Polk Museum of Art Announces Citizens Bank & Trust Mayfaire by-the-Lake 2019 Cover Artist

Susan Currier, Spring Joy, Mayfaire by-the-Lake Featured Image 2019

Susan Currier, Spring Joy, Mayfaire by-the-Lake Featured Image 2019

The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College has announced the cover artist for Citizens Bank & Trust Mayfaire-by-the-Lake 2019.

Susan Currier’s pencil and charcoal drawing titled, ‘Spring Joy,” will be the featured image for the 48th annual fine art show. Honored to have her work chosen, Currier was nearly speechless when she was asked to have her work represent the Polk Museum of Art and Mayfaire by-the-Lake, she said.

Currier’s art will be featured on Mayfaire T-shirts, posters and other materials used to promote the event that attracts more than 60,000 people to the shores of Lake Morton annually, as well as on the T-shirts for the 40th Annual Lakeland Runners Club Mayfaire 5k Road Race.

“Spring Joy” was inspired by a moment Currier captured here in Central Florida.

“I draw through direct observation in the field and then return to the studio to refine and complete my work,” Currier said. “One afternoon, by chance, I came across a Brahman giving birth. I captured a tender moment between the mother and her calf within their first hour together. The moment was truly special.”

Currier, a Florida artist who studied fine art at Ringling College of Art and Design, received a Merit Award last year for her drawings. After spending nearly a decade as a silver smith making jewelry, Currier redirected her creativity to charcoal on paper.

“Susan Currier is not new to Mayfaire, but last year she surprised us with new work,” Executive Director Claire Orologas said, “To our delight, she has turned to creating wonderful, fresh drawings that depict animals in their pastoral world.”

Citizens Bank & Trust Mayfaire by-the-Lake is presented on Mother’s Day weekend each year by the Polk Museum of Art. This year’s event is May 11-12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free to attend. For more information, visit the event’s website: https://www.mayfairebythelake.org.

PMA Receives Wells Fargo Foundation Grant for Youth Printmaking Program

The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College is pleased to announce that it has received a $2,500 Wells Fargo Foundation grant to help fund a program designed to increase access among disadvantaged youth to PMA art camps.

 

This grant enables the Museum to purchase a new printing press that will be used by 195 Polk County students from low- to moderate-income level families who will participate in their 2019 Summer Art Camp sessions.

“We are very grateful to the Wells Fargo Foundation for awarding us this vital grant that will supplement the cost of purchasing a new press,” Education Manager Ellen Chastain said. “We will now be able to teach students from all backgrounds and abilities how to work with a variety of printmaking techniques, including intaglio printing, which we could not offer previously due to not having a functioning press.” 

Increasing PMA’s ability to purchase needed equipment directly impacts access for Polk County students who do not have the means to purchase their own equipment and take these classes, Executive Director Claire Orologas said.

“We are thankful for the Wells Fargo Foundation’s support to provide greater access to printmaking classes for hundreds of youth who face financial barriers,” she said.    

The PMA Art Camps Printmaking Program will be integrated into the 2019 Summer Art Camp curriculum that offered daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for four two-week sessions from June 3-July 26. All classes are led by certified art teachers who provide students with a creative learning environment to explore various printmaking techniques, master fundamental skills, develop unique artistic visions and learn lifelong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that are transferable to any subject.  

To learn more about the PMA Art Camps Printmaking Program for Disadvantaged Youthand how to apply for financial-need and merit-based scholarships, visit https://polkmuseumofart.org/camps/. For more details or to ask questions, contact Ellen Chastain at 863-688-7743 ext. 227 or echastain@polkmuseumofart.org

Polk Museum of Art Opens SUN + LIGHT Exhibition

ThePolk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College is pleased to present “SUN + LIGHT,” a collection of works by contemporary artist Charles Williams, which opens Feb. 2.

Williams will discuss his exhibition, which explores black history and the treatment of African Americans throughout U.S. history, during a Point of View Gallery Talk at noon on Feb. 8. Admission is free.

“SUN + LIGHT” is a collection of works from Williams’ series titled, “Everyone Loves the Sunshine.” The exhibition juxtaposes Williams’ own personal encounters, past and present, with the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Williams attempts to strike a balance between the movement’s peaceful and violent protests, and of varied expressions of power. He recounts stories told to him by his grandmother about this period in U.S. history and the belief she passed down that would guide his work: “Stay in the light, stay positive.” 

Williams used old black-and-white photographs from the 1920s through 1960s that show people from different backgrounds coming together and uniting behind a common cause, according to a 2017 Charleston City Paper article on the series. Williams told the paper he sought this theme after multiple police brutality incidents were reported in 2016.

