Polk Museum of Art’s Summer Hours Begin June 1

The Polk Museum of Art begins its summer hours of operation on June 1, and it will be closed on Sundays through Labor Day.

Summer hours of operation are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, Florida, is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the arts in Central Florida. The Museum is one of the Top 10 art museums in the State of Florida, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the only art museum accredited by the American Association of Museums serving the 561,000 residents of Polk County. Museum hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesdays – Saturdays; 1-5 p.m. on Sundays (closed Sundays June 1 through Labor Day); and closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is free for everyone year-round, thanks to the following organizations and individuals: Tuesdays, thanks to Southeastern University; Wednesdays, thanks to a Friend of the Community; Thursdays, thanks to our partnership with the Chao Foundation; Fridays; Saturdays, thanks to MIDFLORIDA; and Sundays, thanks to Clayton & Beverly Hollis. The Museum is fully accessible.


Polk Museum of Art Announces Winners at 46th Annual MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake

The Polk Museum of Art is pleased to announce the following artists won awards at the 2017 MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake. The winners, their hometowns, the media they work in and their booth location at the show are as follows:

Best of show ($5,000):

  • John Mascoll, Safety Harbor, Fla., wood, Booth #99


Awards of Excellence ($2,000 each):

  • Glenn Lewis, Greeley, Co., photography, Booth #86-87
  • William Kidd, Miramar, Fla., clay, Booth #105


Awards of Distinction ($1,000 each):

  • Jack Hill, Deland, Fla., sculpture, Booth #93A
  • Claudia Melchiorr, Cape Canaveral, Fla., jewelry, Booth #159
  • Timothy Hall, Tampa, Fla., photography, Booth #133
  • Cristina Eve, Orlando, Fla., mixed media, Booth #123


Merit Awards ($500 each):

  • Garry Seidel, Davie, Fla., photography, Booth #82
  • Peggy Miller, Melbourne Beach, Fla., jewelry, Booth #71
  • Richard Currier, Micco, Fla., painting- oil and acrylic, Booth #93
  • Jeff Eckert, Tampa, Fla., drawing and graphics, Booth #112A
  • Russ Schmidt, Palm Bay, Fla., glass, Booth #146A
  • Chelsea Smith, Casselberry, Fla., drawing and graphics, Booth #58A


Honorable Mentions ($250 each):

  • Glenn Woods, Palm Harbor, Fla., clay, Booth #164
  • Mina Heuslein, Port Orange, Fla., clay, Booth #55
  • Lorrie Mason, Tampa, Fla., jewelry, Booth #148
  • Lawrence Packard, Winter Haven, Fla., drawing and graphics, Booth #121
  • R.L. Alexander, Celebration, Fla., painting- oil and acrylic, Booth #9


Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, Florida, is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the arts in Central Florida. The Museum is one of the Top 10 art museums in the State of Florida, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the only art museum accredited by the American Association of Museums serving the 561,000 residents of Polk County. Museum hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesdays – Saturdays; 1 – 5 p.m. Sundays; and closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is free for everyone year-round, thanks to the following organizations and individuals: Tuesdays, thanks to Southeastern University; Wednesdays, thanks to a Friend of the Community; Thursdays, thanks to our partnership with the Chao Foundation; Fridays; Saturdays, thanks to MIDFLORIDA; and Sundays, thanks to Clayton & Beverly Hollis. The Museum is fully accessible.



The Polk Museum of Art's MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake Brings Out the Art in Food This Year

What makes a great art show filled with beautiful works from around the country even better? Great food options!

New to the Polk Museum of Art’s MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake this year are elevated food options that pair well with viewing and purchasing fine art.

“We are pairing high quality food with high quality art this year,” says Mayfaire Coordinator Joy Williams.

Pairing No. 1- Cuban Flair and Cuban Fare

Cuban artist Miguel Fonseca is a ceramics artist who makes his inaugural appearance at Mayfaire this year. He was enamored with ceramics at a young age and began making art from recycled wet clay pipes and tiles. He developed his own style through the years and has been an innovator in his designs and style of figurines and pottery, as well as in firing techniques.

Visitors will get to see Fonseca’s brightly colored vases, sculptures, tiles and wall art at Booth No. 147. Once inspired by Fonseca’s work, consider heading over to the food vendor area for a ¾-pound Super Cuban or a Media Noche from Manolito’s Cuban Shop. Manolitos opened in 1977 in South Lakeland. Their food is so tasty, you’ll be dancing the mambo to the next art tent.

