2 Down; 14 To Go

In January, we checked off the first item in our list 16 in 16 when we attended a Jackson Browne concert. On Monday, February 22nd, we finally found the perfect day for another of the planned events for 2016 when we spent the day in St. Petersburg for a Daycation.

We waited for a warm and sunny February day because our plan was to bike ride the city trails and visit several of the museums. We started the ride on the trail behind the Morean Center for Clay, one of the museums on our list and rode in to the city. I was somewhat reluctant to ride downtown because I “don’t do traffic”. Fortunately, a concrete barrier divided the trail in the city from the traffic. We even had stop lights to make for a smooth flow downtown.

Traveling past Tropicana Field, through downtown, to the bay and then before the end of the day toward Treasure Island until we reached an end of the trail due to construction, our 17 miles on the bike met our goal for the active part of the day.

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Parking at the Historic Seaboard Train Station, our first stop was a tour of the Morean Arts Center for Clay.

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Here we were surprised to find the center closed on Mondays, but when a staff member realized we’d driven two hours, she permitted us to walk through the facility where artists were working in the shared spaces. Actually, we enjoyed looking at the art outside as much as the displays inside the center.

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From the train station we rode our bike downtown to see the Chihuly Collection at another of the Morean Arts Centers located on the city’s waterfront. A 20 foot sculpture located outside the center ushers guests into the building that was specifically designed to display the glasswork. The price of admission includes a docent led tour, but we decided to enjoy on our own instead of traveling from room to room with a crowd.

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Next, we stopped for lunch at Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro with margaritas overlooking the water.

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We purchased a bundled ticket which included a visit to the Morean Galleries as well as to the Glass Studio and Hot Shop with our ticket to the Chihuly Collection. Unfortunately, the Morean Galleries were in the midst of changing out the exhibit so we saw more cardboard boxes than art. Next time we’ll know to call ahead since this information is not provided on their website.

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But while the galleries were a disappointment, the highlight of the trip was the time spent in the Glass Studio and Hot Shop where we sat in bleachers watching David Sturgeon create a piece of glass art with the assistance of the narrator, Jeremiah. For fifty minutes, the glass was shaped, colored, twirled, heated, cooled, heated, cooled, and heated and cooled some more until the piece was completed.

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A successful daycation of bicycling and art. Not the first of the year and certainly not the last.

Costs: $106

  • Gas $16 (about 8 gallons at $2/gallon
  • Tickets for Chihuly Collection, Glass Studio and Hot Shop $40 (tickets for two)
  • Lunch $50 (2 margaritas accounted for half this cost)

 

Tuscawilla Art: Round 3

Unable to attend the the event introducing the newly installed sculptures at Tuscawilla Park last week, we wandering through the park on a cloudless day that provided a beautiful backdrop for the art in the park, starting with the piece “Recycled” which shone brightly in the sun.

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Is this home plate standing on home plate? I’m not sure. And why the raised arms?

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I love the contrast of the individual welded metal blades of grass swaying among the Spanish moss.

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And the “Square Wave” provided an alternative to our usual selfies.

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Each of the sculptures includes a plaque with its title, artist, a brief description and a QR code or phone number which provides additional information about each piece.

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An insect? I’m not sure. It sure it different than the Big Bugs currently at Harry P. Leu Gardens.

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“To Hear a Grove Sing” is a history lesson in the form of a sculpture telling the story of the citrus industry in Florida.

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A wave wrapping around the lake. I love this piece.

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I even found a piece of art that complimented my shirt.

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The “Oak Leaf Seat” creates a dilemma since the leaf clearly invites you to take a seat, but the signs indicate that visitors are not to climb on the artwork.

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I love seeing artwork in parks and other public places, but at Tuscawilla Park, the natural beauty of the trees and lake only enhance the pleasure of spending a day in the park.

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This year’s Tuscawilla Sculpture Stroll Celebration will take place on March 12th, a day to add to your calendar, but if you don’t make it on the 12th, don’t miss it. What a wonderful way to take a walk and enjoy art in the park.

