FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Fort Pierce is changing, literally. It’s home to the St. Lucie Cultural Alliance, an organization founded to “better position” both the arts and cultural sector as a “significant contributor” to the economic well-being of St. Lucie County. It’s also changing the cultural tourism landscape.
Veronica Kolibab hasn’t always been gluten, dairy, sugar and grain free.
”I decided I was going to heal it without medication,” Kolibab said.
Kolibab suffered from life altering digestive issues from Candida overgrowth impacted both her work and lifestyle.
”There’s bad stomach issues, brain fog, bloating, mental problems, depression, muscular skeleton problems like joint pain,” she said.
And amid COVID-19 she became a certified integrative nutrition health coach and she’s fundraising to launch her own Treasure Coast TV show and eventually locate a manufacturer.
“I really do want to get the food on the shelf,” Kolibab said. “I want people to eat with me everyday.”
Kolibab is part of St. Lucie County’s growing cultural alliance. It was just five members at the start of the pandemic and has grown to over 200.
”We represent all disciplines of art — fashion, photography, film, performing arts, music, you name it,” said Alyona Ushe, St. Lucie Cultural Alliance executive director. “We would like our county to be known for the arts. Absolutely.”
The alliance is headquartered on the evolving Orange Avenue in Fort Pierce.
”We offer a number of exhibitions. We have several gallery rooms here,” Ushe said. “We also have five other locations throughout the county where we showcase the beautiful art of our members.”
That means today artists work is more heavily on display in public spaces like the courthouse. And throughout other parts of the county.
“Art is everywhere,” Ushe said.
The alliance is giving a boost to cultural tourism and there’s an economic ripple effect.
“Fourteen percent of all the tourists in the county said they came here specifically to see cultural activities,” Ushe said.
And more grants and workshops are also in the works to support the needs of both artists and the public.
“Honestly we believe art enhances us but the artists have to eat as well,” Ushe said. “Awareness is not going to put a roof over their head. So buy local art and support your local artists.”
ZAM (or the Zen Arts Music) Festival is in the works. The alliance wants to make it an international destination and wants public input during a meeting on Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cultural Alliance Gallery or online. Learn more here.
To learn more about the St. Lucie Cultural Alliance visit here.
A GoFundMe page to support the project can be found here.