Pairing No. 2- Laughter is Good for the Soul; So is a Smokin Bowl

Austin, Texas photographer Lorri Honeycutt has dabbled in photography for years, and she loves depicting happy or humorous characters in "what if" compositions. Her macro photos are a mix of miniature figures posed in clever situations. Her goal is to make you think, and then smile. Honeycutt is new to Mayfaire this year, and you can see her photography at Booth No. 150.

We’ve paired the culinary artistry of Smokin Bowls with Honeycutt’s art. Smokin Bowls brings the West Coast culinary style to the West Coast of Florida.  Chef Brian Lairby brings California street fare with a Latin influence in the form of elotes, which is painted corn on the cob with garlic mayonnaise, house roasted California chili powder, cotija cheese, cilantro and lime, finished with charred onion crema. This dish is guaranteed to give you something to smile about.

Pairing No. 3- Hang a Grouper, Eat a Grouper

Linda Heath is a mixed media artist from Bradenton who specializes in gyotaku- the art of fish printing. She uses Florida fish caught by herself and her friends and paints their bodies using water-soluble sumi ink. Then she rubs its imprint onto delicate rice paper. The last step is to paint the eye, adding a white dot in the center, which some believe gives the fish back its soul.

Looking at all those fish hanging on the walls of Booth No. 131 is enough to make you hungry. We recommend Jimmy’s Famous Seafood Express, where you can eat your weight in grouper sandwiches, fresh shrimp, mahi tacos and crab cakes.

Pairing No. 4- David Figueroa and Nico’s Arepas Grill

David Figueroa is last year’s Best of Show Winner for his sculpture work, and you will find him at Booth No. 115 this year. A Sanford resident, Figueroa uses a variety of materials in his work, including wood, steel, stone, bronze and found objects.

Like Figueroa, variety is the hallmark at Nico’s Arepas Grill. This tasty eatery serves arepas, a popular Venezuelan dish made from white corn meal dough that is pattied, grilled, split and stuffed with a variety of ingredients, including shredded beef, chicken, pork, shrimp and cheese. Be sure to try arepas while you’re at Mayfaire.



The Polk Museum of Art's MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake to Include More Accessibility Services

The Polk Museum of Art has made a number of changes to this year’s MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake to improve event accessibility for people of all abilities.

This year there will be an Adaptive Services Oasis located in the Junior League Sorosis Building courtyard. 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.

The following amenities also are provided for attendees:

·      Three ADA-compliant portable toilets around the lake with mats placed on the grass in front of them to make it easier for attendees in wheelchairs to access.

·       An ADA-compliant luxury portable restroom trailer in the museum parking lot.

·      ADA-compliant restrooms in the museum and library.

·      A wheelchair accessible golf cart for shuttle service throughout the event.

·      A covered dining area with access for wheelchairs and other mobility devices.

·      Signage throughout the event directing people to accessible restrooms and the Adaptive Services Oasis.

·      An event guide and map that includes accessibility information. Guides will be available at the Adaptive Services Oasis, the museum, and the museum tent on the library lawn.

·      Customer service fliers in artist and food vendor packets with tips for providing services to people of all abilities.

“Mayfaire is an event that is important to the museum and to the community,” says Mayfaire Coordinator Joy Williams. “We listened to the feedback we got from event-goers last year and made improvements regarding accessibility. Our goal over time is for Mayfaire to become an all-inclusive event, so we invite attendees to continue to contact us with concerns and suggestions. We want Mayfaire to be enjoyable to people of all abilities.”

Accessibility questions and requests during the event can be addressed by calling (863) 455-4990.

Please offer feedback and suggestions on additional accessibility improvements before or after the event by emailing: mayfaire@PolkMuseumofArt.org.


Polk Museum of Art Seeks Camp Scholarship Sponsors

The Polk Museum of Art seeks scholarship donations for Summer Art Camps in Lakeland and Winter Haven that will run throughout June and July.

Up to 230 students will participate in this hands-on program that enables them to explore painting, sculpture, photography, performance art and other mediums over summer.

Donations to the Camp Scholarship Fund are tax-deductible and support the following:

·      $300 sends one child to camp in Lakeland full-time for two weeks.

