Thursday, January 14, 2021

WJCT 2021 national PBS Kids writer contest

WJCT Public Media this week announced the launch of the 2021 WJCT PBS Kids Writers Contest. The organization will accept entries from January 1 through March 15, 2021. 

Starting its 27th year, the annual contest invites students in grade K-3 to submit their original writing and illustrations. The 2020 contest collected over 200 stories from Florida, Georgia, and other parts of the country as far away as California and Alaska.

The annual contest is an initiative designed to promote the advancement of children’s literacy skills through hands-on, active learning and is open to any child in grades K-3 who writes and illustrates their own story.

All writers and illustrators, who enter and meet the requirements of the contest, will have their work published online at and receive a certificate. First-, second- and third-place awards will be presented for stories from each grade level; winners will also receive a WJCT PBS Kids prize pack, the opportunity to create a video reading of their story and an invitation to share their story live at Be My Neighbor Day on Saturday, May 9. Winning stories will be eligible for the People’s Choice grand prize, a $100 savings bond.

“WJCT Public Media is proud to provide a platform for our youngest neighbors to share their unique stories through the WJCT PBS Kids Writers Contest,” said David McGowan, President and CEO of WJCT. “Through this contest, we hope to inspire students and their communities to experience the joy of creativity.”

For more information, including official rules and tools to help students create their stories, visit their website

About WJCT: WJCT is the community-owned and operated public media organization serving Jacksonville and the First Coast since 1958, using television, radio, digital media, and live events to help community members learn, share, and grow. For more information on WJCT’s in-depth programming content, log on to WJCT Online. Like WJCT on Facebook and follow WJCT on Twitter (@WJCTJax) and Instagram (@WJCTJax).

About PBS KIDS: PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, digital platforms and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby Award-winning provides engaging interactive content, including digital games and streaming video. PBS KIDS also offers mobile apps to help support young children’s learning. The PBS KIDS Video app is available on a variety of mobile devices and on platforms such as YouTube, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Android TV, Xbox One and Chromecast. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Cummer Museum safely functions during January 2021

The Museum, in partnership with The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, is curating a retrospective exhibition to celebrate the “30th Anniversary of the Art Ventures Fund”. Thirty artists have been selected to include one work — one for each year of Art Ventures grantmaking. Art Ventures is an endowed fund at The Community Foundation, launched in 1990 through a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts that was matched by generous local donors. The fund makes grants annually to individual artists and small arts organizations so recipients can explore or refine the next level of their craft, with more than $1.4 million invested since its inception.

Upcoming Events & Programs:

Culture and Conversation: The Invincible Garden Ladies, a virtual lecture with Abra Lee, renowned horticulturist and founder of Conquer the Soil and BIPOC Working Hort Group
Thursday, Jan. 14 @ 7 p.m. Free | Registration required. Sponsored by Joan and Jim Van Vleck.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Virtual and In-Person Experiences Monday, Jan. 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free | Registration required. Sponsored by The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida's Presidential Grants Program.

Virtual Lecture with guest curator, Susan Gallo, on the Museum's, Eugène-Louis Charvot, highlighting the artist's works in our collection Thursday, Jan. 21 @7 p.m. Free | Registration required.

Art Ventures Programming: In partnership with The Community Foundation of Northeast Florida, the Museum is hosting special programming with Art Ventures grant recipients on select Free Friday nights. Visitors will enjoy poetry readings, spoken word, musical performances, and more. Friday, Jan. 15 Tiffany Melanson | Mal Jones Friday, Jan. 29 Rebecca Levy | Hurley Winkler 5 to 8 p.m. | Free Admission registration required.

Hiromi Moneyhun, Bonsai, papercut. Art Ventures 30th Anniversary Exhibition Education Slow Art Wednesdays: Take a fun and mindful break Wednesday, Jan. 13 & Wednesday, Jan. 27 from 12 to 12:30 p.m. Free | Registration required.

Acrylic Painting for beginner/intermediate levels with artist Allison Watson: Six-week, in-studio classes Jan. 13, 20, 27, Feb. 3, 10, 17  from 1 to 4 p.m. Members $270, Non-Members $360, Registration required.