"There was one incident that really compelled me ... that led me to create this work,” Williams told the paper. “What I wanted to say with this work is look at how little we've changed. History is like looking at our own reflection. I think when you know where you’ve been and where you’ve come from you can reposition yourself to move forward." 

The concept of “SUN + LIGHT” references qualities of God and divine love, physical warmth and nurturance, and growth for all living beings, Williams said. The work also is inspired by the expressive and abstract paintings of Franz Kline and color theorist Joseph Albers.In applied color theory and explorations into the psychology of color, yellow represents observance, curiosity and cheerfulness.  

With Williams’ prominent use of yellow in this exhibition, he recognizes that we all hope to find our place in the sun, he said. 

Williams is a Georgetown, South Carolina native who holds a bachelor’s degree from Savannah College of Art and Design and a master’s degree in fine art from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

The exhibition runs through May 19. Admission is free.

Polk Museum of Art Offers French Cultural Immersion and La Francophonie in 2019

The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College offers the public a three-month French Cultural Immersion program series to coincide with its recently opened “Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist”exhibition on view through March 24. 

The series includes the following Degas-inspired free events:

·      Curator Talk and Tour from 6-8:30 p.m. on Feb. 7 and March 7.

·      Point of View Gallery Talk from noon-1 p.m. on Jan. 11, Feb. 8 and March 8.

·      Docent-Led Tour from 11 a.m. -noon on Jan. 19, Feb. 16 and March 16.

Concurrently, the PMA Education Department offers six-week, French-related art classes for families starting Feb. 4. The After School Art Family Programis offered on Mondays, 4:30-5:30 p.m. It is free for PMA members and $5 for nonmembers. A course titled, “Art Appreciation: 19thCentury French Art and the Birth of Impressionism” is offered on Tuesdays, 6-9 p.m. It is free for PMA members and $60 for nonmembers. 

The culminating La Francophonie Day Celebration on March 23 from noon to 4 p.m. pays tribute to the 300 million French speakers living on five continents. This free half-day program features a Degas Exhibition Curator Talk & Tour; Paris, Montreal and Port-au-Prince landscape painting for children and adults; French dance, music, singing, and poetry performances by Florida Dance Theater, Florida Southern College and Polk State College French students; and the Pearl of Nation Creole dance and singing troupe. Various French specialty cuisine will be available to purchase.     

Many French partnerships have been forged for these events, thanks to museum sponsors and liaisons including the Fishman Family Foundation of New York City, France Florida Foundation for the Arts of Miami, A-C-T Environmental & Infrastructure of Bartow, The Mahoney Group of Lakeland, and the Consulate General of Canada. Dignitaries attending the La Francophonie Day Celebration include the consul general of France in Miami, the France Florida Foundation for the Arts president, the consul general of Canada in Miami, the honorary consul of Belgium in Miami, and the honorary French consuls of Orlando and Tampa.       

In addition, Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz has declared March 23 as La Francophonie Day in Lakeland and will award proclamations to the French dignitaries at a 12:15 p.m. ceremony, where Florida Southern President Dr. Ann Kerr and PMA Executive Director Claire Orologas will speak. All Francophiles are encouraged to attend this program.   

 To help support these free La Francophonie activities, the Polk Museum of Art seeks additional sponsors. Interested partners should contact PMA Director of Arts Advancement Suzanne Grossberg at sgrossberg@polkmuseumofart.orgor call 863-688-7743 ext. 298. 

 For more details regarding art classes, contact the PMA Education Manager Ellen Chastain at echastain@polkmuseumofart.orgor call 863-688-7743 ext. 227. To learn more about the Museum’s 2019 French Cultural Immersion program series, visit https://polkmuseumofart.org.

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Penfield Library Opens to the Public

The Penfield Library, located on the second floor of the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College, will be open to the public on Fridays Jan. 11 through April 26, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The library is an excellent research resource for all members of the community and especially for students from throughout the Polk County School District and area colleges and universities, said PMA Executive Director Claire Orologas. It houses a specialized collection of monographs – books focused on the work of a single artist – and serials on art and art history. 

Florida Southern College librarians began cataloguing the library in late 2017. They processed 2,898 art journal and magazine volumes and issues, as well as 2,754 books and volume sets, said Marina Morgan, the metadata librarian at Florida Southern. 

A number of monographs and the art journal collection are among the most valuable assets, said Alex Rich, PMA’s curator and director of galleries and exhibitions. Rich also is an art history professor and director of Florida Southern’s art history program.

More information on the Penfield Library is available here.

Degas Exhibition Opens at PMA

Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist” opens Dec. 22 at the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College.

The exhibition seeks to shed light on the complex artist himself, his favorite themes, and the artists he called his friends. 

