“Visible Rhythms” Exhibition Opens at Lake Wales Arts Center

The Polk Museum of Art installed its second annual exhibition at Polk State College's Lake Wales Arts Center on Monday.

It is on view in support of the college’s annual Jewel of the Ridge Jazz Festival April 6-10 along the shores of Lake Wales, and remains through May 16.

The exhibition titled “Visible Rhythms” includes 22 works by 20 artists that are part of the museum’s permanent collection. They were chosen for their ability to visually correlate with the sounds from the jazz festival.

Although these works of art can be appreciated when viewed alone, their visual vivacity is enhanced when coupled with the rhythmic power of modern jazz, Curator Adam Justice says.

“Essentially, it's equating color with rhythm,” Justice says. “All of these pieces are abstract works that are characterized by their vibrant colors.”

This exhibition is one of many ways the Polk Museum of Art brings art to residents who live throughout Polk County and the Central Florida region, says Executive Director Claire Orologas.

In addition to this exhibition done in partnership with Polk State College, the museum is a partner in the Winter Haven arts incubator, The Outer Space Gallery, which opened in 2015. 

The Polk Museum of Art also has sculptures in Polk, Highlands and Lee counties as part of the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition.  

The Lake Wales Arts Center is located at 1099 FL-60. The center is open Monday- Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed weekends.

The Story Behind “Visible Rhythms”

In 1911, Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) penned his now famous treatise “Concerning the Spiritual in Art.” Through this momentous work, Kandinsky was the first artist to lay out the connections between music and painting, Justice says. He equated certain tones of sound with specific shades of color. For example, the lowest frequency tones, or bass sounds, were the auditory equivalent to deep blue hues.

People don’t connect sound and color exclusively with the ears and eyes, but with our souls, according to Kandinsky. He believed, as so many artists and theorists before him, that sensitivities to music and visual art are innate in every human, and we connect the two in our own respective and unique ways. By outlining the relationships between painting and music, Kandinsky helped us understand the basis for our spiritual interpretations of the two art forms.

Perhaps the best modern example of Kandinsky’s theory is the relationship between modern jazz and 20th-century abstract art. Just as a visual artist composes a canvas according to the interaction of color and shape, a jazz musician composes a piece of music according to the interaction of tone and rhythm. What ultimately connects these two sorts of compositions is the similar energy innate in each.

“Visible Rhythms” seeks to emphasize that energy.


Polk Museum of Art is Awarded its First Disney Grant

Walt Disney World Resort awarded a $12,000 grant to the Polk Museum of Art on March 4.

The money will be used for two youth-oriented programs in the Parker Street neighborhood.

The Parker Street Teen Program has about 12 participants who have created a business to design and sell clothing. This program incorporates the arts, entrepreneurship and life skills training, says Laura Putnam, outreach manager for the Polk Museum of Art.

Putnam works with teens to design, plan, develop and market a silk-screened clothing line. Profits from the T-shirt sales are split, with one half going to a local charity of the teens' choosing and the other being spent as a class. This unique aspect flips participants from being recipients of charity to being community benefactors, she says.

“The teens are doing everything from the ground up, which includes creating a business plan,” Putnam says. “Giving back to a local charity promotes civic engagement, and the role reversal from recipients of charity to community benefactors is a key component to the project.”

The Disney grant will help cover supplies, production and administrative costs for the program’s third year, which begins in October. Putnam also will use the funds to purchase iPads so participants will have access to design apps that will be useful in designing more clothing.

The remainder of the grant funds will be used in the Parker Street After School Program, which provides an outlet for about 80 children to express themselves creatively and safely.

(Image via)