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Second in Key West Art & Historical Society Historic Walking Tour series:  Key West Writers and Artists

Key West Art & Historical Society continues it series of educational and entertaining walking tours led by local artist and historian Sharon Wells on Saturday, January 20 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, spotlighting the lives and locales of Key West writers and artists.

Said to have more writers per capita than anywhere else in the nation, Key West has long been synonymous with writers and artists, attracting the likes of Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Elizabeth Bishop, John Dewey, Tennessee Williams, Robert Frost, Jose Marti, Thomas Sanchez, Annie Dillard, and James Gleick, all who have called the island city “home.”

“Key West is infused with culture, history, intriguing characters and a tradition of “live and let live,” and has long lured authors, novelists, short-story writers, playwrights, biographers, journalists, publishers and literary agents to the frost-free, tropical city,” says Wells.

Wells begins the tour at the Custom House Museum, which Hemingway frequented daily to retrieve his postal mail when he lived here from 1931-1939, and finishes in front of the former Porter home on Caroline Street, where Frost wintered. Tour-goers will walk approximately a mile, with highlights to include the Audubon House, Capt. Tony’s Saloon, Sloppy Joe’s, and the Red Barn Theater. The cultural, historic, literary, and architectural heritage of these historic neighborhoods comes alive in her commentary and personal observations, anecdotes and involvement in Key West’s historic resources for nearly 40 years.

Originally landing in Key West in 1976 to help document the buildings for National Register of Historic Places expansion, Wells combined her many talents of writing, photography, painting and history to open her own gallery (Key West Light Gallery) and founded the now out-of-print Key West Walking & Biking Guide in 1984, upon which The Society tour offerings are based.  Today she turns her efforts to House History research and documentation for historic homeowners, her own art projects, and these tour offerings for Key West Art & Historical Society, of which she has long been a board member.

The tour series is presented by The Society as part of their commitment to providing activities and programs that highlight the abundant history and cultural assets of Key West and the Florida Keys.  Tickets are $25 for members, $35 for non-members. Register now as space is limited.  For more information, visit KWAHS.ORG/EDUCATION or call Adele Williams, Director of Education at 305.295.6616 extension 115. Your museums.  Your community.  It takes an island. 

KWAHS_Tour_Thomas McGuane

The former Elizabeth Street home of author Thomas McGuane is one of multiple landmark locations associated with Key West artists and writers that will be visited during the next Key West Art & Historical Society Historic Walking Tour led by historian, photographer and popular tour host Sharon Wells, on Saturday, January 20 from 10:00am – 12:00pm. (Photo by Guy de la Valdene)