Pensacola Magazine, February 2023

Page 32

EMPOWERED EXPRESSION

New Exhibit Showcases

Arc Gateway Clients

TAKING A WALK THROUGH HISTORY

Gulf Coast Kiln Walk

ROAD TRIP TO NOWHERE

Documenting the Rural South in Photos

A DECADE OF PENSACON Celebrating 10 Years of Fandom in Pensacola

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:

BUSINESS CLIMATE ON THE MARKET

A REAL ESTATE SECTION

TAKING IT TO THE STREETS

PENSACOLA MURALISTS

PROMOTE PUBLIC ART

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CONTENTS

FEATURES

14 GIVING DIMENSION TO DISABLED VOICES

The PMA and The Arc Gateway team up to organize “Empowered Expression,” an exhibit that gives disabled individuals a chance to demonstrate their artistic skills.

16 TAKING A WALK THROUGH HISTORY

The Gulf Coast Kiln Walk Society prepares for their annual kiln firings.

19 A DECADE OF PENSACON

Pensacon Celebrates its Ten Years of Fandom Along the Gulf Coast with plans to host the biggest convention yet.

22 ROAD TRIP TO NOWHERE

Ryan McGlothren documents the rural south through photographs.

25 TAKING IT TO THE STREETS

Pensacola Muralists promote public art and artistic community.

30 YOUTH ARTS

Local arts organizations build brighter futures through art outreach programs.

TOPICS

8 Editor’s Note

10 Page 10 with DeeDee Davis

12 Pensacola Scene

37 Event Calendar

ON THE COVER: Hellcat Hangar mural by Daniela De Castro/Daniela Paints.

6 | FEBRUARY 2023
BUSINESS
ON THE MARKET
CLIMATE
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: A REAL ESTATE SECTION
14 30 25
22
19
16

strange spring. The novel in our so far been it from print with time, Escambia Santa quickly once

2021 issue survived barrage loss and entire loved ones, kept side, at least will change vaccines coronavirus, some freely What has suspect it mental time positive experiences. resolutions Instead, brought home have uncertain. my community. health is our knew it.

Obesity, diabetes and heart disease became death sentences for too many people battling Covid. While genetics predispose some to these illnesses, many can be managed or eradicated by lifestyle changes. I’d like to focus on making healthy choices while still enjoying the bad-for-you good stuff in moderation.

The fact is, virus or be symptoms. That is community, stay possible--leaving the idea, too, rather than social via world—phone encourage tribe. We bring and something this.

in our will see that community groups and safe ways difference distancing. I must outpouring amongst my toilet paper more than to make up applause for our

assure you equally— alone. it—the I’m over on a word: over Only suspect. pandemic the stress, distancing and many things can provide more return. Society has had fostering know that always a sweet kitty sounds check page 34. for our with some

EDITOR’S NOTE

FEBRUARY 2023

Passion and Joy

incredible special-needs pets and owners and she discovered that while these precious babies may take a little more care, the love they give in return is worth every second.

first responders and hospital workers? Thank you for putting yourselves on the front lines to keep us as safe as possible. Also, a big shout out to all the teachers out there scrambling to put together online lessons to keep our kids engaged and learning instead of worrying about things they cannot control. We appreciate you!

I don’t know about you, but 2020 offered far too little of either of these to me. I was so consumed with my mom’s illness and then with surviving the grief of her loss and the anxiety of the pandemic and the sorrow of so many national news stories that I took little time for myself.

Owner Malcolm Ballinger

Publisher Malcolm Ballinger malcolm@ballingerpublishing.com

If exotic animals are more your thing, head on over to the brand spanking new and significantly enlarged Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. The new location features all the hands-on, up close interaction as the previous location plus added attractions, amenities and experiences that will make for a wonderful family day out.

Now that January’s rush of good intentions, bold proclamations and vows of self improvement are losing their luster, you may be looking for new and interesting ways to occupy your time. How about art? What better time to dive into the creative work happening in the community than the slightly indecisive days of February? Is it winter? Spring? Oh, today it’s summer! Whoopee! Make some sense of the madness by contemplating some local art.

Executive Editor Kelly Oden kelly@ballingerpublishing.com

This year, I hope to explore creative and personal endeavors that help me rediscover myself and discover new outlets for personal expression.

Art Director Ian Lett ian@ballingerpublishing.com

Procrastination

On that note, I encourage you to read our COVID-19 Resource Guide, which provides resources for food, business, community and more. The ever-changing nature of this crisis necessitates that I mention that these resources may or may not be available to you by the time you read this issue. I hope it will provide a place to start, some ideas or some inspiration either way.

One way to get a look at some great local art is as easy as taking a walk. Pensacola has become a bit of a mural city—with dozens of murals popping up over the last few years. Large-scale local murals run the gamut from conceptual fine art to street art and everything in between. A local artist’s collective has recently formed to promote local murals, public art and the arts community as a whole. Read all about the Pensacola Muralists and their founding members in this issue.

If you’re interested in conservation, check out Dakota Parks story on local Panhandle Rooftop Nesting Biologist, Rebekah Snyder. Through her work with Audubon Florida, Snyder helps to ensure local shorebirds have safe nesting spaces in an increasingly overpopulated region.

You may also notice that we have some nonpandemic related stories in this issue. We made the call to include already planned articles that might still be helpful, relevant or enjoyable for our readers. We hope you find them useful.

Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Garrett Hallbauer advertise@ballingerpublishing.com

Editor Morgan Cole morgan@ballingerpublishing.com

While many people made glorious headway on home improvement and personal projects in 2020, I did not. I did not organize anything. I did not fix anything. I did not learn a language or a new skill. Nothing. But that’s ok, too. I’m still here. That’s an accomplishment. However, in 2021, I’d like to lighten my load and empty my house of much of the clutter and unnecessary junk that fills it. It’s time to make room for something new.

All of this, plus a few DIY pet treat recipes and some good news from the Florida legislature regarding protection for pets in abusive situations.

In this issue, we’ve also gathered information on other artists doing interesting work including a documentary photographer, an inclusive art exhibit, a kiln walk with a whole lot of history, youth arts outreach programs and more.

Assistant Editor Nicole Willis nicole@ballingerpublishing.com

Editorial Intern Gillian Rabold

Plus, we’ve got all the info on Pensacon’s 10th anniversary convention. Ten years—can you believe it?This year's con will be one for the record books with the biggest Who line-up ever seen at a U.S. convention—in honor of Get your cosplay ready, folks!

As for us, Pensacola Magazine has been published under one title or another for more than 40 years. We have no plans on changing that. We will continue to publish and to bring you all the information we can for as long as we can. Please reach out to us with story ideas, inspiration or just a quick hello. We are all working from home and we are missing our water cooler conversations.

In this issue, we’ve covered all of these topics and more to help readers shift their own focus in 2021. We hope you enjoy. Here’s to your health!

We hope you enjoy this issue and that it inspires to get involved in the local art scene in whatever way works for you.

So, turn off the news, put down your phone and enjoy these heartwarming tales and adorable of photos of local animals and the folks who care for them. When you’re done, give your kitty a little catnip and throw your dog a bone. It’s these simple pleasures that will keep us all sane.

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong, Pensacola!

Contributing Writers DeeDee Davis

Darien Hardy Ashley Wright

Sales & Marketing Paula Rode, Account Executive ext. 28 paula@ballingerpublishing.com

Geneva Strange, Account Executive ext. 31 geneva@ballingerpublishing.com

Kelly

Kelly Oden

Editor

Kelly Oden Executive Editor

/pensacolamagazine @pensacola_magazine

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your subscription now online at www.ballingerpublishing.com: One year $14.95 and two years $22.75.

Published by Ballinger Publishing:

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of the publisher. This magazine accepts no responsibility for these opinions. The publisher reserves the right to edit all manuscripts. All advertising information is the responsibility of the individual advertiser. Appearance in this magazine does not necessarily reflect endorsement of any products or services by Ballinger Publishing. © 2023

8 | FEBRUARY 2023
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Subscription expiration date is printed on the address label. Renew your subscription today online at ballingerpublishing.com: One year $14.95 or two years $22.75. FOLLOW US! /pensacolamagazine @pensacola_magazine NW Florida’s Business Climate Magazine and Pensacola Magazine is locally-owned and operated. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction or use of the contents herein is prohibited without written permission from the publisher. Comments and opinions expressed in this magazine represent the personal views of the individuals to whom they are attributed and/or the person identified as the author of the article, and they are not necessarily those
PENSACOLA MAGAZINE CULTURE + LIFESTYLE

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It’s relatively simple to size someone up after spending a little time with him or her. You look at them, listen to them, consider what you already know about them, and presto, you have an opinion. It is, however, probable that you may be wrong in your initial assessment because we all know that looks can be very deceiving. To really get to know a person, you have got to get closer and take an objective look at the inside. Surprisingly, a psychologist is not required for this exercise. A brain scan and medical examination may provide helpful information but far more important is the all telling closet encounter. Nothing speaks louder about a person than a sneak peak at this intimate side of the way they live. A housekeeper can tidy the obvious by cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, whisking away the dust and polishing all the surfaces. But a closet is another creature altogether. First, most people aren’t comfortable with a housekeeper, or anyone else for that matter, in their closet. I never gave this subject a lot of thought until my husband and I converted a small, unused bedroom into a ‘his and hers’ closet in our nest. Before we undertook the project, we assessed our current situations to determine our combined need. We were making the best of our arrangement with

separate closets that were original to the 1970s house. How did they do it? Or do we just have too much stuff now? It was apparent that from the onset of this brilliant idea, we had challenges. His overflowing closet would never have been enough to accommodate my things once we merged households. With a July wedding planned, it was time to tackle this issue. Tackling the plan required a lot of patience and lip zipping in order to achieve this without bloodshed.