Basic Drawing for beginner/intermediate levels with artist William McMahan: Six-week, in-studio classes; Jan. 14, 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. Members $270, Non-Members $360. Registration required.

Family Experience: Interactive Virtual Tour: Topic: Art Ventures 30th Anniversary Exhibition, Friday, Jan. 15 @6 p.m. Free | Registration required.

Museum Friends: Play-filled activities for art lovers ages 3-5: Multi-week, virtual class for a child and favorite adult. Topic: Laugh Lines Jan. 16, 23, 30 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Members $60 per pair. Non-Members $75 per pair Registration required.

Artist Expressions: Drawing, painting and more for art lovers ages 6-12 Multi-week, virtual class. Topic: Come Take a Ride in My Time Machine, Jan. 16, 23, 30 from 10:30 a.m. to Noon. Members $75, Non-Members $90 Registration required.

Studio on the Go: Drop-in Art Making Activity: Topic: Art Ventures 30th Anniversary Sunday, Jan. 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. Free with admission.

Teachers' Virtual Lounge: Connect with Educators Tuesday, Jan. 26 @5 p.m. Free | Registration required.

Virtual School Tours: Check online for details, Sponsored by Community First Credit Union.

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
   829 Riverside Avenue
   Jacksonville, Florida 32204
   (904) 356-6857
Hours of Operation & Admission

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Alhambra hosts first musical for 2021

On January 7, 2021 the Alhambra Theatre and Dining will kick off its 53rd season with “Singin’ in the Rain”. The show was originally slated for 2020 but was cancelled due to the pandemic. Craig Smith, Managing Partner for the Alhambra, the nation’s longest-running dinner theater, made a promise to those who were planning to attend the sold-out show that their tickets would be honored when it runs – and decided to kick off the 2021 season with this very special show to fulfill that wish.

Adapted from the 1952 movie of the same name, Singin’ in the Rain offers a lighthearted depiction of Hollywood in the late 1920s, with the three stars portraying performers caught up in the transition from silent films to “talkies.” Set in Hollywood in the waning days of the silent screen era, it focuses on romantic lead Don Lockwood, his sidekick Cosmo Brown, aspiring actress Kathy Selden, and Lockwood's leading lady Lina Lamont, whose less-than-dulcet vocal tones make her an unlikely candidate for stardom in talking pictures.

The stage musical sticks largely to its namesake film version, which is often regarded as the greatest musical film ever made. It topped the AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals list and is ranked as the fifth-greatest American motion picture of all time in its updated list of the greatest American films in 2007. In 1989, Singin' in the Rain was one of the first 25 films selected by the United States Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The Alhambra will open the 2021 season with limited seating due to its policy of strictly adhering to COVID-19 protocols. “Our role in this community is to provide entertainment and a respite for our family of guests,” said Smith. He continued, “We will always put their experience first, and this is what they told us they wanted.” With Season Partners having renewed at an even faster pace than for 2020, Smith feels reassured in the decisions he and his team made. “We’re delighted to make the seating work, and even more delighted that our guests are responding with such love and support.”

On the Menu Executive Chef DeJuan Roy creates a new menu for every Alhambra show, usually borrowing influences from the script to shape his selections and recipes. The menu for “Singin' in the Rain” features:
First Course: Warm Spinach Salad, red onions, chopped egg, ripe tomatoes, croutons and warm smoked bacon vinaigrette *GF* without croutons or, Country Ham & White Bean Soup (Chef DeJuan's Family Recipe).
Second Course: Braised Pork Shanks, mushroom demi-glace, mac n' cheese, turnip greens; or Shrimp & Scallop Farro Risotto lobster broth, roasted root vegetables, herb salad *GF*;or Pappardelle Pasta chicken, Tasso ham, tomatoes, asparagus, light sherry cream and fresh herbs; or Stuffed Bell Pepper plant-based meat, wild mushroom farro risotto, asparagus, tomato basil sauce *GF*.
Dessert Course: Sweet Potato Pie with whipped cream; or Ooey Gooey Buttercake.

