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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MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake Returns to Lake Morton for 47th Year

The Polk Museum of Art’s MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake returns to Lake Morton May 12-13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. 

Celebrating its 47thyear, this juried art show is a great way to spend time with your mom on Mother’s Day weekend, but this annual event packs a ton of fun for the rest of the family, too.

Included during the weekend of activities is Mayfaire Saturday Night on May 12, 5:30-11 p.m. This free concert features the band MPiRE at the Frances Langford Promenade at Lake Mirror, as well as the MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire 5K Road Race presented annually by the Lakeland Runners Club. The evening ends with fireworks.

Events and activities occurring during Mayfaire include the Children’s Art Tent and Kids Zone with games and free, hands-on art activities designed for participation by children of all abilities. Live performances are held throughout the weekend on the front lawn of the Lakeland Public Library, and food trucks offer lots of tasty variety for everyone to enjoy. 

Art is available for purchase, from jewelry and pottery to paintings and sculptures in a wide range of price points. Mayfaire presents $17,000 in awards to artists annually, and this year’s winners will be determined by Mayfaire Judge Leland Michael Bryant. You can learn more about Bryant here.

An Adaptive Services Oasis is located on the library lawn to provide event accessibility information for people of all abilities. This will be staffed by volunteers who will provide assistance with communication, shuttle transport and information regarding reaching accessible entry points designed for people who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices. You can learn more about accessibility at Mayfaire here.

Mayfaire organizers select an artist’s work to serve as the event’s poster and T-shirt design each year, and this year’s image is by Orlando artist and long-time Mayfaire participant Tony Eitharong.You can learn more about Eitharong here.

Free parking and shuttle service is available, and free shuttles also run around Lake Morton and to the museum during the festival.

This signature event is one of the museum’s oldest traditions, and it has grown exponentially since its debut as a crafts fair on the front lawn of the Lakeland Public Library. More than 70,000 visitors from throughout Central Florida attend Mayfaire each year.


Visit https://www.mayfairebythelake.orgfor more information.

HeartMath® Comes to the Polk Museum of Art

Does your voice get shaky when you speak in front of an audience? Do you feel yourself breaking out in hives when you’re in a high-stress meeting? Do you get butterflies in your stomach when you anticipate an uncomfortable conversation with someone?

There are constructive ways of coping with these types of stressors, and a program taught by wellness consultant Kelly Andrews will teach these valuable techniques during a one-hour session in our galleries on Feb. 28 at noon. This free class, called HeartMath®, will be held quarterly.

“There is a lot of research and literature about the health benefits of visiting art museums, including the reduction of stress,” said Claire Orologas, the Polk Museum of Art’s executive director. “The HeartMath® class is another way to engage the public and to facilitate experiences with works of art that have meaning for them, which is ultimately what we want.”

Learn to Handle Stress

Andrews will teach resilience tools including basic emotional tracking techniques and simple breathing practices that help you prepare for, recover from or adapt to stress, anxiety and challenges. These tools will help shift your inner state to one of peace and stillness, even in the midst of chaos.

“We can learn to prepare our bodies for situations that may trigger anxiety, stress and sadness,” Andrews said, adding that the museum is a good space for this training because “it’s such a quiet, receptive environment. The magic of the energy in the space is that it just slows you down.”

Breathing techniques can be performed ahead of time to help calm nerves and promote clear thought. These methods provide a way to intentionally slow the heart rate and breathing.

This is beneficial because research shows there’s more communication from the heart to the brain than the other way around. Research also shows that energy levels are related to emotions, and emotions are directly connected to the ability to cope with stress. 

HeartMath® uses science-based technology and programs to help people take charge of their lives. The methods it employs help reduce stress and anxiety by increasing inner balance and self-security.

Breathing techniques and self-regulation tools help increase awareness in difficult situations. Instead of getting triggered, they enable a person to step back and address the situation calmly.

Trigger Emotions

“When we’re angry or sad, we don’t always realize it,” Andrews said. “For most of us, we have a trigger emotion.”

Those emotions are labeled high- or low-energy. High-energy negative emotions that deplete energy include anger, irritation and impatience. Low-energy depleting emotions include sadness, withdrawal and low anxiety.

Examples of high-energy renewing emotions are joy, passion, excitement and love, and low-energy renewing emotions include peace, serenity, ease and calm.

“A lot of people think they have to be in the ‘low-energy positive’ realm all the time,” Andrews said. “What’s cool about the research is that it doesn’t matter if the renewing energy emotions are high or low. They’re all beneficial.”

A Practical Tool with One Huge Benefit

These tools for developing resilience could have the most practical applications in your work.

“If you get your button pushed in a meeting, you can practice these techniques and they will help you dial down those emotions that are coming up,” Andrews said. “This is something you can do as you’re walking from one place to another or sitting in a staff meeting.”

One of biggest benefits people who practice these tools report is better sleep. Adults who sleep fewer than eight hours a night report higher stress levels than those who sleep at least eight hours a night, according to the American Psychological Association.

Register Today

Registration for this class is not required, but it is appreciated: Reservations@PolkMuseumofArt.org. For questions, call Membership and Marketing Manager Diana Smith: (863) 688.7743, ext. 249.


Join Us for Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live!

The Polk Museum of Art will take part in Smithsonian magazine’s 13th annual Museum Day Live! event on Sept. 23.

The event is designed to emulate the spirit of the Smithsonian Institution’s Washington, D.C.-based facilities, which offer free admission daily.

You could say that every day is Museum Day Live! at the Polk Museum of Art, because it offers free admission daily thanks to strategic partnerships with the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation, MIDFLORIDA Credit Union, the Share Foundation and Southern Homes. As a Smithsonian Institution affiliate, the Polk Museum of Art emulates the Smithsonian’s commitment to make learning and the spread of knowledge accessible to everyone.

“Even though admission to the museum is always free, we participate in this annual event to draw even greater attention to the Museum’s accessibility to everyone,” said Executive Director Claire Orologas. “Our participation also presents an opportunity to get the word out that we are here. There may be people in Central Florida who learn about us for the first time because they found us on the Museum Day Live! website.”

Those who visit the museum Sept. 23 will enjoy a variety of exhibitions:

·      Rembrandt’s Academy: Old Master Paintings from Private Dutch Collections, an exhibition organized by the Hoogsteder Museum Foundation, The Netherlands

·      The Figure in American Art: Florida Southern College’s New Art Museum Collection, organized by the Harmon-Meek Gallery in Naples, Florida

·      STATUS: fluid/dynamic

·      Rosenquist

·      Ancient Art of the Americas

You can learn more about these exhibitions here.

For more information on Museum Day Live!, please visit Smithsonian.com/museumdaylive.



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. 

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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.