By our DNA women need not only more space, but also more specialty areas. We have shoes, hats, bags, shoes, long dresses, makeup, coats, shoes and boots. If you have lived alone for any period of time with unlimited control of closets, it is challenging trying to compromise on space. When my first husband and I separated, I hate to confess that I pulled all of his things out and took over the full closet. Might as well make lemonade out of lemons and reorganize my closet as well as my life. I have seen horror stories of people who can barely open a closet door, much less squeeze another item into it. People who secretly store their things in this chaotic, messy, disaster-in-waiting- method also have issues in business and relationships. The good thing about having a wreck inside your closet is that you can do something about it if you want to. If you seriously can’t handle the challenge of organizing your stuff, there are professionals available to work with you. Often, a far greater problem than just organizational skills is involved. People with horrible closets have difficulty throwing things away. They can’t seem to decide what is really important enough to keep or they attach emotional value to meaningless items and confusion is the result. “How could I possibly get rid of my tee shirts from the 225 races I have run?” People with tidy closets are high achievers. They prioritize well and

are also prone to make lists of things to do. They actually make very good partners but have a tendency to scoff at those with less than perfect habits. I would emphatically recommend organizational therapy before you get involved with such a person.

I personally don’t cope well with disorder. It is actually painful for me to resist the urge to rearrange a messy desk or room. So meeting another neatness nut like my husband started a beautiful relationship between us. I had no anxiety when I had my first closet encounter with him because I had a pretty good idea of what I was in store for. Shirts all lined up, slacks neatly hung, sweaters perfectly folded- yep, just what I expected. Together we have taken it to a new level. Hangers all match, clothes are grouped by function and color — bliss! Both of my grown children inherited my closet gene. Thank goodness. My daughter recently bought a house and has all kinds of dreams for the improvements she wants. The first project she took on? Oh, yes. Converting a bedroom into a full closet. I was so proud I could have cried. There are plenty of tests out there, many of them expensive, to determine whether you are compatible with someone. But the next time you meet a person you think you want to spend some time with, find an excuse to look behind closed doors. Never underestimate the power of the closet encounter.

10 | FEBRUARY 2023
DeeDee Davis, Contributing Writer Opinion piece: the views expressed in this article are solely of the writer and not representative of Pensacola Magazine
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Giving Dimension to Disabled Voices

Empowered Expression Exhibit Opens at PMA

The Pensacola Museum of Art’s latest exhibition, “Empowered Expression: Giving Dimension to Disabled Voices,” is providing members of Pensacola’s disabled community with a space to demonstrate and share their artistic abilities.

The Pensacola Museum of Art (PMA) and The Arc Gateway have teamed up to organize this exhibit which features the work of artists with intellectual or developmental disabilities that have been working with The Arc Gateway to develop their artistic skill set.

The Arc Gateway is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that seeks to provide the best possible life experiences for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The agency offers disabled clients a variety of programs in which they can learn specific skills, gain new experiences and get involved in their community if they choose to do so.

“The Arc Gateway currently serves 1,200 children and adults each year. Of that number, about 250 adults spend up to 30 hours per week in one of our multiple adult day training centers,” CEO of The Arc Gateway, Missy Rogers, said. “Each of our centers is slightly different and offers tailored services to those who choose to participate. Every program has a goal of teaching vocational skills that may one day transfer to the community.”

All of the artists included in the exhibit are participants of The Arc Gateway’s programs and chose to attend specific art sessions to expand their artistic abilities.

When sourcing artwork for “Empowered Expression,” the agency provided their clients with an opportunity to learn all about art, try their hand at creating artwork themselves and discover what type of art they enjoy.

The featured artists created their artwork in an art studio with an instructor and all of the tools necessary to express themselves through creating; they got the

14 | FEBRUARY 2023

opportunity to experiment with an array of different art mediums. The exhibit will feature a variety of art styles and mediums including everything from illustrations and paintings to ceramics and more.

“Empowered Expression” is much more than just beautiful and intriguing artwork on a wall or on display; it is an opportunity for disabled individuals to grow, learn new skills, explore passions, express themselves and gain confidence.

“There are significant benefits [to art]. Art has been proven to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. It allows them a positive form of selfexpression that is socially acceptable,” Rogers explained. “It also gives them a tool through which they can understand and express their emotions and those of their peers. Further, through the creative process, our clients can enjoy a sense of accomplishment and pride in their abilities, and if the artists choose to sell their pieces, they then receive payment for their efforts, enhancing their independence and self-determination.”

In addition to the benefits for the artists, the exhibit is also promoting representation and inclusion within the arts. These artists are representing the disabled community, and their work shows that no matter one’s abilities or disabilities, anyone can explore their passions, express themselves and contribute to their community. The Arc Gateway believes in these abilities as well, both in the art world and beyond.

“Our agency strongly believes everyone has the ability to contribute to the community in some manner, should they choose to do so. This could be through a workplace, volunteering at a nonprofit like The Arc Gateway or even through creative endeavors like the pieces that will be showcased in the upcoming exhibit at the Pensacola

Museum of Art. Each adds meaningful purpose to the life of the individual and builds a better, vibrant community for all,” Rogers said.

As an agency, The Arc Gateway focuses on highlighting the abilities and talents of its clients to show both the clients and the world that the capabilities of disabled people are limitless.

To view and learn more about some of the artists participating in the exhibit, check out The Arc Gateway on Facebook, where the agency has shared the backgrounds, stories and photos of some of the participating artists.

“Empowered Expression: Giving Dimension to Disabled Voices” opened on January 13 and will be on display at the PMA through February 23. If you want to check out the exhibit for yourself, you can stop by the PMA at 407 S Jefferson Street. The museum is open from 10 am to 4 pm Tuesday through Saturday, 12 pm to 4 pm on Sunday, and is closed on Monday.

For more information about The Arc Gateway, visit arc-gateway.org, and for more information about the PMA, visit pensacolamuseum.org.

PENSACOLA MAGAZINE | 15
Cartrell L. Untitled I & II Colored Pencil Beth M. Flower Vase Ceramic

TAKING A WALK THROUGH HISTORY

The Gulf Coast Kiln Walk is Getting Fired Up for WoodStoke Festival 2023

THE FASCINATING AND UNIQUE RESULTS FROM JAPANESE-STYLE WOOD-FIRE KILNS have been appearing in ceramics articles since the 1980s, and around the year 2000, wood-fired ceramics sparked the interest of many potters in the Gulf Coast. After learning that there were no wood-fire kilns available to the public within a 12-hour radius of the Escambia-Santa Rosa County area, Brenda, Marty and Jason Stokes, co-owners of Holley Hill Pottery in Navarre, along with the original members, formed the Gulf Coast Kiln Walk (GCKW) Society as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2001.

The society is dedicated to the history, preservation and promotion of the wood-fueled ceramic arts, and it strives to build a sense of community through clay related activities—to bring individuals of all ages together to celebrate the ceramic arts heritage and pass it on to future generations. The GCKW brings visitors, beginners, experienced potters and the like through history as they learn how to fire pottery in the society’s two significant kilns, as the name “Kiln Walk” suggests.

In August 2004, Don Reitz, a well-respected wood-fire artist from Arizona, and his former assistant and now Indiana University Southeast professor, Brian Harper, completed the design and build of a 32-foot anagama-style kiln with the help of volunteers and the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Department. The kiln was fired for the first time in December of 2005.

Anagama kilns have to be loaded from the back to front and, in Japanese tradition, the kiln takes four days to load and can fit more than 800 pottery pieces at a time. Then, six to 12 people must monitor the kiln for 24 hours per day for six days. The kiln must slowly cool for 12 days before it can be reopened.

“It’s a time-consuming process,” Jason Stokes, GCKW Kiln Tech and son of Marty and Brenda Stokes, said. “Every little pot has to be placed exactly how you want it in the kiln because every pot affects the one behind and in front of it. It’s a very delicate and slow dance through the five-day process.”

In 2006, another wood-fire kiln from the 1940s was constructed on the Kiln Walk property. Their historical “Ralph Howard Phillips” Kiln is a working modified “southern groundhog” kiln found in Jay, Florida. After getting permission from the landowners to disassemble the kiln, the society was able to carefully document the kiln and safely move it to the GCKW site. As of today, it is the only kiln of its kind in the state.

To rebuild the kiln, the Stokes family and many society members used new fire brick on the inside and the original red brick inside the firebox and on the exterior of the kiln. These kilns can reach temperatures up to 2,500 °F, so had they continued to use the original brick, it would have slowly melted down to nothing. The project was finished in the spring of 2008 and prepared for its “inaugural” firing in February 2009.

The GCKW Society fires its two kilns once a year in conjunction with the annual WoodStoke Pottery and Kiln Festival, which is held on the second Saturday in February. Nearly 50 potters from all over the southeast United States participate in the monthlong activities on the GCKW grounds, such as workshops and educational activities that happen before, during and after the festival. Today, more than one thousand visitors come to partake in the festivities.

16 | FEBRUARY 2023

Chris Gustin, a world-renowned studio ceramicist, an emeritus professor at the University of Massachusetts and the GCKW’s designated “wood-kiln whisperer,” as the Stokes family deemed him, helped to alter the anagama kiln. Since then, he has worked closely with the society and is now the WoodStoke Festival’s featured artist for both 2022 and 2023.

Gustin has been surrounded by the ceramic arts his entire life, as his parents managed and co-owned several commercial ceramic factories in Los Angeles. He dropped out of school to work in, and eventually run, one of these factories.

His parents dabbled in collecting ceramics and other handmade wares, so Gustin grew up in a space where ceramics were celebrated. When he was around 20 years old, Gustin left the manufacturing arena and went to the Kansas City Art Institute to study studio ceramics for his undergraduate degree. He then got his graduate degree at Alfred University.