“Singin' in the Rain”
DATES: January 7 — February 7, 2021

TICKETS: Prices start at just $48 per person.  Ticket prices include: a plated three-course meal that changes for each show, and is served directly to your table; a Broadway-style performance and complimentary parking.  Tickets may be purchases on line by or by (904) 641-1212.
     **Prices do NOT include gratuity, professional photos, nor orders from the bar**

LOCATION: Alhambra Theater & Dining
       12000 Beach Blvd.
       Jacksonville, Florida 32246
       (904) 641-1212

WJCT offering ‘Downton Abbey’ bundle

WJCT Public Media and BritBox announced on December 26, 2020 that Jax Bundle subscribers can now enjoy access to the biggest collection of Downton Abbey content available on any platform, including all six seasons of the acclaimed British drama and more than 160 minutes of bonus material.

This expansion of programming adds value to the Jax Bundle, which launched in early December as WJCT Public Media’s newest member benefit. The bundle is a streaming package of PBS Passport and BritBox, providing WJCT supporters with access to the finest and largest collection of British programming to view anytime, anywhere and from any device through one sign-up process.

In addition to the full series, viewers can enjoy bonus behind-the-scenes specials that are exclusive to BritBox. These 10-minute vignettes provide fans with insider perspectives on topics ranging from the show’s iconic sets at Highclere Castle, to the impeccable details seen in the show’s iconic costume designs.

“WJCT Public Media had the pleasure of presenting Downton Abbey on WJCT-TV for many years. With this latest update to the Jax Bundle, we are able to share the drama and visual splendor of this magnificent show with an even broader audience,” said David McGowan, President and CEO of WJCT.

New supporters can sign up for the Jax Bundle for $14.90 per month or $149 per year.

Proceeds support WJCT’s mission of bringing people together to celebrate human diversity, experience lifelong learning and actively engage in matters of civic importance. To learn more, visit WJCT.

About WJCT: WJCT is the community-owned and operated public media organization serving Jacksonville and the First Coast since 1958, using television, radio, digital media, and live events to help community members learn, share, and grow. For more information on WJCT’s in-depth programming content, log on to WJCT Online at Like WJCT on Facebook ( and follow WJCT on Twitter (@WJCTJax) and Instagram (@WJCTJax).

About PBS Passport: PBS Passport is a member benefit that provides WJCT donors extended on-demand access to a rich library of quality public television programming online and via your mobile device. This is one of the many benefits that WJCT provides its donors along with the program guide, discounts with our partners and thank you gifts like tickets, umbrellas or tote bags, based on the level of your gift.

About BritBox: BritBox is a digital video subscription service offering the largest collection of British TV in the U.S. and Canada. Created by two British content powerhouses – BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, and ITV, the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster – the service features iconic favorites, exclusive premieres, and current series and soaps available a day after they air in the UK. BritBox also offers expert curation and playlists that enable fans to easily find programs they know and discover new favorites on web, mobile, tablet and connected TV’s.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Times Union Theatre opens 2021 with ‘Reza’

FSCJ Artist Series Broadway in Jacksonville announces its first show in a while. REZA has taken the art of illusion to a new level, delivering his rock concert style magic show to audiences across the globe. Tickets are still available!

Don’t expect rabbits out of hats! Reza's current tour, coming to Jacksonville’s Times-Union Center January 22, 2020 at 8 p.m., transports concert level lighting & production merged with the most incredible cutting-edge magic in existence today. Reza has garnered a world-wide buzz and loyal fan base with his passion for creating signature grand-scale illusions such as making motorcycles and helicopters materialize out of thin air!

Reza’s unique brand of illusion has landed him on popular reality shows across 31 countries, including recent US TV appearances on A&E’s Duck Dynasty and The CW’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us. Audiences can expect to witness such mega illusions as passing through the spinning blades of an industrial fan, a record-breaking recreation of Houdini’s most famous stunt, and the appearance of a real helicopter, live on stage.

More than a magic show, Reza infuses stage of the art production elements, masterful comedic timing, and numerous interactive & inspirational moments, allowing the audience to experience the magic first hand. Perhaps Reza’s greatest secret is his uncanny ability to communicate his performance art on such a personal level.

 Friday Jan. 22, 2021
TIME: 8 p.m.

