The Tennessee Williams Museum, located at 513 Truman Avenue, joins the island of Key West in celebrating its 200th Anniversary. The museum has expanded two of its historical exhibits that provide detailed material about two major gifts given by Tennessee Williams to the City of Key West.
The expanded exhibits showcase information about Williams’ writing, filming, and premiering “The Rose Tattoo” in Key West during the 1950s. Also, in 1981 Williams gifted the use of his name to the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center, now called the Tennessee Williams Theatre. These are two of the many cultural and philanthropic contributions made by the playwright during his thirty-four-year residency that helped place Key West on the cultural and literary map.
Both of the museum’s exhibits have been repositioned and enhanced to provide new information about these gifts through the use of original photos by Don Pinder, playbills signed by the playwright, artifacts and stimulating details about the development and dedication of the Tennessee Williams Theatre.
The Museum is open for self-guided tours from Thursday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30. p.m. An information sheet is available for guests that provides more in-depth details about the exhibits. For those seeking additional knowledge about the filming of “The Rose Tattoo” in Key West and the inclusion of local citizens and island locations in the film, or fascinating details about the dedication of the Tennessee Williams Theatre, Dennis Beaver, the Museum curator offers private day-time tours for four or more guests. Prior arrangements must be made by visiting the museum’s website https://www.kwahs.org/museums/tennessee-williams/visit
In June of 2021, the City Commission passed a resolution embracing Key West’s upcoming bicentennial. March 25, 2022 will mark 200 years since Lt. Commander Matthew C. Perry sailed the schooner USS Shark to Key West and planted the U.S. flag, claiming Key West and the Florida Keys as property of the United States.
For months, a committee of residents has been organizing the 200 Year Celebration of Key West and the Florida Keys as well as several other important bicentennials including the founding of the City of Key West in 1828 and the establishment of the U.S. Navy's presence in the island city in 1823 to stop piracy in the region.
The committee members plan a grand celebration in March recognizing the contributions, culture and history of Key West, including the earliest indigenous residents and settlers to the island as well as concentrating on the Key’s fishing heritage, baseball, cigar-making, and Key West’s One Human Family philosophy. Participants can look forward to a Conch picnic, a formal dinner with dignitaries, and a formal ceremony, among other activities.
As a central part of the City of Key West’s celebration, The Key West 200th Heritage Festival will be held Saturday, March 26, 2022 at the Truman Waterfront Park. From 10 am to 9 pm locals and visitors alike can celebrate the bicentennial with exhibits, stage performances, history reenactments and a variety of vendors. The evening caps off with a 15-minute silent drone fireworks show set to music.
The beautiful Truman Waterfront will be divided into zones to include areas representing our Marine, Fishing & Ecosystem, Family & Community, Commercial Interests, Entertainment, Art & Creativity, Heritage & History, Military, Special Events and Conch Cuisine & Spirits. There will be plenty of great local food and beverages available and green space to spread a picnic blanket and enjoy the park. Local businesses, events, attractions, restaurants, distilleries, community organizations, artists, musicians, performers, reenactors and vendors are invited to apply to participate. Organizers are particularly seeking displays and exhibits that represent Key West’s ongoing story.
The Mainstage, brought by AAG Live Key West and Race World Offshore, will kick off with a 10 am opening ceremony and feature live entertainment all day long. Organizers hope to share everything from favorite theater production pieces, iconic musical talent, Mallory Square performers, dancers and cheerleaders to a Junkanoo performance.
A pre-fireworks presentation and National Anthem will happen at 8:15 pm and the drone show takes place at 8:30 pm. This pet-friendly, silent and completely ecofriendly presentation is the first of its kind in Key West and will feature custom created configurations representing some of the most recognized symbols in our conch community. Reserved 10x10 tent space will be available in prime viewing space on the Mole for groups and corporate organizations to sponsor to help underwrite the program.
The Heritage Festival is free to attend. Parking is limited to one handicapped lot and one moped lot so guests should plan to take the free Duval Loop, bike or ride share to the Truman Waterfront.
Sponsorships, VIP viewing tents, and vendor space is available to support this community celebration as well as lots of free space for exhibits and displays. Contact Sean K at 305.731.3885 for more info or register at https://bit.ly/KW200
The 200th Heritage Festival is just one of several events scheduled for the bicentennial week-long celebration. The primary dedication of the time capsule will be held March 25, which is thought to be the actual bicentennial date, at Mallory Square. For more information contact 200th Anniversary Celebration chairman, Paul Menta or visit https://www.keywest200th.com/
Artist-designed baseball bats created in celebration of Key West’s 200th anniversary
[Key West, FL.] On the eve of Key West’s 200th anniversary, Play Ball!, a multi-venue exhibition, celebrates two of the ingredients in Key West’s secret sauce: our cultural roots in Cuba, and our love of baseball. A central component of the project is the creation of 200 newly commissioned, artist-designed baseball bats. The Studios of Key West is seeking artists who’d like to design a baseball bat using their favorite materials, turn it into a unique artwork, then submit it for participation.
Artists may pick up a Play Ball! bat from The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton Street, now through January 29 during regular box office hours (Tue-Sat, 10am-4pm). The Studios will accept completed bats between February 17-19, and the exhibition will be on view March 3-31.
Artists will be paid 65% of the sales proceeds from any Play Ball! bats, with the balance supporting The Studios of Key West and Old Island Restoration Foundation.
For more information about the project, please visit https://tskw.org/call-for-artists-play-ball-artists-baseball-bats/.
Play Ball! is made possible by a partnership between The Studios of Key West, Old Island Restoration Foundation, Florida Keys Council of the Arts, and Gallery on Greene
Image: Artwork by Cuban artist Reynerio Tamayo depicting Bronson Arroyo, Major League Baseball pitcher, who was born and raised in Key West.
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