The Arts and Amavida

by | Jul 18, 2022 | Art, Cafes, Community, Local

When you walk through Amavida’s cafe doors, you are first wrapped in an aroma of creatively crafted coffee. Then, you’ll notice walls decorated with various pieces of art. From Picasso to Bob Dylan, coffee shops hold an environment that draws in artists from all different backgrounds to develop their work. Amavida takes that idea to the next level. By reserving space in their cafes where local artists display their works, they provide a home to an inspiring cultural experience for everyone who enters. Along with this, they are creating in-kind ways to give back to the community and the world. 

History of Art in Seaside 

On your way to Amavida’s cafe in Seaside, Florida, it’s impossible to miss the large mural painted on 25 Central Square (the side of the building we’re located in). Painted by a street artist named Gaia, the mural captures the portrait of a man named Vincent Scully. After receiving his bachelors and masters degree at Yale University, Scully decided to become a professor of architecture at the same school he attended. His lectures were profound and inspiring to his bright and young students, of which many would go on to achieve great fame. Three of these students – Andres Duany, Elizabether Plater-Zyberk, and Robert A.M. Stern – were so impacted by Scully’s principle-based architecture, they went on to help shape Seaside New Urbanism.

Just like Scully’s lectures, the ideals New Urbanism are founded on draws in people from around the world. As the economic segment began to grow, so did the local art scene, and Amavida Coffee began their cultural arts programming. 

Anne Hunter Galleries and Amavida

It’s impossible to dive into Amavida’s hand in the cultural arts scene without looking at their relationship with Anne Hunter Galleries. In 2004, Hunter was opening her own cafe in Alys Beach called Fonville Press. Anne knew nothing about coffee, and so Dan Bailey approached her and offered to send her to coffee college. 

After her education, Hunter declared, “We have to sell great coffee here – I tested all over the country different coffee beans and decided Dan and Sally’s Amavida Malabar Gold was the best espresso in the country.” -Anne Hunter

Since then, their relationship grew stronger as the Bailey’s aided Hunter’s resources, equipment, and everything coffee. Hunter has since gone on to become a gallerist, but her and the Bailey’s relationship stayed strong. They reached out to Anne to be the curator of their arts programming for their cafes. Today, Anne Hunter Galleries honors local artists by collaborating Amavida to provide cafe space to display works for coffee goers. 

The Artists on Exhibit at the Cafes 

Visit each of our cafes to experience local art. Here are  some of the artists you might see.

Allison Wickey 

Allison Wickey started experimenting with abstract mediums when she first moved to South Walton with her family in 2007. She intended on capturing the beautiful geography of coastal lakes, beaches, and sea life to create unique and powerful pieces of art. You can find her art displayed in Amavida’s Seaside and Rosemary cafes, and more information on her website.

Painting of a lake next to the ocean with sand dunes and tall trees.

Painting by Allison Wickey titled ‘Palace’

Kirsten Koza Reed

Kirsten Koza Reed is an artist from Spring Hill, TN, who values God, family, travel, and nature. Her artwork is surrounded by the idea of “rebirth” by using discarded resources as material to transform into colorful and magical artworks to evoke uplifting and positive emotions. You can find her artwork on the walls within our Rosemary cafe and more information on her website.

Bailey Miller 

For her entire life, Bailey Miller has had a paintbrush in her hand. After studying at Savannah College of Art and Design and the Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara California, she has gone onto having her work displayed on murals, private shows, and small galleries. Her works of prolific cultural figures are displayed within the cafe in Seaside, and on her website.

Coffee Shop with people sitting at tables. The image is focused on a wall with paintings all down it.

Michael English 

4 years ago, Michael English retired after spending 23 years in the US air force. Now, Michael English is a 47 year old stay at home dad and a senior at University of West Florida in computer science. One of his biggest inspirations is his University of North West Florida professor, Ms. Jan Faubel, who encouraged him to get into the arts. He described his work as a faux stained glass, which is all hand drawn and uses wood and proxy resign as a medium to portray nature, and specifically the sun – a motif of our life source that drives humankind. You can find his artwork within our Perla cafe or on his Facebook page.

Woodie Long 

Channeling glimpses into his whimsical and colorful childhood, Woodie Long shares with the world his eye for the simple joys of life. While originally a house painter, Woodie Long transferred his paintbrush over to a canvas to express his unique and bubbly perspective of the world. You can find his work on the walls of our Perla Cafe, or on his website.

Folk art featuring bright colors and people on bicyclesFolk Art by Woodie Long titled ‘Bicycles’

Artistic Philanthropy and Amavida 

Amavida’s support for the arts reaches even beyond their walls. The symbolic value of art pieces gives them a beautiful way to give back.

Bethel Village Silent Auction 

Amavida and Anne Hunter Galleries also provided for Bethel Village in Panama City – a rehabilitation program for women overcoming abuse. Together they held an arts event and silent auction. The main focus was to heal by creating self portraits for a silent auction where the proceeds go towards the women in need. 

Wall of Courage Art Installation 

In 2017, Amavida helped support the Wall of Courage Art Installation hosted by Anne Hunter Galleries and Seaside Institute. In collaboration with those in Tanzania and the Congo, the artist Heather Haynes was able to create, “The 480-square-foot exhibit depicts 80 orphaned children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country where wars have raged for more than 20 years with the death toll approaching 6 million.” Over a 20-plus philanthropic and creative endeavor, Haynes uses her artistic ability to bring awareness and donations to One NDOTO Inc.

Nicole Paloma’s #Love_Sewn

In 2015, Amavida Coffee in Rosemary Beach hosted Perfection if a Moving Target exhibition, featuring art by Bailey Miller where 100% the proceeds goes to Nicole Paloma’s #Love_Sewn. Paloma’s goal is to, “manufacture authentic hand-sewn apparel that inspires their customers to be themselves, to give hope to [its] employees by providing a platform for personal growth and sustainability both for homeless women and women recovering from addiction.” 

The Art Shows

In collaboration with Anne Hunter Galleries, Amavida is able to hold art shows nearly every month with goals of supporting artists, fundraising for causes, and charitable giving. 

A common art show goes like this: there’s a featured artist, a date, and time that calls for everyone in the area to attend an exhibit of an artist’s work within 25 Central Square. Amavida supplies the space, plus food and beverage services for the show. The goal is to connect people within the community who have an appreciation of art, and provide the artist exposure to enjoy and sell their work. Hunter sees a vision for the future shows with Amavida for art that goes beyond canvas works. She would like to expand into other mediums such as filmmaking, poetry, musical artists, and many more.

The Vision  

Displaying and selling the works of local artists in the area achieves Amavida’s aims of bringing the community together. These pieces are the heart of their community and people in them. Their meaning and emotional impact is what makes this place so beautiful. Amavida has a deep respect and appreciation for each individual composition on our walls and the artists behind them. We look forward to pursuing future projects in order to contribute to our community and create a rippling positive impact through the world of art.

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