Gustin loved the studio aspect of making pots. He set up his first studio in Guilford, Connecticut, then after five years, left to teach in New York, and then Boston. After being a combination of a teacher and studio artist, Gustin moved to Massachusetts and bought a chicken farm that he renovated into a state of the art studio.

“I got into clay one way and then found another way, and so I started showing and selling my work—and ended up showing in New York—and the career kind of took off,” Gustin said.

Gustin has known about the GCKW for years because of the society's notable firing workshops. Artists from around the world—Gustin included—have come to lead workshops and use the society’s iconic wood-fire kilns. Gustin was in Bailey, North Carolina for another wood-fired kiln festival where he met Jason Stokes, who invited Gustin to come down to the facility and see the kilns firsthand.

Since getting involved with the society, Gustin has started to help the GCKW develop a space that supports the arts and community, where different constituencies can come and use clay to not only learn about ceramics, but also create their own communities of support.

“From a community point of view, you guys have a diamond in the rough there. I don’t know how many people know about it, but it is a really special place and it is accessible. They [GCKW] do workshops, they do programs, they do these firings and of course they have these plans for a much bigger footprint,” Gustin said.

Brenda Stokes and the other members of the GCKW Society are working to construct a multi-use “Historical Working Center” to provide space for educational workshops and research. There will also be a gallery area to display wood-fired ceramic art and historical artifacts. The center will bring education, artistic expression and art appreciation to one location for potters and visitors alike.

“This center will not only be an introduction to what people can learn at the universities, but it will also be a support center for people like my son [Jason Stokes] that come here and need a place to fire,” said Brenda Stokes. “At the same time, famous artists can come here to mentor the lower-level potters.”

Following-up with their mission, the GCKW strives to educate people about the ceramic history and be a support center for potters everywhere.

“I’ve seen lives change radically for the better by creating communities that people can go to where they feel safe and supported, and the GCKW is one of those places,” Gustin said.

For more information about the Kiln Walk Society, visit gulfcoastkilnwalk.org or find them on Facebook @KilnWalk.

CHRIS GUSTIN PRESENTATION AND RECEPTION

FEBRUARY 16, 2023 AT 5 P.M.

PENSACOLA STATE COLLEGE, ANNA SWITZER BUILDING

Join Chris Gustin for an open and personal artist talk about his career in the ceramic arts as he demystifies the roadmap to success in the field.

18TH WOODSTOKE FESTIVAL AND KILN OPENINGS

FEBRUARY 18, 2023

GULF COAST KILN WALK SITE: 7507 BUCKEYE DRIVE, NAVARRE, FL 32566

Join the GCKW Society for workshops and educational activities before, during and after the opening of the organization’s historical anagama and modified “southern groundhog” kilns.

PENSACOLA MAGAZINE | 17
I’ve seen lives change radically for the better by creating communities that people can go to where they feel safe and supported, and the GCKW is one of those places,” Gustin said
Photo courtesy of Chris Gustin.

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A Decade of Pensacon

Celebrating Ten Years of Fandom Along the Gulf Coast

WHEN YOU’RE DRIVING DOWN PALAFOX STREET and suddenly see a Star Wars stormtrooper walking alongside Mario’s Princess Peach, you know what time it is in Pensacola: it’s Pensacon time. Each year, this beloved pop culture event takes over downtown Pensacola decorating the streets with creative costumes, cosplaying pets, pop culture-inspired art, themed celebrations, fun competitions and more. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Pensacon, and to celebrate this momentous milestone, the 2023 convention is set to be bigger than ever before.

Pensacon’s roots trace back to 2013 when founder and CEO Mike Ensley began conceptualizing the event. The first annual Pensacon convention made its debut the following year at the Pensacola Bay Center. With nearly 11,000 fans in attendance, the first con proved to be a tremendous success, prompting its return year after year. Throughout the years, the convention has continued to receive unwavering support from the local community and enthusiastic fans worldwide, growing the convention into the annual event that we know and love today.

Since the very first convention, Pensacon has continued attracting tens of thousands of pop cultureloving locals and tourists alike. Last year’s attendance numbers were estimated to be well over 33 thousand and, this year, Pensacon organizers expect attendance numbers to far exceed that number.

A milestone as large as ten years deserves a blow-out celebration, and Pensacon organizers promise that 2023 will be the con’s biggest and best year yet. With this year’s convention hosting more celebrity guests than ever before, ticket sales are through the roof and VIP passes for this year have already sold out. Filled to the brim with fans, artists, cosplayers, artists and more, Pensacon 2023 promises to deliver an experience like never before.

“It is going to be our biggest year yet, with it being our 10th anniversary event and celebration. We have more guests than we have ever had before. So in that regard, we are bringing a lot more to the community than we ever have before,” Pensacon Director of Marketing and Guest Services, Julio Diaz explained.

One of the biggest announcements made for this year’s anniversary event is the reunion of Doctor Who actors and actresses in celebration of the show’s 60th anniversary. Fans of this science fiction television series can look forward to a large presence of cast members including five doctors–Christopher Eccleston, Colin Baker, Paul McGann, Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy–several companions and other characters.

“We’ve got some very big individual guests and groups of guests this year that we’re really excited about,” Diaz said. “We have been focusing a lot on it being not just Pensacon’s 10th anniversary, but the [60th] anniversary of the science fiction series Doctor Who. We have the biggest gathering of Doctor Who stars that has ever been hosted at a United States convention. We are very pleased to have that. I think we are getting a lot of people traveling to Pensacola specifically for that.”

Christopher Eccleston will likely be Pensacon 2023’s largest and most-

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anticipated celebrity guest. Pensacon organizers think that Eccleston is such a prominent guest that his fanbase may drive tickets to sell out on the day of his arrival.

“Saturday is always our biggest day. This year one of our biggest guests, Christopher Eccleston, is only here on Saturday,” Diaz said.

Doctor Who will not be the only fandom represented at this year’s event. Pensacon is also hosting a slew of incredible celebrity guests from television and anime series such as Naruto and Stranger Things, as well as movies and film franchises such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Clerks, Scream and more.

Apart from the Doctor Who celebrity guests, some of the other highly anticipated actors and actresses include Grace Van Dien who is known for her role as Chrissy Cunningham in the most recent season of the popular Netflix series Stranger Things, Rose McGowan known for playing Tatum in the 1996 Scream movie and Henry Thomas who was most known for his role as Elliott in E.T. the ExtraTerrestrial. Most known for his role in Starship Troopers, Van Dien’s father, Casper Van Dien, who is a native of Milton, will also be in attendance.

Anticipated anime voice actors include Sean Schemmel who is the voice of Son Goku in the Dragon Ball franchise, and Colleen Ann VillardO’Shaughnessey who voices Ino

Yamanaka and Konohamaru Sarutobi in Naruto. Whether you enjoy sci-fi, horror, fantasy or anime, just about every genre and fandom will be represented at Pensacon through guests, artists and vendors.

As usual, Pensacon will be hosted at the Pensacola Bay Center with artists,

vendors and celebrities scattered throughout. The main floor of the Bay Center will once again serve as the main vendor floor where more than 75 different types of vendors will be selling a variety of pop culture and character-themed merchandise. On the second floor, fans will have a chance to meet and greet their favorite celebrities, take photos, get autographs and more. The “Artist Alley” and “Writer’s Row” portions of the convention, will be held on both the third floor and around the top ring of the Bay Center. Here, attendees will find dozens of artists and writers from across the country. Attendees can also meet the artists and writers, view their works, and purchase anything that they may have for sale.

As always, though, the Pensacon festivities won’t be limited to just the Bay Center. A variety of venues throughout downtown and the Pensacola Historic District will host events in conjunction with Pensacon. Some venues will be the same as in previous years, for example, the Pensacola Cultural Center and the Rex Theatre will once again host Pensacon events. In addition to these venues and other venues throughout the Pensacola Historic District, Pensacon will be taking over a few rooms at the First United Methodist Church, specifically to host panels and different types of gaming events.

“There are several big rooms at this facility that are going to enable us to expand the audience over what we have had the past couple of years in terms of some of our largest panels,” Diaz explained. “Having this facility is going to allow us to turn the Pensacola Museum of Commerce over to gaming. So we will be able to bring gaming back for the first time in a few years.” In previous years,

Pensacon hosted gaming events at the Pensacola Grand Hotel which has since been closed.

Aside from the special appearances of the Doctor Who cast members and large attendance, Pensacon’s 10th anniversary celebration will be marked by a special party held at Seville Quarter. The party will feature Pensacon fun, food, drinks and live music from the goth band Vision Video.

“On Saturday night, we will be doing a party to celebrate our 10th anniversary that is free to attend for all of our badge holders or Saturday day pass holders. The party will be at Seville Quarter in Phineas Phogg’s,” Diaz said. “We’ve done parties at Seville quarter before, but it has been a few years since we have been back there. We are excited to be back there in downtown Pensacola’s largest entertainment complex and celebrating our 10th birthday.”

Through the ten years of Pensacon, one thing has remained the same: community. Whether you’re a superfan that attends the con decked out in cosplay or someone who stops by for a day to see what Pensacon is all about, everyone is welcomed to the fun that is Pensacon.

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IT IS GOING TO BE OUR BIGGEST YEAR YET, WITH IT BEING OUR 10TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT AND CELEBRATION.
IT IS GOING TO BE OUR BIGGEST YEAR YET, WITH IT BEING OUR 10TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT AND CELEBRATION.