·      $200 sends one child to camp in Lakeland part-time, or to camp in Winter Haven full-time for two weeks.

·      $650 provides 65 students in Lakeland with art supplies per two-week session.

·      $325 provides 65 students in Lakeland with snacks per two-week session.

·      $350 provides 35 students in Winter Haven with art supplies.

·      $175 provides 35 students in Winter Haven with snacks.

Art Camp is designed for children ages 7-13. Sessions are held June 12 – July 28 in Lakeland, and July 17-28 in Winter Haven. Students choose from a list of 14 classes offered in a 20- or 30-hour/week structure. The Museum provides all art supplies and snacks to ensure full participation regardless of economic background. Scholarship support enables children in need to attend who would not be able to participate otherwise.

Secure donations can be made online at: https://polkmuseumofart.org/donate-content. Contact Education Manager Ellen Chastain for more information at: (863) 688-7743, ext. 227, or echastain@polkmuseumofart.org.


Meet the MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake 2017 Cover Artist

Natacha Monnalisa calls her artistic style “abstract reality,” a blend of surrealism, realism, and abstract designs that convey feelings and ideas in a whimsical and fantasy-like manner. 

That style is conveyed in the cover art she designed for the Polk Museum of Art’s 2017 MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake, “Nesting in Lakeland.”

In addition to featuring a pair of Lakeland’s iconic swans, the artwork includes one of Monnalisa’s signature elements in the form of a dreamlike creature that serves as a swan’s nest. She says her creatures help her showcase life as seen through a child’s eyes, and they represent the unexpected.

“Last year was my first time doing the show and my first time visiting Lakeland,” Monnalisa says. “I was blown away by all the swans. They truly make the place magical. I want my piece to show non-Lakeland residents the beauty of your city.”

This Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native was happy to be invited to create the art for Mayfaire 2017.

“It is a great honor to be selected among many talented artists participating in the show,” she says.

This isn’t the first time Monnalisa’s work has been recognized in Lakeland. She won the Mayfaire Award of Excellence in 2016.

Monnalisa showed interest in the arts from a young age, and won several contests for children. She moved to Miami in 1990 and attended the prestigious magnet school program Design and Architecture, where she excelled at fashion design. Monnalisa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Miami in 2007, followed by a Master of Arts degree a year later.


Monnalisa lives in Waldo.

New Coordinators Take the Wheel for MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire 2017

The Polk Museum of Art’s MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake features new leadership this year.

Joy Williams and Leslie Norman have taken over as the coordinators of this signature event.

The museum hired Williams in January 2016 and Norman joined the museum staff in April 2016. They worked alongside former coordinators Brenda Friedman and Maya Beck last year to learn the ropes. Friedman and Beck have since passed the baton into the capable hands of Williams and Norman.

They each bring more than a decade of event-planning experience to the position, as well as a love for this fine art show.

I've always attended Mayfaire with my family and loved meeting all the artists and purchasing their work,” Williams says. “I enjoy planning events and thought my love of art and planning events would be a great combination.”

Norman enjoys event planning, and views the position as a great way to do what she loves while serving her community.

Both women have experience in planning another iconic event: Lakeland Pigfest. Williams served on the Pigfest board for two years during her presidency in the Junior League of Greater Lakeland. 

Norman served as Pigfest co-chair for five years. She oversaw the festival layout and ensured logistics were planned and executed. She also served on the Pigfest board for three years as a liaison to the Junior League and a member of the Grounds Committee.

“My involvement with the Junior League gave me the knowledge and experience in planning events of all sizes,” Williams says. “I've helped plan many of their events and came to realize I really enjoyed the process.”

Williams and Norman have introduced a few key changes to Mayfaire 2017, including new food selections during the two-day show and at Mayfaire Saturday Night. They also have relocated the children’s activity tent to Chiles Street.

“We wanted to make the children’s area more convenient for families to enjoy without having to leave the show,” Norman says.

Regarding the beefed up food selection at Mayfaire Saturday Night, that change also was done with families in mind.

 “We wanted to make it easier for families to participate in the event without having to tote coolers and chairs to the event,” Norman says. “This year, just bring your chairs or blankets. We will have plenty of food and beverages for everyone to purchase and enjoy that night.”




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.