one of her iconic Florida-inspired landscapes. Sally Eckman Roberts also has a studio at the cottages, and her paintings of seahorses, dragonflies, herbs, and fruit have been transformed into all sort of home décor items, including rugs and pillows. She can often be found working in the studio and is happy to talk with visitors about her work. Watercolorist Barbara Lapham can also be found in the village. It’s a whimsical pocket worth checking out.
Stop by the Court House Cultural Center
The mission of the Court House Cultural Center is to celebrate and share the arts with the Martin County community. In keeping with this goal, their galleries play host to local, regional, and internationally renowned artists with an ever-changing array of enticing exhibits (so there’s always something new to see). The gallery offers guided tours by appointment as well as a range of virtual events. The Cultural Center is also a fine art gallery that features paintings and artwork for sale.
Check Out a Socially-Distanced Art Festival
Martin County hosts a range of arts-themed events and festivals throughout the year, from the award-winning ArtsFest organized by the Arts Foundation of Martin County to the weekly Jammin’ Jensen event in downtown Jensen Beach every Thursday night (teeming with local artists’ displays, music, vendors, family entertainment, and more). The Discover Martin Events page highlights all of the upcoming happenings to keep visitors in the know.