“The biggest thing is really the community more than anything else, in a number of ways. Everybody gets together and is in a community that’s accepting and relates to each other… everybody is there because they’re a fan of something. They get to be among their people for the weekend and see people that they don’t see every day. It is a great place to meet new people, make friends and renew friendships every year if you don’t get to spend time with those folks throughout the year in other places,” Diaz said.

Pensacon has grown beyond just being a simple three-day convention. The event has created ripples throughout the Pensacola community. It has become something that unites old and young generations

of Pensacolians through their favorite pop culture franchises. It is days of high-traffic and new customers for local shops, venues and restaurants. It is a month of fun as the Pensacola International Airport becomes the Pensacola “Intergalactic” Airport.

“The Pensacola community, Escambia County, the Panhandle and even Southern Alabama have really embraced this convention. That includes the individual fans, the businesses that have partnered with us, and the city and county government that have been so important to making things happen with us. We’ve just been very lucky to enjoy that support, and it’s something we don’t take for granted,” Diaz said.

If you are interested in seeing what Pensacon is all about and want to take part in the ten-year anniversary celebration, single-day and weekend passes are still available for purchase: Single-day passes range from $35 to $45 each, varying by day and Weekend passes are $85 each. Tickets, a jam-packed guest list and participating venues list, parking information and much more can be found online at pensacon.com.

@PensacolaPensacon on Instagram and @Pensacon on Facebook for important updates, special announcements, photos

What To Know Before You Go

Avoid the Boot

If you’re a Pensacola local, you already know the perils of downtown parking. If you are an out-of-towner, trust us… you do not want to risk parking just anywhere, especially on downtown’s busiest weekend of the year. The lot in the back of the Bay Center off 9th Avenue is reserved for VIP passholders, vendors and media with the appropriate passes. The lot across Alcaniz Street from the Bay Center is available for all attendees at the cost of $20. Parking is also available throughout the city, with prices varying per lot. Handicapped parking is available in the front parking lot of the Bay Center off Alcaniz Street.

Organize Your Day

Organization can make your con experience stress-free and ensure that you don’t accidentally miss an activity. A perfect way to organize your day is through the Pensacon app! The app can serve as your personal event calendar; it allows you to build your own schedule and to-do list with the timing of activities, photo ops and events throughout town. In addition to these organizational features, the Pensacon app is your go-to for quick information during the days of the convention. The app is available on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. The app will be updated to feature 2023’s details in the coming weeks.

Be Aware of Guestlist Changes

Life happens and cancellations inevitably happen, too. Pensacon.com/guests/ will have the most updated information regarding guests that may have had to cancel their appearances. Instead of scrolling through the long list of guests, click the “BY DAY” button at the top of the page and select “Canceled” to view only those who have canceled. On a more positive note, Pensacon is still rolling out guests! Stay tuned to @PensacolaPensacon on Instagram and @Pensacon on Facebook for exciting guest announcements.

PENSACOLA MAGAZINE | 21

Road Trip to Nowhere

Documenting the Rural South in Photos

Photographer Ryan McGlothern grew up in Cottage Hill, Florida — a rural community just north of Cantonment. His images depict his lifelong affinity for the old, busted, rusted and dilapidated. From abandoned vintage cars and trucks to old buildings, signs, schools, sports fields and more, McGlothern beautifully and realistically captures life across Southern Alabama and Northwest Florida.

A doting father and a bridge inspector by trade, McGlothern earned his Bachelor of Science degree in photography from Florida A&M University. “While in Tallahassee, I studied underneath and was influenced by some of the best documentary photographers. Their ability to capture and preserve the everyday made me want to do the same,” McGlothern said.

He recently did just that with his documentary photo book, “road trip to nowhere.” Using primarily medium format and 35mm film cameras, McGlothern traveled the rural areas that he’s wandered since he was child. With no shot list or plan, he simply pulled over when he saw something interesting and tried to capture both the image and the story behind it. “I document the old, the unseen, the rusted and left for dead. Everything has a story and I try to capture it,” he said.

The book’s title, McGlothern explained, is a play on how the word “nowhere” can become the words “now here.” Both an art project and a meditative experience, McGlothern’s introduction describes the book’s premise perfectly:

“…with my equipment loaded, I drive. Endless circles and intersecting courses, trying to make it somewhere before daybreak. Studying the horizon and praying against rain. I find myself in a constant battle of chasing the light. It leads me through back roads and small towns. Always recalling memories and wondering if any of it still exists. I let my mind roam. I enjoy this. In some ways it’s like an endless road trip, or a road trip to nowhere.”

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“Road trip to nowhere” is available on the self-publishing platform, blurb, at au.blurb.com. Follow McGlothern on Instagram at @photo_document to see more of his work and to keep up with plans for future exhibits.

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Taking it to the Streets

Pensacola Muralists Group Comes Together to Promote Public Art

Take a walk almost anywhere in the City of PensaCola’s Core and you are bound to run into some PubliC art. We have brass statues of founding conquistadors and heroic generals, monuments to the men and women who serve, large wooden cubes with an ever-changing array of paintings, and murals—lots of murals. The last decade or so has seen a huge rise in the popularity of murals in Pensacola and around the country. Murals are a highly accessible and transformative form of public art that can benefit communities in many ways. Murals provide beautification for local businesses and public spaces, they attract visitors, they create a hip, artistic vibe and they offer an opportunity for public discourse or social commentary.

In 2021, local muralist Daniela De Castro decided to bring like-minded muralists and artists together to help amplify and support public art, street art, murals and the artists who create them. She started Pensacola Muralists as a local artist collective that came together with the purpose of helping our

communities thrive through elevation, collaboration and proliferation of public art. As a group, Pensacola muralists have grown into a larger organization with an eight-person board of directors and dozens of members. Their goal is to create a space that offers open resource sharing, educational and training opportunities, and an avenue for new and established artists to come together to network with each other, grow in their skills and hone their craft.

“We are on a mission to elevate the role and importance of public art for Pensacola and our surrounding communities,” De Castro said. “We exist to help elevate our collaborative community of artists, while also elevating our shared local spaces, places of business, and our city.”

Pensacola Muralists hosts a meet up on the second Tuesday of every month at 5:30 pm for anyone interested in the public art field. More info can be found on their social media channels, @ pensacolamuralists (Instagram) and Pensacola Muralists (Facebook Group).

Meet the Board

Pensacola Muralist’s eight-person board consists of artists who work in a variety of mediums including murals, painting, graffiti and more.

Daniela De Castro

Daniela De Castro is a Venezuelan artist based out of Pensacola who creates under the artist name "Daniela Paints." She is an oil painter, a graphic designer and a large-scale muralist. Her murals are conceptual and interactive—inspired by anatomy, nature and humanity. They often feature bright colors, realism and transparencies. In 2022, Daniela was invited to paint for Upfest, the largest live street art festival in Europe. At Upfest, she painted the first ever stereomural - a mural incorporating a hand-painted stereogram, an optical illusion popular in the 90s. When the mural is viewed correctly, a secret message appears in 3D. Daniela has painted murals in Spain, Venezuela, England and around the United States. Her latest mural works focus on large-scale hands, optics and 3D installations involving cement, plaster and metalwork.

Dylan Nadsady describes himself as “a visual storyteller, a lover of food, and a nature lover–with all of its animals. The best of my creativity grows from the seeds of whimsy, flapdoodle, and the densest questions, big and small, that have no clear answer. My paintings are love letters to these states of life. My goal is to engross myself and the audience not in the answers to, but into the beautiful depths of life's greatest absurdities."

Dylan Nadsady

Patrick Quintanilla

Patrick (Patty) Quintanilla is a self-taught street artist with heavy roots in graffiti. Quintanilla was born in Alabama but has lived in Pensacola for 7 years. His mural work can be seen throughout Pensacola and the U.S.

Eniko Ujj

is a Pensacola-based interdisciplinary artist focusing on mural work, conceptual sculpture, ceramics and collaborative projects. She was born in Hungary, immigrated to the States as a child and graduated with a BFA with a focus on oil painting from the University of West Florida in 2012. After moving back from a stint abroad in Denmark she started focusing on her career in the arts and established herself as a fulltime mural artist. She also developed a ceramics practice, exhibits work in regional exhibitions, and leads public, educational pit fires in rural areas in the American south. Her aim with mural painting is to inspire those who see her work to look more carefully at the world around them and to discover beauty in unusual places. Murals are available for anyone who wants to enjoy them and can reinvigorate neighborhoods and communities, bringing color and joy to places and things that might otherwise go unnoticed. She has focused on crisp line work and bright complementary colors to make her work pop.

Eniko Ujj

Caroline Holland

Caroline Holland started painting full-time in 2018 and has since completed over 800 commissioned paintings ranging from large-scale murals to cranial helmets for babies, pet portraits, human portraits and landscapes. She met her business partner, Tianna Kuwica, in 2021 and the pair joined forces to start Off The Walls Murals, focusing on murals that have a deep impact and spark meaningful conversation.

Tianna Kuwica used her background in graphic design to find her passion for creating bright and bold illustrations and hand lettering. A couple of years ago she found an even bigger passion for turning those illustrations into murals. In 2021, she met Caroline Holland and they teamed up to form Off The Walls Murals. They both had a dream to create murals that make a difference in the community and bring awareness to important issues.

Tianna Kuwica

Devin Bonner

Devin Bonner is a native of Pensacola, and he currently works as a graphic designer for EW Bullock Associates where he designs, creates and presents creative visual solutions for the agency’s clients. In addition to his board work with Pensacola Muralists, he also serves as VicePresident of the American Advertising Federation and as the Public Relations Chair of the Artel Gallery. In his free time, Bonner works as an assistant professor for the metalworking and fabrication department of Pensacola State College’s engineering program, where he teaches laser operation, bead rolling and illustrator techniques.

