Polk Museum of Art Closes, Reschedules Events Due to Hurricane Irma

Due to Hurricane Irma, the Polk Museum of Art will be closed beginning Friday, Sept. 8 and remain so until further notice.

Museum staff are working Thursday and Friday to secure the building by removing art from the galleries and securing it in a safe storage location.

The museum has rescheduled several events to the following dates:           

  • Art Lab originally scheduled Sept. 9 is rescheduled to Sept. 16 at 10:30 a.m.
  • VSA Student Reception originally scheduled Sept. 9 is rescheduled to Sept. 16 at 11 a.m.
  • Point of View Gallery Talk with Dr. Alex Rich originally scheduled Sept. 8 is rescheduled to Sept. 22, noon-1 p.m.
  • Access Art: Special Needs scheduled Sept. 9 is canceled. It will resume on Oct. 7 at 11 a.m.

Additional changes occurring during the week of Sept. 10 are as follows:

  • School tours are canceled all week.
  •  Programs and meetings scheduled Sept. 11-13 will be rescheduled.
  • Additional programmatic determinations will be made after the storm passes.

Meet the Judge of MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake 2017

Each year, numerous cash awards are presented to artists whose work is on display at the Polk Museum of Art’s MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake, and one judge plays the important role of determining those winners.

Jennifer Sudul Edwards will serve as the judge of the fine arts competition for this year’s edition of Mayfaire, held May 13-14, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Edwards has worked as the curator at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, North Carolina since June 2015. During her time there, she has organized seven exhibitions, and she is preparing a survey of the pioneering kinetic artist Jean Tinguely.

She grew up in the New York suburb of Freehold, New Jersey where her father worked in advertising at J.C. Penney, and her mother was an English tutor, according to a Charlotte Observer article.  As a child, she frequented the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her mother, who enjoyed seeing the Asian collection. Edwards preferred the Egyptian exhibits.

This lover of European modern artists graduated from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in English and an art history minor in 1992. In 2004, she earned a master’s degree from Hunter College in Manhattan.

She went on to earn her doctorate in 2014 from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, and wrote her dissertation on the early works of Niki de Saint Phalle under the advisement of Linda Nochlin and Robert Storr. She spent seven years in Los Angeles and held curatorial jobs at Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California while pursuing her doctorate.


Art Authentication & Conservation Lecture

If you’ve ever wondered how art experts determine authentic works of art from fakes, here’s your opportunity to learn.

Author Rustin Levenson, president and founder of Art Care Conservation in New York and Miami, will offer these insights and more during a free lecture and book signing at the museum on Feb. 4, 2-4 p.m.

Levenson co-authored the prize-winning book “Seeing through Paintings” with Andrea Kirsh. It is a handbook that introduces the layperson to the examination of easel paintings from medieval times to the present.

During the lecture, Levenson will discuss how conservationists use the materials and techniques used in paintings to make art historical assessments and determine authenticity. She also will share some secrets of the conservation studio and the work performed in them. 

“The materials can authenticate the era of the painting,” Levenson says. “For example, if radiocarbon testing dates the canvas of a painting from 1979, it can't have been painted earlier than that, or if X-ray fluorescence shows the element Titanium, the work would have to be from the 20th century.”

“Seeing through Paintings” was awarded the American Library Association Excellence Prize.  The authors were also awarded the Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation Prize by the College Art Association and Heritage Preservation. The Boston Bookbuilders awarded “Seeing through Paintings” its prize for design. 

Levenson earned a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and a Diploma in Paintings Conservation from Harvard University. Her resume includes stints at the Fogg Museum, the Canadian Conservation Institute, The National Gallery of Canada, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

She is a Fellow in the American Institute for Conservation and The International Institute for Conservation, and has served on numerous professional committees as well as chairing the Paintings Specialty Group of the American Institute for Conservation.

Please RSVP for this lecture via email: Reservations@PolkMuseumofArt.org.

