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art and poetry networking event

For the past five years, the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center has hosted Gulf Coast Leisure’s Art and Poetry Networking Event. In that time, GCL’s Brian Franklin (COO) and Marco Cruz (CEO) have grown this grassroots event into a well-known gathering place for poets, artists, musicians, and independent business owners. Get an exclusive view into these incredible founders and their groundbreaking monthly event, APNE.

Origin Story

In 2012, longtime friends Brian Franklin and Marco Cruz got the bright idea that became Gulf Coast Leisure. Franklin and Cruz saw the need for “something different” that had “potential growth among young professionals, artists, natives, and tourists”  in SWFL, and that’s how the Art And Poetry Networking Event come to be. Including Cruz and Franklyn, GCL’s team has grown to five core members: public relations manager Marissa Gonzalez, marketing director Allecia Hamilton, and audio-visual director Ariel Vasquez.

For the Community

Over the last five years, APNE has had one goal: “to create cultural artistic expression that brings SWFL artistic communities together.” From the community’s response, it’s clear that the GCL team has done just that. Largely, their goals have been accomplished by “being the most consistent, diverse, and cultured event in SWFL.” Some of the participating artists and performers have expressed deep gratitude to the Art and Poetry Networking event founders. “When a person comes to me and says, ‘You’ve just saved my life by allowing me onstage to speak my deepest inner thoughts,’ — well, let’s just say that’s what it’s all about for us,” says Cruz.

The Future of Art and Poetry Networking Event

Gulf Coast Leisure has accomplished so much in just a short period of time, but the company sees an even brighter future on the horizon. The team continues to be inspired by SWFL’s growing response to GCL events like APNE. GCL’s new website, launching summer 2017, will feature a member platform where artists can sell their work. As always, the future of APNE will be dedicated to showcasing local talent, and building a diverse, cultured artistic community. Want to help support GCL’s goals? Then follow them on Facebook and attend the next APNE, happening every third Friday of the month.