See How This Martin County Vision Masters The Art of Life

September 7, 2023 | Read Time: 6 minutes

roundabout entrance to storie
painting of stuart and water at sunset

Photo Courtesy Of: Julia Kelly

There’s something about dimensional visual arts that takes the viewer into its unique Storie. Being surrounded by a sense of creativity often elevates the mind through a positive, hopeful and imaginative outlook. With its rich history of supporting the arts, it’s no wonder that Martin County celebrates public art and has created a haven for dozens of renowned artists whose work inspires residents and visitors alike. Here are a few of the “must-see” art installations and exhibitions within this treasured coastal community.

Martin County – Home to True Artisans

Whether they are inspired by the natural environment or the high quality of life, many renowned artisans call Martin County home. For over forty years, watercolor impressionist painter Julia Whorf Kelly has painted directly from nature and redesigns the ideas into large formats in her studio in Sewall’s Point. A member of two of the oldest-recognized organizations dedicated to the arts, Julia utilizes both watercolor and oils to create utopian tropical vistas that can be ten feet tall or larger.

sailfish fountain in downtown stuart at night
Photo Courtesy Of: Geoffrey Smith Art

Naturalist, sculptor, painter, and photographer Geoffrey Smith’s sculptures take center stage in Downtown Stuart. His landmark 19-foot Stuart Sailfish Monument and his public Waterbirds collection are created by a distinctive “lost-wax process.” This tedious process of creating a metal duplicate from an original sculpture is one of the oldest-known metal-forming techniques in the world, dating back to the third millennium BC. His limited-edition bronze sculptures and original fine art paintings are on display and for sale at the Geoffrey C. Smith Galleries in Downtown Stuart.

gallery image of paintings in stuart florida
Photos Courtesy Of:

Celebrating Art in Public Places

Downtown Stuart and Hobe Sound hold so many spectacular murals that Martin County is a part of the statewide Florida Mural Trail. In Hobe Sound, residents can enjoy self- or artist-guided tours of seventeen large-scale Florida scenes, including an iconic Poinciana tree in full red blooms. On Stuart Main Street, more than a dozen murals illustrate the city’s rich history and community spirit, from its pineapple farmer origins to the House of Refuge on Hutchinson Island. Community members support several “Art in Public Places Projects” as well, which are carefully planned to beautify specific locations and promote positivity, like the winsome butterfly installation planned for Downtown Storie.

performance at the lyric theatre
Photo Courtesy Of: The Lyric Theatre

Arts and Culture Venues Abound

For those who prefer to view the arts indoors, a vast array of arts and culture venues throughout Martin County provide plenty for every age to explore. Designed in the art deco style, Stuart’s Court House Cultural Center is host to fine art exhibitions created by local, regional, and internationally renowned artists. At the Fish House Art Center in Port Salerno, visitors are welcome to watch five resident artists pursue their crafts and purchase their creations. For performing arts lovers, The Lyric and Barn Theatres provide entertainment the whole family will enjoy. First built in 1926 as a silent movie house, The Lyric Theatre hosts plays, musicals, classic movie showings, and big-name talents. The Barn Theatre is Martin County’s oldest non-profit community theatre, presenting six full musicals or plays and several special events each year.

woman shopping at a booth in stuart market on main
Photo Courtesy Of: Stuart Main Street

Endless Art Festivals and Exhibitions

Along with the numerous art installations and galleries to visit around town, Martin County is also home to a dynamic schedule of arts and cultural events. Here are just a few of the upcoming art events to look out for:

January 28-29: Jensen Beach Fine Art & Craft Show

Held in Downtown Jensen, the 17th Annual Jensen Beach Fine Art & Craft Show is the official kickoff of the region’s art and craft show season. The outdoor show features over 100 fine artists and artisans, with great food from local restaurants, live music, and a friendly atmosphere.

band playing in downtown stuart
Photo Courtesy Of: The Arts Council of Martin County

February 3: First Friday Fest

On the first Friday of every month, the Creek District hosts a lively celebration of artists, entertainers, creative vendors, and culinary delights that the whole family can enjoy. The First Friday Fest welcomes guests to take a walking tour of the community and visit the local businesses and restaurants that are hosting artists, artisans, and performers. You’ll surely find refreshments, free samples, demos, and deals along the way.

February 4-5: Hobe Sound Annual Festival of the Arts

Howard Alan Events will once again welcome the nation’s top artists and skilled craft artisans during the Annual Hobe Sound Festival of the Arts. This outdoor event features hundreds of gallery-style booths filled with every medium of fine art lining Dixie Highway from Bridge Road to Venus Street.

man spray painting for Stuart ArtsFest
Photo Courtesy Of: The Arts Council of Martin County

February 11-12: ArtsFest

A treasured Martin County tradition for over 35 years, artists from across the nation converge in Downtown Stuart for ArtsFest. This juried, competitive show features a wide variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, drawing, wood, mixed media, and more. A brilliant showcase of visual, performance, and culinary arts, visitors love meeting with the artists and taking home original masterpieces.

February 25: Downtown Stuart Art Festival

Osceola Street in Downtown Stuart will once again be transformed into a spectacular art experience at the 33rd Annual Downtown Stuart Art Festival. Visitors can spend hours relishing in the Florida sunshine while appreciating larger-than-life sculptures, glittering glass, jewelry, photography, and more from over 200 artists in gallery-style booths.

painting of waterfront property in martin county
Photo Courtesy Of: Julia Kelly

A New Chapter in Martin County’s Future

An innovative new community concept is on tap for Martin County’s future. Storie, FL is a vision that has yet to be unveiled, but the designers are placing a high priority on public placemaking. At Storie, central to the visionary concept is creating a vibrant downtown, parks, educational opportunities, and plentiful outdoor activities for all Martin County residents to enjoy. We also look forward to new businesses calling Storie home and adding new breathtaking art installations to an already beautiful lineup of choices for area residents. To receive a copy of the Storie magazine with more details on the vision for this new community or to be among the first to see the vision video upon its release, register your interest at

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