Newly appointed Flagler Auditorium Director Amy Fulmer cut the ceremonial ribbon.
When longtime choir teacher at Flagler Palm Coast High School, Amy Fulmer, took over the role of Flagler Auditorium Performing Arts Center Director on June 1, she spent time working at the concession stand, as an usher and at the front door to scan tickets.
“I just knew I needed to be in everybody’s shoes so I could listen to their problems and also have a little empathy for the situation — and also to see what works well and what didn’t work well and what I might want to change,” Fulmer said.
Fulmer was publicly recognized as the new director at a ribbon-cutting ceremony packed with local officials and residents on Monday, Aug. 5, to celebrate the approximately $2 million renovations and expansions that are officially complete at the auditorium.
“This ribbon-cutting has dual meaning to me,” Flagler Auditorium Governing Board President Laurie Alter said. “First, it’s the celebration of this new addition and the renovations, and it’s an on-going effort of expansion — allowing our auditorium to continue as a cultural entertainment center for Flagler County. And it also serves as a hub for arts in education within the Flagler County School system. And secondly, it reinforces the unique collaborative efforts of our governing board and our school district in support of the cultural arts for the entire community.”
Initial improvements began in 2015 with a grant from the Flagler County Commission and the Tourist Development Council for $150,000, which was used to install a new marquee.
Alter said that the Flagler County School District funded almost half of the $2 million for the facility.
The newest additions include a conference room, offices, upgraded box office, additional restroom facilities and technical upgrades.
The Florida Department of Cultural Affairs granted the auditorium $500,000 grant toward this expansion, and $650,000 was matched by the Auditorium Governing Board, Alter said.
“I also want to extend a very heartfelt thanks to Kim Carney, our past governing board president, and our dear friend Lisa McDevitt,” Alter said. “They had the vision and the tenacity to initiate this project.”
Former auditorium director McDevitt died in January following a long and successful tenure as director. Fulmer said the auditorium's mission “to enrich lives through inspirational and educational cultural experiences” will never change, even with a new director.
Fulmer does have a vision for the auditorium to be a vessel that unites locals around the arts.
“I would like to get more people involved in the community, of all ages,” Fulmer said. “I’d like people to see Flagler Auditorium as a place to come see a live performance, and I’d like to widen our age demographic.”
Fulmer said she's performed at the auditorium every year of her adult life, through her role as choral director at FPC, the last role of her nearly 30-year teaching career in Flagler Schools.
“Here, we’re able for the kids to really feel like they’re on a big stage,” she said. “And when they start when they’re really little, they never get nervous. My son grew up here, my son worked in the box office here, so Flagler Auditorium has shaped my adult life. I kind of call it home.”