Monday, September 29, 2008

Dale Chihuly In St. Petersburg

The Arts Center of St. Petersburg is embarking on a major expansion that will feature a beautiful new building on Central Avenue. The central component of the project will be the first ever museum of glass art by visionary artist Dale Chihuly. Chihuly is credited with being the first person to take art glass out of the studio and into the museum. His colorful organic creations grace public spaces, corporations, and museums all over the world.

The groundbreaking for Phase 1 took place this past Friday, and was well attended by supporters and city and county representatives. Evelyn Craft, Executive Director of the Arts Center, gave a short history of the Center and introduced local philanthropist Beth Ann Morean, whose generous gift made the new building possible.

St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker gave his enthusiastic stamp of approval on the project and welcomed Dale Chihuly, appointing the artist an honorary citizen of St. Petersburg.

Scheduled for completion in spring 2010, the Arts Center and Chihuly Collection will join a new Dali Museum building, expanded Museum of Fine Arts, and Florida Holocaust Museum, making St. Petersburg a premiere cultural destination.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mr. America

This new mixed-media painting titled Mr. America is one of a series on familiar iconic figures that I'm presently working on. Others in the series are The Housewife, The Clown, The Attorney and a Gulf Coast heroic figure, The Hurricane Survivor. Watch this space, more to come.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Favorite Gustav

We are deep into summer here in Florida and hurricanes are stacked up over the South Atlantic like 747s coming into La Guardia. Weather forecasting has become so sophisticated we know instantly when one of these swirling dervishes spins out of Africa. I can't decide if long term forecasts are a good thing or another opportunity for high anxiety.

Perhaps early homesteaders had it right after all. When they saw their pigs sailing through the air, they knew it was time to go. And going was probably easier back then; hitch up the wagon, load the family in and head out. With the population nearing two million, evacuating from the Tampa Bay region would not be so easy today.

I'm putting my faith in the fact that this area hasn't had a direct hurricane hit since 1921. While ruminating on all of this, I thought of another Gustav, a kinder, more gentle one, Gustav Holst, the English composer of The Planets. As Hurricane Gustav raced up the Gulf, 400 miles to the east, I drew a picture of the composer.