Amber Panetti Davis is an illustrator and portrait artist from Pensacola. Davis grew up in the panhandle and earned her bachelor’s degree in studio art from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. She studied renaissance art in Florence, Italy and completed a focused study of art history and computer art. In her free time, Davis enjoys reading and dancing as well as traveling and hiking with her family. She hopes to share her art with the community through murals, portraits and classes.

Amber Panetti Davis

Youth Arts Building Brighter Futures Through

the Arts

we’ve all heard the old adage -the children are our future. What we invest in them at a young age, we hope to see play out in a better and brighter future for our communities. Although there has been a large push towards S.T.E.M. education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in recent years as technologies continue to evolve and grow, there are numerous proven benefits that youth and children can also reap from the arts— whether it’s visual arts such as painting or ceramics, or performing arts such as theater or music.

In fact, studies show exposure to the arts promotes positive development in the academic, social and emotional realms. Children and young adults who are involved in the theater also tend to have better academic outcomes, higher career goals and are more civically engaged, according to the National Endowment of the Arts.

Your child doesn’t have to be a prodigy or have to perfect an art form to reap the benefits. Adolescents and children of all ages can benefit from exposure to art, found professors Brian Kisida and Daniel H. Bowen in a study they conducted for Rice University’s Houston Education Research Consortium.

“In terms of our measure of compassion for others, students who received more arts education experiences are more interested in how other people feel and more likely to want to help people who are treated badly,” the study found.

Arts organizations around the country have been creating opportunities for children to have greater access to the arts on a local level and Pensacola is no exception. From children performing in their opera to after school theater or sewing classes, youth across the Gulf Coast have numerous unique and creative ways to engage with art throughout the year.

Pensacola Opera

Every year Pensacola Opera has an Education Tour where their Studio Artists present a short opera production —written specifically for children— to area schools and libraries. This year the show is The Bremen Town Musicians, based on the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale and set to the music of Rossini, Donizetti, and more, said Alex Hilkey, Director of Marketing and Communications. This opera travels to elementary schools and libraries around the region, introducing children to opera and the arts through a fully staged and costumed performance, she said. They are on track to perform the opera over fifty times this season.

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by Ashley Wright

For middle and high school age groups, they offer their Opera Up Close program that puts students front and center to experience real opera singers and learn about having a career in the arts. Their Studio Artists perform a program of arias, duets, and popular tunes, while talking about different aspects of a performing career—how much time they spend practicing, how long they went to school for, what languages they sing in, and more.

Every summer, they also offer Overture, a week-long operaintensive summer camp for students ages 8 - 13. “Campers put on their very own opera production while participating in short workshops that introduce them to all aspects of theater including music, dance, set building, costuming, props and staging,” said Hilkey.

What makes opera unique is the aspect of storytelling, she added. “Our education programs aim to tell stories that are relatable, relevant, and engaging for students of all ages.”

needs the theater has is for volunteers in the technical aspects of putting on a show. That motivated them to offer a new Technical Theatre Masterclass for high school students and adults who want to learn more about lighting, running sound, costumes, and what goes on behind the scenes.

They also offer the PLT Academy, which is geared towards students that have already taken theater classes and are looking for a more intensive class in preparation for further education at the college level and beyond.

Pensacola Little Theatre

From Pre-K through young adulthood, the Pensacola Little Theatre offers classes and hands-on experiences for children and youth of all ages starting with their Broadway Babies classes for 4-7-year-olds to hear the basics of the theater to Acting Kids for kids who want to advance beyond the basics and finally offering Improv and Acting classes for teens.

Offering a wide variety of classes for children of all ages is important in that it gives them access to a unique form of self-expression and an opportunity to build life skills, said Topher Warren, Education Director. “One of the big things that we try to emphasize in our classes is that we are not just creating a generation of performers but the next generation of humans,” he said. “What they learn here is vital for everyday interactions. They are geared towards helping students feel confident in not only performing but also in communication with others.”

Warren said access to theater helps youth and children express their ideas and opinions without fear and helps them learn collaboration and teamwork.

Theater doesn’t always have to mean feeling comfortable performing on stage, he said. In fact, one of the biggest

Pensacola Symphony

The Pensacola Symphony Orchestra offers a wide range of music education and musical experiences for youth along the Gulf Coast. One of their most beloved and wellknown opportunities has been occurring for more than 40 years, said Julie Martin-Green, Education and Community Engagement Administrator, when the symphony welcomes fifth-grade students from Escambia County and Santa Rosa County to the Saenger Theatre for a concert tailored to teach students about the orchestra, the theater experience and various styles of music.

In the Spring, their Music for Families concert brings stories of composers to life with the orchestra performing their works alongside a drama presentation to inspire interest in instrumental music while their Beyond the Stage program takes their musicians into elementary, middle and high schools to perform in small ensembles, give demonstrations of instruments, teach about composers and their music, and coach young musicians in preparation for judged music performances.

“Being involved in the arts is essential to the mental, emotional and social development of children,” said MartinGreen. “With exposure to the arts at a young age, a child has the chance to demonstrate or express the desire to participate in an art form. By observing and responding to this interest, families, schools and community organizations can potentially provide the opportunities for that child to integrate an art form into their lives for coping, well-being, and thriving.”

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The orchestra specifically gives children and youth a unique opportunity to access these types of benefits, she said. “Musicking, the act of engaging with music through listening, playing, singing, or movement, offers opportunities for children to practice various life skills: communication and sensitivity to others; self-regulation; offering their own talents and contributing to the betterment of their communities.”

This summer, the symphony also plans to offer a program of coaching and teaching that will enhance the growth of young musicians in our community.

Pensacola Ballet

Not only does Pensacola Ballet offer performances that children and youth of all ages look forward to each yearsuch as the Nutcracker - they also are striving to give local youths of all walks of life and backgrounds access to the art form.

A Lost Art?

Exposing Children and Youth To Sewing

Some may say sewing has become a bit of a lost art, but for Nestor Taylor it’s an art form that offers youth and children a unique way to express themselves while also learning valuable life skills.

At his studio, Pins and Needles, he offers a variety of classes for children and youth of all ages from after-school programs to classes for children who are homeschooled.

One program that is a passion of his is called Backstitch Outreach. In sewing, a backstitch is used to ensure that the stitches do not come unraveled, he said, adding, it is an essential part of keeping different fabrics together.

“Backstitch Outreach has the goal of bringing the community together to serve the underprivileged, educate youth, and teach them traditional arts,” he said. “We desire to create a space for young people to come to instead of being on the streets. We want to be the stitches that help hold a community together.”

Taylor believes that learning skills such as sewing helps to bring people together and allows youth the opportunity to learn team building and other skills they can take with them beyond the studio. In addition to offering scholarships for sewing lessons, Backstreet Outreach will also offer free sewing machines and sewing supplies to youth who qualify.

For more information on Backstitch or the classes he offers at Pins and Needles, contact Taylor at pinsandneedlespensacola@gmail.com or visit his website at https://www.pinsandneedlespensacola.com.

They currently offer classes to young students through their after-school programs. These classes are designed to provide young dancers who may not be able to make it to their main studios access to training. This year they are offering classes at Creative Learning Academy and Episcopal Day School. Children and youth can also apply for scholarships to be able to train in-studio.

Pensacola Museum of Art

Now through February 26, the Pensacola Museum of Art is offering young artists the opportunity to showcase their artwork at the 69th Annual Youth Art Focus exhibition, which showcases artwork from across the Escambia County School District. Since 1954, Youth Art Focus has given students exposure to the world of fine art in a professional museum environment while also providing a way for our community to engage with and appreciate Escambia County’s art education programs, said Caitlin Rhea, Curator of Education and Public Programs. As part of the exhibit, students in Escambia County tour the museum for free as a part of this partnership between the museum, the PMA Guild and Escambia County Schools.

The museum also offers after-school art classes for a variety of age groups as well as a homeschool program and an Art Academy for Autism that is free of charge and focuses on nurturing artistic development and abstract thinking skills within a group environment. Providing access to numerous age groups and children/youth from different backgrounds and abilities is something the museum strives for, said Rhea.

“We always try to expand as much as we can access to fine art, but also affordable access to the arts,” she said. “That can be a barrier for people in our community so that’s why we started a scholarship program.” In fact, over half the students that are enrolled this semester in after-school programs were provided a scholarship.

Providing access to creating and crafting visual art is integral to children’s development, Rhea said. “It’s integral to their development as well-rounded humans, not just the cultural aspect of being exposed to different cultures and times periods, but also the basic development of learning to hone your creative thinking skills, your dexterity, your motor skills,” she said.

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Pensacola Ice Flyers February Schedule

February Home Games and Theme Nights at the Pensacola Bay Center. Games start at varying times. For tickets and information, visit iceflyers.com.

February 10: Peoria Rivermen vs Ice Flyers; $5 Night

February 11: Peoria Rivermen vs Ice Flyers; $5 Night

February 19: Birmingham Bulls vs Ice Flyers; Scout Day

WWE Road to WrestleMania at the Bay Center

February 5

WWE Road to WrestleMania is a live wrestling event that sees WWE's talented roster of superstars take to the ring to unleash extreme feats of athleticism, strength, and showmanship. The event is not televised and is only viewed by a lucky live audience. With no time restraints or televised scripts to follow, Road to WrestleMania shows give wrestlers a chance to face new opponents, try out new moves, and interact more freely with fans. The event is held at the Pensacola Bay Center, located at 201 E Gregory Street. Doors open at 3:30 pm and the event begins at 5 pm. For tickets and more information, visit pensacolabaycenter.com.