TICKETS: can be purchased online 24/7 at

LOCATION: Times Union Center Performing Arts
Moran Theater
      300 West Water St.
      Jacksonville, FL 32202

Church celebrates first opening and makes an Impact

Impact Church celebrated the opening of the newly renovated Regency Mall Campus with a Soft Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 9501 Arlington Expressway, Jacksonville, FL 32225. The public came out in grand form to include some local celebrities: Ken Jefferson - WJXT TV4, Crime and Safety expert; Dawn Lopez - Action News JAX co-anchor; and City Councilwoman, Joyce Morgan.

In 2016 Impact Church purchased the former Belk Department store at Regency Square Mall. The newly renovated facility includes a state-of-the-art auditorium and dedicated kid and teen spaces for all ages. The new facility also has training rooms, reception space, and a café offering specialty coffee and food selections.

“To reach the finish line on this project during a global pandemic is a testament to God’s amazing love for the Arlington area and how important it is for Impact to continue to make a difference in the Greater Jacksonville area. We are humbled and extremely excited about this major milestone in Impact Church and Jacksonville history,” said George Davis, senior pastor of Impact Church.

Impact Church will hold its first worship services in the new facility on Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m. & 4 p.m. CDC recommended safety protocols will be followed to protect the safety of everyone who attends.

The public is now welcome to come and worship with Impact Church. Seating is limited so social distancing can be maintained. For further questions contact

About Impact Church: Impact Church is a non-denominational church with a heavy emphasis on solid biblical teaching and practical everyday application. Impact’s purpose is to help all people to come to Know God, Find Freedom, Discover Purpose, and Make a Difference. They offer small groups for every interest and special activities and outings for the young and the young at heart. Since its inception, Impact Church continues to experience growth by the awesome power of God. For more information, visit their website.

Monday, December 21, 2020

‘Swamp Radio’ returning to raise money for the Florida Theatre

Swamp Radio, a live radio experience celebrating all things Northeast Florida, will return for a special holiday reunion show on Tuesday, December 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Florida Theatre via live Zoom broadcast. The show’s proceeds will go toward the Florida Theatre Worker Relief Fund to help those impacted by a challenging year navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

For three years, Swamp Radio celebrated the culture, art, and history of Northeast Florida through a mixture of stories, interviews and music. The show recorded several live episodes at the Florida Theatre, a historic venue cherished by Swamp Radio creator and host Ian Mairs.

“It is important to remember the financial ecosystem affected when theaters go dark,” says Mairs. “Our stagehands, artists, and musicians depend on gigs to keep their lights on. We must help them through this rough patch.”

During the Swamp Radio Holiday Reunion, virtual audiences will enjoy stories, songs, and interviews that celebrate the holidays on the First Coast. A full cast of artist contributors are slated to perform. Best of Jax award-winning comedian Derek Coghlan will share a hilarious and moving tale of his family’s Christmas morning hijinks. Author Teri Youmans Grimm’s memories of Bing Crosby and David Bowie will promote a message of holiday unity, and St. Augustine novelist Laura Lee Smith’s cherished Christmas memories are bound to get audiences in the seasonal spirit. The fan-favorite Swamp Lady will also return with advice for getting through the holiday season.

“It’s been a challenging year for our stagehands, artists, and musicians, to say the least,” adds Numa Sasselin, President of the Florida Theatre. “We’re thrilled to have Swamp Radio returning to our stage, and we look forward to celebrating the holidays with them, Northeast Florida-style.”

Virtual tickets for the Swamp Radio Holiday Reunion are on sale now for a suggested donation of $25.00. To purchase, visit

The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre is sponsored by Community First Credit Union. For a complete list of upcoming events or to buy tickets visit the Theatre’s official website,

EVENT:                                  Swamp Radio Holiday Reunion
DATE:                                    Tuesday, December 22, 2020
TIME:                                     7:30 p.m.
TICKET PRICE:                    $25.00 suggested donation

The Museum of Science and History announces new fundraising campaign

The Museum of Science & History (MOSH) today shared details regarding a new fundraising campaign launched just in time for the holidays. MOSH Wonderful Time of the Year launched on November 27, 2020 and kicked off a season of giving with special promotions, events and donation opportunities.

Due to COVID-19, a lot of things have changed this year for cultural institutions across the world, and MOSH is not immune. Like many cultural institutions, the Museum lost revenue while it was closed to the public. This initiative will help make up for funds lost during that period, and support the Museum’s ongoing efforts to serve the community through in-person and virtual programming.

