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Dear Members and Friends of The Society,

What a wonderful year it has been for The Society! Looking back at 2013, we continued our long-standing children’s education program, opened several new exhibitions, launched new programs, forged new community collaborations and have planned even more exciting offerings for 2014 and beyond. I personally, would like to thank each of you for your annual memberships, contributions and support in making these offerings a reality.

We’re asking you to help build on this momentum with a year-end gift. Please consider giving a year-end donation on our website or call Christine Nottage at 305-295-6616 ext 111 to discuss your tax-deductible gift. Your contributions directly support the mission, programs and exhibitions of The Society.

Here are just a few of the highlights from the past year:

ArtCamp, our annual children’s summer art program, had over 40 students. Additionally, we were proud to present the program in collaboration with our friends at The Studios of Key West. In April of 2013 the Custom House Museum was honored to host An Afternoon with Mario, where Mario Sanchez’s relatives gathered to share their personal stories about Key West’s beloved folk artist.
The Custom House Museum opened several well-received exhibitions, each focusing on the island’s vibrant cultural and historic heritage.  Grits & Grunts, which opened in February, was the largest exhibition of Mario Sanchez’s work to date. Hello World: A Collection From the Attic showcased many of The Society’s never-before-seen objects from its collection. Depicting Hemingway: Guy Harvey Sketches ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ brought together the work of sculptor Terry Jones, marine conservationist and artist Guy Harvey and The Society’s collection to illustrate Ernest Hemingway’s importance to Key West. Industrious Key West explored the history of the region’s most historic industries. Tennessee Williams: The Playwright & the Painter displayed the artwork of Key West resident and legendary playwright, Tennessee Williams.
The Society also launched several new community programs in 2013. The Distinguished Speaker Series began this December and featured Diane Zolotow speaking about the history of cigar manufacturing in Key West. The Moonrise Party at the Lighthouse started in September with the Love Lane Gang and we look forward to many more parties there in 2014. In November, the Custom House Museum was featured prominently in the island-wide arts festival, Art! Key West!. The Museum, along with our Clinton Square neighbors, hosted The Old 91 Block Party, featuring live musical performances on the museum steps. For its part, The Society also unveiled the Custom House Mural Project, which called on local artists to create murals that are now on display in the windows around the first floor of the building.

As we look forward into 2014, The Society has a full schedule of exhibitions, programs, and events. For a complete list I encourage all of you to please visit our website for more information.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, myself and the KWAHS staff, we wish each of you and your families a happy holiday season and a joyous New Year!


Michael F. Gieda
Executive Director