The works in the exhibition show an unexpected side of Degas — namely as a masterful draftsman, said Dr. Alex Rich, PMA’s curator and director of galleries and exhibitions. In addition to drawings, etchings, lithographs, and monotypes, the show features Degas’ photographs and a bronze sculpture. The exhibition also includes more than 40 works on paper by Degas’ artist colleagues, including Mary Cassatt, Édouard Manet, Paul Cézanne, Jean-Auguste-Dominque Ingres, Honoré Daumier and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Many of the subjects commonly associated with Degas’ work are featured in this exhibition, including ballerinas, horses and jockeys, café concert singers, bathers, beach scenes, and portraits of Degas’ peers. 

“The exhibition presents Degas lovers with an intimate glimpse at his early drawings, as well as works from his more mature period during which he created the unique visual explorations of Parisian life that have gained him global renown,” Rich said.

Ballerinas were Degas’ most familiar subject, and he was known for depicting them often in scenes of everyday life. For example, a lithograph from 1889, “Danseuse prés de la poêle,” depicts a ballet dancer not rehearsing or performing but standing beside a stove reading a newspaper. 

The earliest of his works in the show is an 1853 graphite drawing of his brother Achille, created when Degas was 19 years old and his brother was 15. In the portrait, Achille sits comfortably, slightly slouched and with one arm draped informally over the back of the chair upon which he sits, while appearing to look out just beyond the viewer as if lost in thought. 

The self-portraits in the exhibition — including a view in profile and an etching — illustrate how Degas saw himself as a young artist and help viewers visualize the man behind the legend. Many etchings in the show, like an 1857 self-portrait, speak to Degas’ manner of creating art and to his eye for the future commercial potential for his work, Rich said. 

Etchings in the exhibition are from plates Degas sold to Ambroise Vollard, an art dealer, publisher and distributor of prints by contemporary master artists. Before selling his etched plates to Vollard around 1910, Degas canceled them by incising a few thin lines through the final plates to make any further printings from them — especially any made after his death — notably less pristine than those first ones he printed by his own hand. 

“Prints made from Degas’ canceled plates look like they have scratches in them as a result, but this was Degas’ intention when he sold the plates for future printing,” Rich said. 

Although the plates and the cancelation lines are rendered by Degas, prints made from the canceled plates can forever be distinguished by their imperfect compositions. Degas wanted Vollard’s and others’ future versions of his prints to be distinct from those impressions made during his lifetime, Rich said. “The posthumous life of many of Degas’ works — including his now-beloved bronze sculptures which were cast only after his death after models found in his studio — offers a fascinating art history lesson in itself.”

The collection featured in the exhibition belongs to Robert Flynn Johnson, an art historian and art connoisseur, who curated the show from the works he has amassed over the past four decades.  

This exhibition, formally titled “Edgar Degas, The Private Impressionist: Works on Paper by the Artist and His Circle,” was organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions in Los Angeles, in association with Denenberg Fine Arts in West Hollywood.

The exhibition runs through March 24. The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College is located at 800 E. Palmetto St. It is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Admission is free. Please call (863) 688-7743 for more information. Read an essay written by Dr. Rich about the Degas exhibition here.

Polk Museum of Art Receives Duke Energy Grant for Youth Digital Arts Program

The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College is pleased to announce that it has received a $9,450 Duke Energy Foundation grant to help fund its Increasing Access to PMA Youth Digital Arts Program. 

This grant enables the museum to purchase much-needed digital art supplies that will be used by 200 Polk County students ages 7-13 from low- to moderate-income level families who will participate in the PMA 2019 Spring Break Art Camp and Summer Art Camp.

“We are extremely honored to receive this Duke Energy Foundation Community Impact award that will help us build our digital supplies inventory and offer more classes in illustration, animation and photography to underserved students,” Education Manager Ellen Chastain said. “The Polk Museum has a long, successful history of providing youth from economically challenged neighborhoods with high quality art education programs at no or low cost, and this grant will allow us to serve even more.” 

PMA Executive Director Claire Orologas said, “Increasing our ability to purchase additional supplies directly impacts access for our Polk County students who do not have the means to purchase their own equipment and take these classes. We are grateful for the Duke Energy Foundation’s support to provide greater access to digital art classes for hundreds of youth who face financial barriers.”    

The PMA Youth Digital Arts Program will be integrated into the 2019 Spring Break and Summer Art Camp curricula offered daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for one week during Spring Break, and for four two-week sessions in summer. All classes are led by certified art teachers who provide students with a safe and creative learning environment to explore various art techniques, master fundamental skills, develop unique artistic visions, and learn invaluable problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that are transferable to any subject.  