MOSH is partnering with WJXT to present the "MOSH Wonderful Time of the Year" online through a series of PSAs on the station and a special episode of River City Live. The campaign includes:

• Buy One, Gift One MOSH Memberships: New and renewing members can share the joy of lifelong learning with a friend or opt to let MOSH share it with a family in the community.

• Donation Match, Courtesy of Rebecca and Randy Johnson, Kristen and John Surface, and an Anonymous Donor: Through December 31, all donations will be matched dollar for dollar — doubling the impact of year-end giving. 

• Special MOSH episode of River City Live: WJXT’s viewers will learn all about MOSH’s history and impact on a special edition of River City Live, which will run throughout the campaign.

As a special treat this holiday season, the MOSH is offering $1 admission for children aged 3 - 12 with the purchase of a full-priced adult entry ticket through the month of December. Up to five children tickets at the discounted rate can be purchased per adult ticket.

“We are grateful for the public’s support all year long, but this time of year especially,” said Bruce Fafard, CEO of the Museum of Science & History. “Together, we all have the power to inspire the joy of lifelong learning, and with the support of the public we can help spark that joy for even more members of the First Coast community. We are thankful for the partnership of WJXT and their continued support of our mission.”

“As the local station in Jacksonville, we are always glad to partner with other entities making a difference on the First Coast,” said Bob Ellis, Vice President & General Manager of WJXT. “The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, and as we celebrate, we encourage our viewers to give back as well. We hope to help meet — and exceed — the Museum’s needs through this partnership.”

To learn more, visit

Three Non-Profits, join forces for Christmas!

It happens tomorrow - Tuesday, December 22, 2020; 10 a.m., at 215 Bethel Baptist Street, Jacksonville, FL. The Bethel Church presents the “Christmas Food Giveaway” in partnership with the Clara White Mission and Farm Share. The three non-profits will host a “Holiday Drive-Thru Food Giveaway”, three days before Christmas, to ensure 1000 families are served.

 No walk ups will be allowed.

Together, this collaboration will assist families in need and will help alleviate hunger by distributing groceries and other non-perishable items to families, children, seniors and individuals.  During this urgent time of need, the safety-net of the church and community agencies are standing in the gap, to ensure that food and resources are available just in time for Christmas.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

The Cummer Museum is ready to entertain you

Here are a few ideas to bring your family and friends to this month. Give them a call and make your reservation today. Make plans to have a Merry Christmas this year. 

Illuminating Nature | December 11, 15, 18 | 5 to 9 p.m. + Admission to the Museum and Gardens is FREE on Tuesday and Friday nights and includes this event. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Register Here. Play witness to the transformative power of light and color in the Cummer Gardens during this unique opportunity to view a familiar landscape in a whole new light!

After the sun goes down, come experience an installation of glowing fabric sculptures throughout the Cummer Gardens. Make an evening with them by dining in the Café (reservations are suggested), enjoying live music, and cozying up with a beverage from the garden bar.

Winter Art Camp (Virtual!) December 28, 29, 30 - During this online winter camp, young artists will explore the Museum to experience different perspectives and mediums across cultures, times, and locations and create their own unique artworks.
Ages 6 to 8 from 9 to 11:30 a.m.
Ages 9 to 12 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Register Here. Members | $25 per class; Non-Members | $30 per class. + Registration fee includes art kit to complete art-making activities during each class and a complimentary family admission pass.

Shop the Season Shop Online: Just in time for the Holidays! Gifts from the Cummer Shop support our mission, and we know you will find unique finds they will adore. Free ground shipping on orders over $50. Offer expires Dec. 17. Use your member discount code, Member10, at checkout and save 10% off all purchases.

Meal Delivery

Let Chef's Garden cook for you! The Cummer Café is adapting to be more socially responsible in finding ways to best serve you, their valued community. Chef’s Garden, the Café’s catering team, is taking even more precautions to ensure they are working to the highest levels of health and safety standards. Chef’s Garden’s Meal Delivery Program offers socially responsible dining options with ready to eat meals for your family dinners. Available for same-day delivery when purchased before 12 p.m.

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
829 Riverside Avenue
   Jacksonville, Florida 32204
   (904) 356-6857
Hours of Operation & Admission