Big Bugs Everywhere

On January 15, the Big Bug Invasion took over Leu Gardens. An army of enormous ants meet visitors as they enter the gardens.

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Created from natural materials, the creatures lurk around every corner.

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Despite the fact the insects may stand over twenty feet tall, many remain hidden among the plants.

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While others, like the lady bug remain in the open, ready for photo ops.

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The 200 pound assassin bug was quite a specimen.

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But I have an affinity for spiders and this one camouflaged among the bamboo may have been my favorite sculpture.

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The Big Bug Invasion continues at Harry P. Leu Gardens in downtown Orlando until April 15 so there’s plenty of time to get acquainted with the garden’s newest inhabitants.

The Quilt Trail

One of the best things about riding bike trails is stumbling upon something unexpected, and that’s exactly what happened when riding the Nature Coast Trail from Fanning Springs to Trenton. As we approached the historic Trenton Train Station, I noticed what looked like a “barn quilt” painted not on a barn, but on a business, across the street from the station.

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The watermelon and sunflower pattern certainly is appropriate for this portion of north Florida as watermelon was a crop commonly transported on the railway connecting Trenton to Jacksonville. And then look what we found on the other side of the railroad depot.

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Not just one, but a series of quilt patterns painted on the old brick building and information about the Trenton Quilt Festival, an annual event since 2014

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Each quilt is accompanied by a plaque with an explanation about the pattern as well as historical information.

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Displayed on the building housing the Suwannee Valley Quilt Shoppe is a patriotic collection of painted quilts.

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Even though I’m not a quilter, I couldn’t resist stepping inside the quilt shop to take a peek and found the walls inside covered with more works of art as well as a cafe serving soup, salad, sandwiches, quiche and pastries.

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Down the street, even the local florist participated with what else? A flower basket quilt

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While we saw over a dozen of these painted quilts, we barely scratched the surface. Barn quilts, actually painted on barns, can be found hiding in fields throughout Gilchrist County.

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And while Florida’s first Quilt Trail originated in Trenton and Gilchrist County; Live Oak, Branford, White Springs and Madison are all home to additional artwork on a barnless quilt trail. To learn more about the 2016 Quilt Festival, click here to check out there website.

Obelisk Love

Obelisk:  a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top

Twenty-five obelisks, painted by local artists, adorn the streets of St. Augustine as part of the city’s 450th anniversary celebration.

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The piece located at the base of the Bridge of Lions included some of St. Augustine’s most recognizable symbols.

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Replicas of the 30-foot Monumento de la Constitución, the art is on display throughout the historic district in St. Augustine.

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While on a scavenger hunt for the art, I realized I’d overlooked the many obelisks that have always been a part of St. Augustine.

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In fact, I even found one in the cemetery.

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Standing 8 1/2 feet tall, the obelisks are done in a variety of styles.
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Painted, covered in mirrors even obelisks displayed upside down.

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The artwork represents the values found on the constitution monument: democracy, human rights, freedom and compassion.

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Sometimes these values are in written form and on other pieces they’re represented visually.

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Created by YarnBombJax.com covered an obelisk in yarn to recognize the involvement of Kat Twine in St. Augustine’s Civil Rights movement. Their description of their work:

Intertwined across our obelisk are reminders that our FREEDOM is not free; that our HUMAN RIGHTS are a privilege; that our COMPASSION is synonymous with servitude; and that our DEMOCRACY is divided by house. Using unexpected colors, textures, and patterns we have elevated these four values and imbued then with a sense of surrealism.

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My favorite was located at The Cathedral Bascilica of St. Augustine. As the artist, Kevin Curry says about this obelisk:

That which we hold in the palm of our hand can have monumental consequences.

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This public art will be on display through the end of the month so it’s not too late to make a trip to the nation’s oldest city or at least click here to see all 25 obelisks.

 

More Than Sandcastles

It’s hard to believe that on the same weekend the Sidewalk Chalk Festival was taking place in Venice, just 30 minutes north on Siesta Key sand art was being created at the Crystal Classic National Sand Sculpting Festival. On our way to Venice, we stopped for a couple of hours to see the temporary sculptures artists had been working on for three days.

