By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - The Cultural Council of Indian River County is implementing a new program to help residents and tourists get involved in arts activities throughout the year.
The council will soon be offering a concierge service to the public, which will provide information and suggestions for restaurants, hotels and arts-related activities, such as concerts, shows and art exhibitions, said Barbara Hoffman, executive director of the Cultural Council of Indian River County.
The recommended establishments will come from a list of businesses that have agreed to sponsor the program, she said.
There will be no cost to the public for the service to recommend and direct people to the ticket offices of the arts and cultural events, but if people want the council to actually place the orders for the tickets and make reservations, a small handling fee would apply.
Savvy volunteers will man the phone systems during business hours and will be well-versed in the activities in and around Vero Beach and Indian River County, Ms. Hoffman said.
The idea for the service came after the council heard comments from several seasonal residents lamenting the fact that they were not aware of tickets for fall events going on sale before they were sold out, Ms. Hoffman said.
Some seasonal residents don't come down until December or January, but they still want to be a part of exciting lectures, concerts, plays and more. The council has the unique opportunity to connect people with the arts with the concierge service and thereby promote the arts at a whole new level.
"We are looking at it as part of our responsibility as cultural tourism," Ms. Hoffman said.
"We know what is available and we can develop a personalized and special tour for them," she said.
The council will draw from their annual arts and information calendar, which is available in print at the office, or online.
With the service, seasonal residents can call and learn how to book tickets to their desired events, or tourists can call for dining and entertainment suggestions and even have locations booked before they arrive, Ms. Hoffman said.
As far as she can discover, this is the first time in Florida that a nonprofit arts council has offered a free or low-cost concierge service, Ms. Hoffman said.
For more information about the concierge service, call (772) 770-4857. For more information about the Cultural Council of Indian River County, visit www.cultural-council.org.