Pensacola Symphony Orchestra Presents Cirque Spectacular

February 11

Fusing elements of cirque acrobatics, classical dance and contemporary theatre, Troupe Vertigo joins with the Pensacola Symphony to take you on a spellbinding journey through the world of artistic movement and the thrilling cinematic music of John Williams, Michael Giacchino, Elmer Bernstein, Henry Mancini and more. Enjoy the magic of orchestral music played by the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra and the breathtaking skill of cirque-style acrobats and contortionists from Troupe Vertigo. The show will be hosted at the Pensacola Saenger Theatre at 118 South Palafox Place. Doors open at 6 pm and the show begins at 7:30 pm. For tickets and more information, visit pensacolasaenger.com.

Mania The ABBA Tribute at the Saenger Theatre

February 14

The world’s number one touring ABBA tribute is stopping by the Pensacola Saenger Theatre. Mania The ABBA Tribute has the look, feel and sound of the ABBA we all know and love. Ever since Mania The ABBA Tribute was formed in 1999, the show has been selling out theaters and concert halls across the globe. This show has toured the world in its quest to bring the music of the Swedish Supergroup to their millions of fans, old and new. The Pensacola Saenger Theatre is located at 118 South Palafox Place. Doors open at 7 pm and the show begins at 8 pm. For tickets and more information, visit pensacolasaenger.com.

Pensacola Chocolate and Cheese Fest

February 19

If you love all things decadent and rich, the Pensacola Chocolate and Cheese Fest is the place for you! The First Annual Pensacola Chocolate and Cheese Fest will be hosted at Community Maritime Park at 301 West Main Street. The event will feature food trucks and vendors selling chocolate and cheese items, as well as other items like beer, wine, chocolate martinis and more. To stick with the event theme, each vendor is required to sell at least one cheese or chocolate item at their truck or tent. There will be live entertainment, contests and activities for kids. The event will run from 10 am to 6 pm. There is a $5 entry fee and kids 12 & under are free. For more information, visit apexshowsandevents.com/chocolateand-cheese-fest.

Seventh Annual Pensacola Habitat Food Truck Festival

February 25 & 26

Pensacola Habitat for Humanity welcomes all to its seventh annual food truck festival in support of its mission of bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. This two-day event features a diverse mix of over 25 food trucks featuring their signature dishes, live entertainment, a food truck tasting competition, and more. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets. Tickets are $3 per weekday or $5 on the weekend, with 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales supporting Pensacola Habitat for Humanity. The festival is held at Community Maritime Park at 301 West Main Street and will run from 10 am to 8 pm on Saturday and 10 am to 7 pm on Sunday. For more information, visit eventbrite.com.

Sun Belt Basketball Championship Games

February 28 through March 6

The Sun Belt Conference Basketball Championship Games will be played at the Pensacola Bay Center beginning on February 28. The games will be played through March 6. These tournaments mark the beginning of NCAA March Madness. The 12 men’s and women’s Sun Belt teams are competing over the course of the week at the Pensacola Bay Center (201 E Gregory Street). Pensacola will serve as home to the Sun Belt Conference basketball tournament through the 2024-25 season. Game times vary each day. For full game dates, times and tickets, visit pensacolabaycenter.com.

2023 Sun Belt Dribble Drive

March 4

The 2023 Sun Belt Conference Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine Dribble Drive is scheduled for Saturday, March 4 beginning at 1 pm at the Pensacola Bay Center. Children ages 3-12 are welcome to join in on the fun and dribble their basketball around the venue grounds and into the Bay Center where games will be taking place. Each participant will receive a t-shirt, basketball and two tickets to the March 4th men's quarterfinal games, all free. Registration will be closed once 500 participants have been reached. The Pensacola Bay Center is located at 201 East Gregory Street. To register or learn more, visit sunbeltsports.org/dribbledrive.

O'Riley's Grog March 2023

March 4

O'Riley's Irish Pub’s annual Grog March is back in support of Manna Food Pantries. Attendees are invited to show up in their best St. Patrick's day outfit and help feed the hungry in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. General admission is free with a donation of 2 non-perishable food items or cash to Manna. This admission includes a 22oz mug and more swag. T-Shirt Tier admission comes at a $10 ticket price and a donation of 2 non-perishable food items or cash to Manna. The $10 fee gets you a commemorative t-shirt. Registration starts at O'Riley's (321 S. Palafox Street) at 4 pm. Tickets can be found on eventbrite.com. For more information, visit orileyspub.com.

PENSACOLA MAGAZINE | 35
EVENT CALENDAR

EVENT CALENDAR

Pensacola Mardi Gras Events

Krewe of Lafitte Illuminated Parade

February 17

The first parade of the 2023 Mardi Gras season is the Krewe of Lafitte Illuminated parade. This parade is hosted at night, which allows the decorated floats to light up the streets. The Krewe of Lafitte Illuminated parade is family-friendly, so bring the kiddos and try and catch some candy, beads, toys, stuffed animals, bouncy balls, local swag and, of course, lots of Moon Pies. The parade will march through downtown Pensacola, with the route covering Palafox and Government Streets. The parade kicks off at 7:30 pm and lasts until approximately 11:30 pm. For more information, visit pensacolamardigras.com.

Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade

February 18

The Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade, typically held on the Saturday before Fat Tuesday every year, is the largest and most extravagant Mardi Gras parade in Pensacola. This parade frequently draws an audience of over 100,000 spectators and there are over 6,000 people participating in the parade. Jam-packed with hundreds of floats, bands, local organizations, companies, Scout groups and more, the parade tends to last about four hours, from 2 pm to 6 pm. Be sure to secure your spot early. The parade route primarily extends along Palafox street, with some spilling over to Garden Street as well. For more details, visit pensacolamardigras.com.

Pensacola Beach Krewe of Wrecks Parade

February 19

The Pensacola Mardi Gras season will go out in true Florida style with a party on the beach. That’s right–the last parade of the season will be held on Pensacola Beach. This smaller-scale parade that has its beginnings in 1980. The party kicks off at around 2 pm at Avenida 10 and Via DeLuna. The parade then runs west and disbands at the Gulfside Pavilion in the Casino Beach parking lot. The parade concludes with a series of after-parties where judges will award trophies. Visit pensacolabeachmardigras.com for complete parade details.

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Business Climate

Special Section • February 2023

41 CareerSource Escarosa

Learn how Escambia and Santa Rosa County's career center can help you find a job or develop your skills.

45 Around the Region

Find out what's happening in business, government and cultural news throughout greater Pensacola and Northwest Florida.

PENSACOLA MAGAZINE | 39
Florida’s
NW

CareerSource Escarosa

The Organization That Can Get You The Job

CareerSource Escarosa (CSE) is a hidden gem that can help job seekers and professionals across Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. The nonprofit organization offers a variety of employment and training resources to anyone in the community looking to take steps toward accomplishing their career goals.

Some of the resources that CSE offers include job fairs for employers to meet with potential employees, courses that teach specific skills that may be required for jobs, workshops that teach the necessary skills for the job application process and more.

“We work to connect local businesses with qualified employees, provide access to a statewide database of job openings, offer quick links to the most up-todate job market research, assist with resume writing

and interviewing techniques and offer educational workshops to sharpen job search skills,” CSE Chief Executive Officer Dr. Marcus McBride said.

Under the “Job Seekers” menu on careersourceescarosa. com, job seekers can view upcoming job fairs, find a link to search for job openings, register for workshops and courses, and discover more programs such as the “Tobacco Free Assistance Program” and “Federal Bonding Program.”

CSE offers multiple job fairs throughout the year to connect employers with employees in person. There are two job fairs currently scheduled for this month; the first one is on February 2 from 9 am to noon at Pensacola State College (1000 College Boulevard), and the second job fair is on February 21 from 6 pm to 8:30 pm at the Milton High School gym (5445 Stewart Street). Upcoming job fairs can be viewed directly at careersourceescarosa. com/upcoming-job-seeker-events.

PENSACOLA MAGAZINE | 41

If you cannot make it to one of the job fairs, or you just want to browse available jobs, the CSE website links to employflorida.com, which allows job seekers to search through local, regional and national postings. If a job seeker finds a job they may be interested in applying for, CSE helps the process go smoothly by providing workshops that help prepare job seekers for the application process.

CSE offers a variety of virtual and in-person workshops to help job seekers that are looking to strengthen their resumes or learn new skills. These workshops can teach basic computer skills and programs, discuss how to create a resume and fill out a job application, and conduct mock interviews to help job seekers prepare for the interviewing portion of the application and hiring process. The workshop schedule and registration links can be found at careersourceescarosa.com/jobseekers/workshops.

If a job seeker is looking to learn a more in-depth skill, they can take advantage of “Metrix Learning,” which is an online learning platform that allows job seekers to complete courses and earn certifications. Popular certification programs include Microsoft Office, Project Management and CompTIA. “After passing courses, jobseekers can download and print official certificates of completion to bring on interviews to show employers they have the skills they’re looking for,” Dr. McBride said.

In addition to these workshops and courses, CSE offers several more specific programs like their “Tobacco Free Assistance Program” and “Federal Bonding Program.” CSE partnered with Tobacco Free Florida to help support tobacco users and offer their Tobacco Free Assistance Program. Tobacco usage is an expensive and damaging habit that may also limit users from working at a tobacco-free company. Unlike some tobacco-quitting programs, CSE’s is free.

The Federal Bonding Program allows “at-risk” job applicants to become employed. These applicants may be ex-offenders, have a history of addiction, were dishonorably discharged or cannot secure employment without bonding services. Should a negative incident occur, this program allows employers to protect their businesses against potential losses caused by the “at-risk” employee. To view the details on these two programs and find a full list of all programs that CSE offers, see the “Programs” menu on careersourceescarosa.com.

CSE’s programs and services are available to every member of the community, with no costs or requirements associated with receiving help from CSE. Anyone can stop by one of the three CSE locations throughout the area.