There were sand castles with great detail. Did you notice the snowman perched on the steps leading to the castle door? But there was so much more than castles.

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Even all of the sponsors of the event were recognized in sand art.

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I could hardly turn away from this face rising from the sand…so creepy.

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This monster overlooking a young boy playing in the sand with a smaller version of creature was another crowd favorite.

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So much effort to create such temporary art.

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Impressive work could even be found in the Amateur Contest Area.

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The winning sculpture was my personal favorite, a piece called “Tender Loving Care”.

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A cathedral and a forest wrapped in love.

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What a great weekend of outdoor art!

 

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

Yesterday we spent the morning at the Venice Airport, the site of the Sarasota Chalk Festival. Artists illustrated this year’s theme ‘Eat, Drink and Be Merry!’ in images that boggled your senses like this shark rising from the runway.

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Scores of temporary works of art attracted visitors for the week long event.

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My favorites were designed to let those in attendance become part of the art. I joined the children dancing around a shark’s tooth.

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While John was served on a silver platter.

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And we reached in a trap and posed with a pelican.

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Each piece of art was marked with a pair of feet labeled “stand here” to ensure perfect viewing.

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The event is recognized as the first international street art festival with more than 250 artists from around the globe…absolutely amazing.

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Thanks Venice for a great event.

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A Train Station, Clay and a Wedding: A Unique Combination

October has been a working month for John and me. Not the set the alarm clock at 5:30, go in to the office and then return home at dusk kind of work, but instead, the delivery crew for Emily Grace Design, Emily’s wedding rental business. Three Saturdays this month we’ve delivered glasses, dishes, hand painted signs and other decor items to make a bride’s day special.

Last weekend’s wedding provided a bonus since it was located in the Morean Arts Center for Clay in St. Petersburg.

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We toured the historic train station turned art center…

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where workshops and classes with professional teaching artists are available at the center for pottery lovers of all ages and skill levels.

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We especially enjoyed the pieces produced by children and displayed on the fence behind the station.

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Art and plants occupied much of the outdoor space.

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But a more formal gallery inside showcased the work of artists.

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We didn’t get our hands dirty in mud or throw a pot on a wheel, instead we had a hand in creating the space designated for events into the wedding reception area for Shelby and Angel.

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As a bonus, we discovered the Pinellas Trail running behind the fence decorated with the children’s work so we’ll be back again soon, but this time for a bike ride.

Thanks to my husband, John, for sharing his photos!

Predicting Snow in Stowe

Working on a large piece of sculpture at the West Branch Gallery and Sculpture Park, an artist stopped his work to talk to us about the process of carving over 6000 pounds of rock into a double fountain weighing more than a ton. He explained that this would be his last large piece of the year since all outside work would have to be completed within two weeks before the first snowfall.

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“Really? Snow in only two weeks?” we’d asked on September 29th. It was hard to believe that snow would be falling only three weeks after the beginning of autumn, but he was right. On Sunday morning, pictures of Stowe, Vermont’s brightly colored leaves covered in snow were broadcast on the morning news.

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I feel confident the artist met the deadline, adding another piece in the outdoor sculpture garden located behind the gallery.

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Over a dozen large pieces carved from local materials including walkways, seats and fountains were on display.

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Jigsaw like stone puzzles as well as metal sculptures were included in the garden as well as more practical pieces. Additional works will have to wait until the snow thaws next spring.

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If this art thing doesn’t work out for the man we spoke to, I’d be glad to provide a recommendation as a meteorologist.

The Art of Cycling

For me, the only art to cycling is making sure I pedal fast enough to keep from falling over, but the Stowe Recreation Path in Stowe, VT proved to be not only an enjoyable ride through the Vermont countryside but an art exhibit as well.

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Over the course of the six mile path, a variety of sculptures including a guide to each piece by phone provided an interesting art show.

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The sculptures as well as historic buildings are a bonus to trail users.

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The easy, relatively flat trail crosses ten bridges so there are many opportunities to view the river crisscrossing through the town.

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Even on a wet day, a twelve mile ride in Stowe was a great place to ride and enjoy art, both made by man and nature.

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