“Seeing through Paintings" is available for purchase at the book signing. Pre-orders are $42.50 and can be made by emailing Terry Aulisio at TAulisio@PolkMuseumofArt.org. 

(Photo via)

Collections Storage Refurbishment Nears Completion

The Polk Museum of Art has let out its proverbial belt a notch or two with the recent refurbishment of its Collections Storage area.

The $150,000 project funded through an anonymous donation creates additional space within the same amount of square footage for its growing body of work. The museum’s Permanent Collection has tripled since moving into its current location in 1988.

Just what is Collections Storage, you ask?  

“It implies a physical space, as well as a process,” Executive Director Claire Orologas says.

It is a dedicated space for storing artwork and related archival materials. It also is an ongoing process for caring for the collection.

“Good collection storage is a major component of any museum’s preventive conservation and collections care program,” Orologas says. “A well-planned and organized storage space reduces risks to the collection and provides accessibility.”

The museum’s Collections Storage includes two rooms – one that stores mostly 2D artwork, and the other is for 3D sculptures, including items from the Pre-Columbian, Asian and African collections. 

The construction project included enclosing a doorway to create one way in and out, which increases security, says Collections Manager Loren Plunkett. They also relocated a doorway to create room for additional shelving.

Much of the framed artwork in the Permanent Collection hangs on metal screens, but some of it is sturdy enough that it can be stored on shelves.

“This makes room for additional screen space needed for future acquisitions and gives us room for growth,” Plunkett says.

The frame shop was moved from the second floor of one of the Collections Storage rooms into an empty office, which opened up about 360 square feet of space. An added hinged gate enables curatorial staff to store large sculptures that are not often moved.

The project began in July 2016 and will be completed by mid-April when the shelving is installed.

Elves Shelves Returns to the Polk Museum of Art

Santa’s elves are helping children do some holiday shopping for their friends and family members with Elves Shelves at the Polk Museum of Art.

Elves Shelves runs Nov. 26 through Dec. 11, and features items priced mostly between $2 and $10. It is geared toward children ages 5 to 13, and is set up outside The Shop in the main gallery. 

This shopping event is held during regular museum hours, and it provides a comfortable, fun atmosphere for young shoppers who may have a limited budget to buy small gifts for their 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 giftwrapping station where children can wrap their gifts by themselves or with assistance. Staff and volunteers also can wrap gifts for children.


Southern Homes Becomes PMOA Strategic Partner

Polk County builder Southern Homes has joined the Polk Museum of Art’s Strategic Partnership program to provide free admission to the museum on Sundays through November 2017.

Becoming a partner was a natural next step for Southern Homes, which has donated to the museum for several years, says Southern Homes Marketing Manager Ashley Link.

“At Southern Homes, giving back to the community we call home is very important us,” Link says. “We believe that to have a vibrant community, there must be good schools, good hospitals, and good cultural activities; that includes an art museum.”

Executive Director Claire Orologas says the partnership is vital to the museum’s long-term success because it shows that the community understands the value the museum provides in terms of social, educational and economic benefits to the community.

“Partnerships such as this make the museum accessible to people from throughout Central Florida, including those in our community who otherwise couldn’t afford to visit a museum,” Orologas says.

As a hometown builder, Southern Homes operates under the philosophy that it is important to continually strive to make Polk County a better place to live. Through this museum partnership, Southern Homes is able to give back to their customers, and all community members, by ensuring they have free access to the museum.

“We are excited to help increase access to the museum so that children and adults gain more exposure to art of all varieties,” Link says. “We have such a tremendous cultural asset in our local Polk Museum of Art, and we hope that, as a result of this partnership, even more people will have the opportunity to experience it.”

The museum unveiled its Strategic Partnership program in 2013 and saw attendance increase 12 percent the first year. Since then, the program has made it possible to offer free admission every day the museum is open.

The Polk Museum of Art is located at 800 E. Palmetto St. in Lakeland. It is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays 1-5 p.m.


“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.