“All individuals seeking employment and/or assistance with training programs that lead to employment should visit CSE," Dr. McBride explained. "Our desired goal is to be the number one resource for job seekers and businesses,”

CSE also offers specific services for active-duty and retired military, which can be viewed under the “Veterans” menu on their website. A few of these services include the “The DoD SkillBridge”— which is an internship program that helps active-duty service members receive internships with a company in their desired career field— and the Military Family Employment Advocacy Program— which assists the spouses and dependents of military members to become or stay employed.

“Veterans have priority of service and will be connected with a team member from the Veterans’ team at CSE to connect them to the many available resources for those interested in transitioning to civilian employment and/or

42 | FEBRUARY 2023

training programs for employment,” Dr. McBride said.

CSE wants to help people succeed. They offer “Career Assessment Testing,” which is an assessment that job seekers can take to help identify their strengths, skills and interests to better determine what types of jobs they would be fit for. CSE also offers appointments for one-on-one career counseling to job seekers who would prefer that type of assistance.

Whether you are new to the area and are looking to get your feet on the ground or you are a working professional looking to switch career paths, CSE has you covered. From their online course and workshop offerings to their individual career counseling, they have something that can be beneficial to any workforce professional.

If you are interested in learning how the services provided by CSE may be able to help you, you can stop by one of their three locations or visit their website, careersourceescarosa.com.

CSE’s Three Locations:

Pensacola Career Center Escambia County

6913 N. 9th Avenue, Pensacola, FL 32504

Phone: (850) 607-8700

Hours: Monday through Friday

8 am to 4 pm

Milton Career Center Santa Rosa County 5723 Highway 90 Milton, FL 32583

Phone: (850) 983-5325

Hours: Monday through Friday

8 am to 4 pm

Century Career Center Escambia County 7995 North Century Blvd Century, FL 32535

Phone: (850) 366-4164

Hours: Monday through Wednesday

8 am to 3:30 pm

These policies have exclusions and limitations. For cost and complete details of coverage, contact your local insurance agent or Florida Blue. The amount of benefits and premium will vary depending upon the plan selected. Florida Blue is a trade name of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Torgersen Causey Combined Insurance Services, Inc. is an Independent Broker of Florida Blue. TCBenefitsGroup.com 850.433.9996 Please call us in advance of your benefits renewal for a consultation. 1403 E. Belmont St. Pensacola, FL  32501 Todd
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Sunday’s Child to award $120,000 in grants to Pensacola area nonprofits

Sunday’s Child, a Pensacola Bay Area member-based philanthropic group that promotes LGBTQ+ inclusion and equality by awarding grants to significant charitable and economic initiatives, recently held its annual Grant Season kickoff event to celebrate completion of its 2023 membership drive. President Jacey Cosentino announced the $120,000 raised from among its 182 members will enable the organization to award six grants of $20,000 each to Pensacola-area 501(c)3 nonprofits that demonstrate a commitment to diversity, inclusion and equality.

“I have been a part of Sunday’s Child for more than 5 years, and I have seen our grants change the lives of those around us,” President Jacey Cosentino said. “We have been moved to tears by the stories that have led many to start and build non-profits that solve some of the most pressing issues in our community— hunger, inequality, animal welfare, education, health, and so much more. We are making a difference in our community—one grant at a time.”

Sunday’s Child envisions a fully accepting and inclusive Pensacola Bay Area that embraces LGBTQ+ citizens and their contributions to the community. Launched in 2014, Sunday's Child individual members or member ensembles donate $1,000 annually, with 100 percent of funds going toward grant awards. Since its inception, $764,250 has been awarded to local charities in the Pensacola Bay Area.

Sunday's Child funds projects that align with its mission, vision and areas of interest. The organization will present a grant workshop for nonprofits interested in learning about the grant process on Thursday, February 2, 2023. Area nonprofits are invited to submit a letter of intent to apply for a grant online by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 22, 2023. All letters of intent will be reviewed to verify each organization’s eligibility to apply for a grant. Applications are due Thursday, March 15, 2023 by 5:00 p.m. Grant applications are vetted by members and the winners are determined by the votes of Sunday’s Child members at its annual meeting in June. For more information on Sunday’s Child and its grant process, visit sundayschild.org.

Around the Region

Mayor Announces Investments in Public Safety, City Strategic Planning and Maintenance

h e C i t y o f P e n s a c o l a g r o w a n d p r o s p e r

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P l a n n i n g a n d b u d g e t i n g f o r f u t u r e m a i n t e n a n c e o f c i t y p a r k s o n a r o t a t i n g s c h e d u l e

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R e p a i r s a n d i m p r o v e m e n t s t o C i t y H a l l t o e n s u r e i t i s a n i n v i t i n g , c o m f o r t a b l e a n d s a f e p l a c e f o r e m p l o y e e s a n d v i s i t o r s

Mayor D.C. Reeves has announced plans to allocate funding from the City of Pensacola's budget to make significant investments in three vital areas: Public safety, strategic planning, and City parks and facilities maintenance.

The funding allocation aligns with Mayor Reeves' commitment to ensuring public safety for all city residents, along with his vision for creating a cohesive strategic plan to help ensure the City of Pensacola's success in the future.

Funding for the majority of these initiatives will come from carry-forward funding, which is unspent money from the Fiscal Year 2022 budget.

The Mayor's initiatives include the following items:

Public Safety

• Technology Upgrades: Multi-million dollar technology upgrades for officers, vehicles and body cameras, including integrated technology and higher quality video.

• Additional CRA Officers: Two additional officers in the downtown urban core through the Community Redevelopment Agency, improving public safety in frequently visited areas.

• Tactical Rescue Vehicle: New tactical vehicle to replace PPD's outdated SWAT van, providing enhanced safety for officers in highly dangerous situations.

• Additional Barricades: Additional barricades to help keep our citizens safe at parades and large scale events in the city.

• Deputy Fire Chief Position: Restored Deputy Fire Chief of Operations position for the Pensacola Fire Department.

• Traffic Calming Measures: Street calming, new sidewalks and traffic signage to improve safety.

• Security Fencing: New security fence at PPD headquarters to replace broken fencing and ensure the safety of officers.

PENSACOLA MAGAZINE | 45
Sunday's Child 2022 Grant Winner, Ella L Jordan
STRATEGIC PLANNING & MAINTENANCE INVESTMENTS N E W P O S I T I O N S T O I N V E S T I N C I T Y S S U C C E S S Mayor D C Reeves C I T Y - W I D E S T R A T E G I C P L A N C I T Y - W I D E L A N D D E V E L O P M E N T C O D E S T U D Y C I T Y - W I D E S A L A R Y A N D F T E S T U D Y P A R K M A I N T E N A N C E B U D G E T N e w S e n i o r G r a n t W r i t e r p o s i t i o n a n d E c o n o m i c & N e i g h b o r h o o d D e v e l o p m e n t D i r e c t o r p o s i t i o n d e d i c a t e d t o h e l p i n g t
Photo by Meg Burke
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Around the Region

Strategic Planning

• City-Wide Strategic Plan: Comprehensive Strategic Plan to evaluate and plan holistically for the City of Pensacola's future.

• City-Wide Land Development Code Study: A comprehensive look at the city's Land Development Code to identify potential areas for improvement.

• City-Wide Salary and FTE Study: A study of all City of Pensacola employee salaries and full-time equivalents to ensure equitable pay for all staff.

• Congestion Management Plan: A plan to help identify future needs and foster economic development as the city continues to grow.

• New Positions to Invest in City's Success: New Senior Grant Writer position and Economic & Neighborhood Development Director position dedicated to helping the City of Pensacola grow and prosper.

Maintenance

• Public Safety Building Assessment:Assessment of Pensacola Police Department and Pensacola Fire Department headquarters to assess the greatest needs.

• Park Maintenance Budget: Planning and budgeting for future maintenance of city parks on a rotating schedule.

• Roger Scott Pool Bathrooms: Repairs to the bathrooms at Roger Scott Pool to better serve residents and pool guests.

• McClellan Road Sidewalks: New sidewalks on McClellan Road to enhance safety for pedestrians and allow safer access for students walking to Cordova Park Elementary School.

• City Hall Improvements: Repairs and improvements to City Hall to ensure it is an inviting, comfortable and safe place for employees and visitors.

The carry-forward funding is on the agenda for the Thursday, Jan. 19 City Council meeting.

UWF Names Gary Liguori as Next Provost

University of West Florida President Martha D. Saunders announced the appointment of Dr. Gary Liguori as provost and senior vice president, effective Jan. 23, 2023. In his role as provost, Liguori will function as the institution’s chief academic officer. The selection follows an extensive interview process with open meetings and included input from University leadership and the University community.

“Dr. Liguori rose to the top of an impressive list of candidates for the position,” Saunders said. “His breadth of experience and passion for public higher education won strong support from the campus community. I'm looking forward to his leadership in academic affairs.”

Prior to his appointment, Liguori was the inaugural dean of the University of Rhode Island College of Health Sciences where he directed seven health-related academic departments and six external clinics. As dean, Liguori boosted professional advising in his college, created a Teaching Fellow initiative, supported the creation of new academic units or degrees and secured year over year increases in sponsored research grants and annual giving to the college.

“Serving as the next provost at the University of West Florida is a tremendous professional honor, and I am grateful to President Saunders, Search Chair Dr. Greg Tomso and the entire search committee for their confidence in me,” Liguori said. “The foundation created at UWF by President Saunders is incredibly strong and has the University making significant gains each and every year. I'm excited to be part of that trajectory, and to help bring to fruition the goals set forth in the current strategic plan. I also want to thank the leadership of the University of Rhode Island for their support and encouragement during my time as dean, which has prepared me well for the challenges and opportunities I'll encounter at UWF.”

