Photographers from across the globe have long been drawn to the Custom House’s architectural majesty, and for good reason—with its stately archways and sweeping wrap-around porch set against the tropical landscape and horizon, the ornate, four-story red brick museum that stands sentinel over the island provides spectacular images for just about anyone with a camera or iphone. Now, with a $250 cash prize and tickets for two to go “Back In Time” to the Custom House’s 125th anniversary celebration fundraiser, it will provide that and more for three lucky people.
Hosted virtually by The Society, the free-entry competition will take place on Facebook and will award one winner from three separate categories—Color, Black & White, and Nighttime—with winners based on the amount of “likes” their post upload receives. Entrants are welcome to submit as many images of the exterior or interior of the building as they like until November 9th, when the contest officially closes.
“The Custom House, whether seen by land, sea, or air, has a powerful presence and with its 125 years of history, she draws you in,” says photographer and Key West Art & Historical Society board member Todd Feit. “For me, the Custom House provides a sense of comfort, and depending on the time of day, she glows with different colors of light.”
In addition to the photo contest, The Society commemorates the anniversary with the launch of a new exhibit—“Custom Made”— that hails the building’s majestic structure and the federal offices that occupied the space for decades. The exhibit, which runs until December 6, offers opportunities for entrants to get inspired by the architectural marvel’s finery: the grand staircase of carved wood, 20-foot high ceilings textured in intricately molded plaster, arched windows and doorways, eleven fireplaces, and the aforementioned immense wraparound porch that provided shade to residents and visitors conducting business in the building.
A celebration of the architectural crown jewel of Key West would not be complete without a gala event. “Back In Time”— a Key West formal fundraiser with a history twist— offers the contest winners and other partygoers a chance to break out their timely fashions on Wednesday, November 30 at 6:00pm for a costumed evening of revelry, music, dancing, and dinner at the Custom House and Westin Resort. Party proceeds will support the ongoing preservation needs of the building, a superb example of Richardsonian Romanesque Architecture and the only one of its kind in the Keys.
For more than 60 years, The Society has been steward to the iconic landmark structure that has served as the organization’s flagship museum since 1999, after after a multi-million-dollar restoration effort initiated by The Society and funded by the federal ISTEA program, the State of Florida, Division of Historical Resources, the Division of Cultural Affairs, many private foundations, businesses and individuals. Under the roof and along the grounds of this grand beauty, The Society continues to educate the local community and visiting public by preserving, interpreting and exhibiting the art, architecture and history of the Florida Keys.
For more information about the photo contest, the “Custom Made” exhibition or the “Back In Time” 125th anniversary celebration fundraiser, visit KWAHS.ORG. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.