To learn more about the 2019 Spring Break Art Camp and Summer Art Camp Youth Digital Art Program and how to apply for financial-need and merit-based scholarships, visit https://polkmuseumofart.org/camps/. For more details or to ask questions, contact Ellen Chastain at 863-688-7743 ext. 227 or echastain@polkmuseumofart.org

PMA Announces New Mayfaire Title Sponsor

Mayfaire by-the-Lake, the iconic fine art show held annually each Mother’s Day weekend along the shores of Lake Morton, will usher in its 48thyear in 2019 with a new title sponsor: Citizens Bank & Trust.  

Mayfaire is presented annually by the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College.

“Mayfaire has such a great reputation in the art community and it is such a popular event that we didn’t have to think twice about becoming involved as the title sponsor,” said Greg Littleton, president and CEO of Citizens Bank & Trust. “We have always enjoyed our partnerships with the Polk Museum of Art and look forward to working with them on the Citizens Bank & Trust Mayfaire by-the Lake.”

Financial support from Citizens Bank & Trust, as well as from past title sponsors, is responsible for making the event possible and helping it achieve prominent status on Sunshine Artist Magazine’s “Best 200 Art Shows” list. Mayfaire by-the-Lake was ranked 45 on the list in 2018.

“Without the support of all of our sponsors, we would not have been able to achieve this stature,” PMA Executive Director Claire Orologas said. “We are honored to have Citizens Bank & Trust pick up the baton and help us continue to present this show annually.”

Citizens Bank & Trust Mayfaire by-the-Lake is May 11-12, 2019, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. More than 70,000 visitors enjoy the works of about 160 artists in this juried fine arts competition, with $17,000 in awards presented to artists each year. 

Santa’s Elves Fills Shelves for Young Shoppers

The elves are hard at work stocking gifts for Elves Shelves, the shopping experience for youth hosted by The Shop at Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College.

Elves Shelves starts Nov. 24 and runs until Dec. 9. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

Geared toward children ages 5 to 13 and set up outside The Shop in the main gallery, Elves Shelves features items priced mostly between $2 and $10. It provides a comfortable, fun atmosphere for young shoppers who may have a limited budget to buy gifts for family and friends. Children can make their lists and add up their gifts to see if they are within their budgets. 

Shop and Visitor Services staff and volunteers provide paper, pencils and calculators to help children. If they don't find what they are looking for on Elves Shelves, there are other low-cost items throughout The Shop. 

Elves Shelves also offers a free gift-wrapping station where children can wrap their gifts by themselves or with assistance. Staff and volunteers also can wrap gifts for children.

Admission to the Polk Museum of Art is free. The museum is located at 800 E. Palmetto St. Call (863) 688-7743, ext. 246 for more information.

PMA Pays Tribute to Cuban-American Art with New Exhibition

The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College is pleased to present an ode to exiled Cuban-American artists through an exhibition curated from works in the museum’s permanent collection. 

Exile: 50 Years of Cuban-American Art from the Permanent Collection” is on view through Jan. 13 and was guest-curated by Olga Nodarse Chao, who left Cuba for the United States in 1961. 

Cuban or Cuban-American collections abound in Miami and New York, but having this collection of works in Central Florida is rare and worthy of emphasis, Chao said. 

It features 14 works from 11 artists who exhibit a broad tapestry of talents, styles and preoccupations. The works represent different stages of the Cuban exile and arrivals in the U.S. 

The exodus from Cuba started in 1959 and continued into the early 1960s. It was not until the Mariel Boatlift of 1980 that the exile for political purposes escalated because the people of Cuba were rapidly losing their individual liberties and human rights.

Three untitled works from Roberto Estopiñán are from two of his best-known periods – “The Prisoners,” exhibited at Harvard University’s Fogg Museum in the early 1960s, and “The Fates,” based on the poem “Le Jeune Parc” by Paul Valery – and represent the Old Guard of the first Cubans who came to the States and who already were successful artists in Cuba. Estopiñán fled to the U.S. in 1961. 

The exhibition also includes works from some of the nine Cuban exile artists who exhibited their work in the 1983 show known as “The Miami Generation.” Mario Bencomo’s “Conquering Wind” is his reaction to Chernobyl.Carlos Macía’s “Astres” construction “is a true rarity and a beauty,” and is Chao’s favorite in the exhibition, she said.

The “Exile” exhibition comes at a time when Cuban and Cuban-American artists comprise one of the truly "hot" fields of contemporary art, Chao said, adding, “That is signaled by the dozens of exhibitions in the last few years in Europe and the United States, as well as the very high auction prices obtained recently by Cuban and Cuban-American artists.”

Chao said she hopes those who see the exhibition will gain an understanding of the “uphill battle the exiled artists, and indeed, all exiles,” have faced.