“We just completed a final walkthrough and the excitement is really palpable! The Live Oak Cultural Center is going to be our premier facility for multi-generational activities,” said Leisure Services Director Nancy Maddox.
The Live Oak Cultural Center began design efforts in 2016 with construction following in early 2018. The overall cost for the project including design, engineering, permitting, and construction was $2.5 million, funded in part by ECHO grant monies. The 5,000 sq. ft. facility offers nearly 2,500 sq. ft. of banquet space for events and daily programs, with the remainder set aside for an office, reception area, prep kitchen, restrooms, and another smaller gallery space. A newly completed surface lot also expands local parking options for daily users by 50 spaces.
Selected for its proximity to the newly renovated City Gym and unobstructed views of greenspace on its north side, the Cultural Center enjoys serene views of oak and bald cypress trees while allowing plenty of natural light to flood the main gallery space. Complimenting this are cascading fountains and rain chains for occupants to enjoy while strolling through wrap-around patios.
The primary occupant of the Live Oak Cultural Center will be Council on Aging of Volusia County (COA, www.coavolusia.org), a nonprofit organization that for decades has collaborated with the City of New Smyrna Beach to provide services for area seniors. COA’s Meals on Wheels and Neighborhood Dining programs, both currently located on North Dixie Freeway, will also move to the new Center.
In addition to nutrition programs, COA offers an array of social and educational activities including exercise classes, bridge, Chair Yoga, creative writing, Bingo, and a lineup of educational speakers. These combine with coffee and conversation to make the COA Senior Center a premier local destination for full-time residents and snowbirds alike.
Occupying the same block are the City Gym, New Smyrna Beach Regional Library, and planned pickle ball courts to provide a range of activities within short walking distance. The COA Senior Center will operate Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Also positioned to take full advantage of the Live Oak Cultural Center is the Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA, www.atlanticcenterforthearts.org). In 2012, the ACA established its cutting-edge Arts & Wellness initiative that reaches out to all generations by connecting community health to the arts. With generous support from foundations and donors, ACA is proudly at the forefront of producing innovative resources in the field of arts and health. With initial support from the National Center for Creative Aging, ACA has expanded its Arts & Wellness initiative to serve the needs of Central Florida communities. These programs improve mental and physical health, offer creative solutions to overcome age and disability discrimination, prevent loneliness and isolation, and support healthy living from a holistic perspective. ACA works with a dedicated team of community artists, music therapists, art therapists, and volunteers to establish ongoing dynamic programs to increase the health and wellness of elders, caregivers, veterans, active adults, youth, and artists. These Arts & Wellness ambassadors advocate for accessibility and inclusion by supporting people of every generation to explore their “inner artists” and learn from one another.