Who We Are
The Gulf Alliance for the Local Arts (GALA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing and supporting the arts and all its forms in a way that promotes education, communication and appreciation throughout Gulf County.
GALA's mission is to inspire our community to recognize and enbrace the power of the Arts to enrich our lives, enhance our economic development and add value to our educational programs.
How Our Organization Began
In the spring of 2000, several arts enthusiasts gathered to discuss their desire for more cultural activities in the small rural communities of the Forgotten Coast. Everyone acknowledged the lack of an infrastructure to support arts and culture in our area. There was little communication between arts organizations and related groups either within a town, a county, or between counties. Artists in various disciplines were working throughout the area but often received no recognition. Arts information was usually unavailable or, when available, often haphazardly communicated to the public. It was also agreed that several sub-cultures, unique to the panhandle area, are taken for granted. Leaving the history of these indigenous cultures and their arts unrecorded could become a lost opportunity during the current period of rapid growth and development along the Forgotten Coast.
During the following two years several significant events occurred. An ad hoc group was formed to determine how to increase cultural activities in Gulf County. Residents from Franklin County and Mexico Beach in eastern Bay County joined forces with Gulf in a tri-county effort to support and develop the arts. At that time Suella McMillan representing FALA and ACE of the FL Department of Cultural Affairs offered her assistance. A needs assessment was conducted through a series of public meetings. There was an amazing turnout of over 70 enthusiastic participants. In the winter of 2002 the Gulf Alliance for Local Arts was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to serve Gulf County, and Mexico Beach, Florida.