With nearly 30 years of experience in higher education, Liguori has served in multiple academic roles at various institutions including University of Tennessee Chattanooga and North Dakota State University. He also serves on numerous boards and was recently appointed as the inaugural editor-in-chief of the American College of Sports Medicine’s open access journal “Exercise, Sport and Movement.”

Liguori earned a bachelor’s degree in fitness/wellness from the University of Central Missouri, a master of science degree in cardiac rehabilitation/exercise science from East Stroudsburg University and a Ph.D. in wellness from North Dakota State University.

46 | FEBRUARY 2023
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ON THE MARKET a

Real Estate Section

This Section

PENSACOLA MAGAZINE | 49
51. By the Numbers: A Look at December's Market Highlights 52. How Well Do You Know Your Home's HVAC System? 56. 4 Ways to Make Your Home Come to Life with Colorful and Patterned Tile In

Call for Submissions!

We are in search of the next Pensacola bride, groom or couple to grace the cover of Pensacola Magazine Weddings

2023

If you have recently been married and have interest in appearing on the cover of the annual Weddings issue of Pensacola Magazine in April, visit ballingerpublishing.com/weddings2023 and submit up to three high-resolution images of your wedding or styled shoot for a chance to be featured on the next cover!

SUBMISSIONS DUE BY March 1 , 2023

Editorial-style shots by a professional photographer are preferred. Please include the full name(s) of the bride, groom or couple as well as the photographer. Visit ballingerpublishing.com/weddings2023 for submission guidelines and complete details.

BY THE NUMBERS

A Look at December's Market Highlights

Market Highlights

4Q sales were down 28% compared to the same period last year. Total sales for the year were 6% less than 2021.

42 DAYS ON MARKET

December sales were up 12% compared to November, yet were 34% less than last December.

For

356

310k PENDING SALES

The average DOM for residential and condos combined ended the year at six weeks, up from two weeks last July.

MEDIAN SALE PRICE

610

NEW RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS

Single Family inventory was up 34% and condo inventory improved 17% compared to last December.

December pending sales rebounded 36% compared to November and were the highest on record for the month.

PENSACOLA MAGAZINE | 51
Data courtesy of the Pensacola Association of REALTORS ®
Sale

How Well Do You Know Your Home's HVAC System?

How well do you know your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, or HVAC, system? Like any product, you want to keep it in working order, and being HVAC savvy will help you keep this vital equipment working more efficiently regardless of the temperatures outside.

Here are some important aspects of your HVAC system you should know:

The Average Lifespan of HVAC

Generally, with proper maintenance most residential HVAC systems have a typical lifespan between 10 to 20 years. For instance, an increase in dust on surfaces in your home could be a signal to replace the furnace filter, which should be done monthly for optimal performance. Loud noises from the HVAC or inconsistent room temperature can also indicate the need for maintenance or an upgrade.

Although an HVAC may continue to provide comfort during this timeframe, the average homeowner may still seek to replace an HVAC system during this period for a variety of reasons, such as rising energy bills which could also be a signal that the HVAC is not operating as efficiently as newer models.

State-of-the-art HVAC Technology

While most people are familiar with central HVAC systems, some homeowners might

not know about "mini-split" systems. A "mini-split" system, typically ductless, both heats and cools. There is an indoor and outdoor unit; the outdoor unit does most of the work while the indoor unit distributes the heating or cooling.

Mini-Split HVAC units with inverter technology, like those from LG Electronics, provide zoned heating or cooling where you need it, all while providing you with an opportunity to reduce your reliance on fossil fuel. This ductless system allows you to select comfort settings for each zone or room in your home and then control the temperature, volume, and direction of airflow, all according to your preference. ENERGY STAR® certified models are available and, in addition to being more eco-friendly than a traditional HVAC system, can help cut your cooling costs by up to 30 percent.

Know the SEER Rating

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating of your air conditioner is a measurement of the product's cooling output in comparison to the total electric energy input. The SEER rating, which can range from 13 to over 30, represents the heat pump cooling and air conditioning efficiency.

You'll want to know the rating to help you understand the efficiency of your unit when it works at its maximum poten-

tial. In general, the higher the rating, the better. For example, your air conditioner should have a SEER rating of at least 14.5 to qualify as an ENERGY STAR product.

Benefits of ENERGY STAR

The gold standard for energy efficiency is ENERGY STAR, a U.S. government-backed program that helps consumers and businesses easily identify products designed and built to meet above-average efficiency standards. Home products, including HVAC systems, which achieve a certain degree of energy efficiency while also meeting usability and convenience requirements, earn the rating. In fact, heating and cooling costs could be cut by up to 20 percent versus traditional HVAC products by using ENERGY STAR certified models.

Keeping your heating, ventilation, and HVAC equipment well-maintained can have a significant effect on your utility bills and will help you catch small issues before they snowball into financial burdens. Replace the air filter regularly, have a maintenance expert evaluate your system twice a year in the spring and fall, and report any concerns to your HVAC provider between planned visits. Ready to make the switch? Consider an LG HVAC unit by contacting a contractor to learn more about upgrading your system or installing a new unit.

52 | FEBRUARY 2023
NAI Pensacola 24 West Chase Street Pensacola, FL. 32502 naipensacola.com COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE SERVICES CAMERON CAULEY, MiCP, CCA,SIOR SENIOR COMMERCIAL ADVISOR President- Property Management 850. 291.3341 cell ccauley@naipensacola.com Closed Transaction Value Exceeding $100MM 1.5 MM SF Property Management Portfolio 100% Satisfaction Rate Cauley working on new.indd 1 12/16/2022 2:54:19 PM Florida’s Top Properties 24 West Chase Street Suite 100 floridastopproperties.com Eric Milstead Senior Residential Real Estate Broker 850-221-0443 Buying or Selling? In today’s tight market you need THE EXPERT. • Over $100 Million in Closed Sales • Seasoned Marketing Specialist • Valuation Expert • Licensed Since 1992 Milstead 20 22.indd 1 4/18/2022 1:18:03 PM
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4 Ways to Make Your Home Come to Life with Colorful and Patterned Tile

Whether you are looking at making a dramatiC statement or adding a PoP of Color to a more neutral sPaCe, tile is an excellent and expressive choice for any home renovation project. Because of the range of glazes, surface patterns and materials, there are virtually limitless options to elevate and personalize your home.

Tile's expressive nature allows you to define your spaces with pattern, color and personality. You can use tile to update your flooring, create a focal point within a room - like a coffee nook, bar area or fireplace - or as decorative borders.

If you're considering updating your home's design, check out these four ways you can create welcoming and unique spaces using tile.

1. Ideal for Kitchens

Because of tile's versatility and vast range, it's a natural choice for adding color and pattern to your kitchen. For example, if you have a white kitchen, choose a colorful tile with interesting patterns or textures to draw the eye. A benefit of using tile in the kitchen is that depending upon the tile selected, it can also provide the strength and durability to address any cooking misadventures with its easy maintenance.

For a stunning kitchen backsplash that presents an artful,

visually compelling pattern within a room, opt for a textured tile like the bespoke Senso by Kelly Wearstler collection. Designed by award-winning American designer Kelly Wearstler in a collaborative partnership with ANN SACKS and handcrafted in its Portland, Oregon, factory, this stoneware tile collection imparts the beauty of plaster without the upkeep and expense.

"Plaster has such a beautiful hand quality," said Wearstler. "It is a favorite application for subtle, yet standout features in an interior

... translating this subtle surface into versatile stoneware opens the potential for truly striking design moments throughout the home."

2. Bold Patterns for Bathrooms

Tile is also an excellent choice for bathrooms for many of the same reasons it's become so popular for kitchen surfaces. Its water-resistant quality makes it the perfect material to add color and pattern to showers, walls and flooring.

The ANN SACKS Liaison by Kelly Wearstler Tuxedo Check tile pattern offers the natural colorations and veining of marble. The stone tile's durability and bold design make it a practical and visually striking choice for a bathroom renovation.

"There is an earthiness to these tiles and a rich tactile quality natural to these designs that I love," said Wearstler. The collections of geometric patterns and symmetry of these marble tiles provide contrast, soft shading and textural nuance to any bathroom project.

3. Outdoor Spaces

Tile isn't limited to indoor design. It's tough enough to withstand the natural elements as well as daily use. It's a versatile option for pool surrounds, fountains, pavers, and outdoor kitchens and patios.

The Liaison Linqs collection is a great choice for outdoor projects, depending on climate and method of installation. Like the Tuxedo Check pattern, the geometric designs are imaginative and playful, with visual textures and

natural colors that add depth and composition to any space.

4. Adding Decorative Touches

While tile is a great material for big projects, it also excels as a decorative element. Ceramic tile is a superb choice to create decorative accents throughout your home.

It can range from traditional to contemporary in approach with various colors, shapes and patterns to help you express yourself. Whether in an imaginative fireplace surround, intriguing trim, elegant border or sophisticated backdrop, there is virtually no limit to the creativity and level of customization you can achieve.

Wearstler's Scout tile collection by ANN SACKS pushes boundaries with ornamental linear, geometric and curvaceous shapes that draw focus to accentuate spaces - large and small - from dramatic feature walls to intricate borders, and can be mixed and matched to create one-of-a-kind installations. Also handcrafted in Portland, the collection's range of custom glazes, colors and distinct designs was designed to make a space come to life.

Are you ready to add intrigue and variety to your home? Using these four tips, you can creatively incorporate tile into your interior and exterior spaces for a simple yet striking renovation. To view ANN SACKS Kelly Wearstler Collection designs and other ANN SACKS tile and stone options, visit ANNSACKS.com.

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