Submitted by Evelyn C. McDonald
Arts & Culture Reporter
December 23, 2015 1:00 a.m.
This is the time of year when we reflect on where we’ve been and what we’ve been doing for the past 11 months. Work slows down and there’s more of a relaxed atmosphere in organizations. So in the spirit of reflection, I want to thank the Fernandina Observer for the opportunity to share my interests and experiences with readers. And I would like to thank those readers for their kind comments on my columns.
Doing the column has been fun and has certainly motivated me to get off my posterior and go experience some of the pleasures Fernandina Beach and the surrounding area have to offer. Over the past 7 months, I’ve gone to plays, visited art galleries, attended book signings, visited an animatronics studio, and so many other things. I have learned new things and met a lot of great people. The biggest surprise for me has been the variety and the amount of things to do in this town. I haven’t been stumped as to what to write about next. I have had some suggestions from readers who wanted to share their interests. And it hasn’t all been arts and culture experiences. I have done pieces on Central Park, Christmas light displays, lifelong education, and such.
My impression is that the people who create for us – artists, actors, writers, lecturers, want to share their passions. Thank goodness they do. It makes our town a great place to live. As I began these columns, I shared a quotation from Tery Fugate-Wilcox that said, “Without Art we are but monkeys with car keys.” The opportunities to experience arts and culture are there so we can go out and enjoy them.
An added bonus from my experiences this year is that there has not been a tremendous cost associated with it. So much of what’s available on the island is free or very reasonable. Yes, you have to pay to see a play but the cost is probably less than popcorn at the multiplex cinema theaters. Seriously, when did snacks come to cost more than the movie?
In case you harbor any doubts about how lucky we are to live on our island, you might consider a ritual I have tried to do each year. On December 31, I like to go down to the ocean and just sit awhile. Sometimes the day has been lovely and warm; other times I’ve been sandblasted. Either way, it’s beautiful.
So dear readers, best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a peaceful and prosperous 2016.
Evelyn McDonald moved to Fernandina Beach from the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. in 2006. She is a chair of Arts & Culture Nassau, a city commission charged with support of the arts in Nassau County. She serves on FSCJ’s Curriculum Committee for the Center for Lifelong Learning. She is also the chair of the Dean’s Council for the Carpenter Library at the UNF. Ms. McDonald has MS in Technology Management from the University of Maryland’s University College and a BA in Spanish from the University of Michigan.