Written by WSLR Staff on Saturday, January 24, 2015
Downside, Upside-Down: An Art Exhibit with a Purpose
Downside, Upside-Down is a project benefiting the forgotten members of society, instilling self-confidence, a sense of community, achievement and respect to those experiencing deep hardship. Homeless and low-income people have created some of the art pieces.
Sought after curator Pamela Callender orchestrated this project, which will far exceed the confines of the art exhibit. The disenfranchised now have a venue that will encourage achievement, expression, communication, respect for themselves and trust in others. It will give them a sense of community and serve as an introduction to available resources in an effort to promote the means for future independence. This project is expected to be a model to assist people through economic and social challenges.
This project is made possible through funding by the MLK Day of Service Committee at the State College of Florida. For more information or to monetarily assist the project, please call Pamela Callender at: 941-932-2993.
January 24, 2015 7-11pm
Tickets: $10 at the door
The show begins with a gallery walk with the curator with special introductions from 7-8. Music performed by Sarasota/Manatee Chapter of Soldier’s Songs and Voices throughout the night, as well as live music with The James Varnado Funk Band at 8.
This exhibit shows an array of talent by international and professional artists, including so far Joni Younkins-Herzog, Joe Holler, Allison Forbes, Roger Leege, Raven Skye, Lori Loveberry-George, David Taylor, Joe Loccisano, Jacqueline Fay, Elizabeth Packer, Lisa Sibley, Nathan Wilson, and Martin Dunn.
Sarasota/Manatee Soldier’s Songs and Voices
The James Varnado Funk Band
Downside, Upside Down
April 4, 2015
Tiny House Construction
As part of our Downside, Upside Down Exhibit, we are constructing a mobile Tiny House on site at Fogartyville designed for use as a studio gallery. In March, at the conclusion of the Downside, Upside Down Art Exhibit, we are moving the Tiny House to the Empowerment Center for low-income individuals to use it as an Art Studio/Center. We are looking for people that are interested in Tiny Houses to join us. Many different skills are needed – outreach for donations, construction skills, cooks, painters. We have a small amount of grant money to buy a trailer and supplies – but we are looking for donated materials and labor to make this happen. On January 8th, we hosted a kickoff event for those interested in volunteering for the project, and we had a great turnout for beginning to bring together a project team. Huxley Coulter, who has built and lived in a tiny house for 4 years in California came to share his experience and answer questions. We are still in need of more help, so if you would like to sign up you can contact Pamela Callendar or Arlene Sweeting by email or phone, reach us through our Facebook page, or come on down to Fogartyville.
Artists in Residence Program
Over the last few months, we began an art class and art therapy program for low-income individuals who could benefit from an outlet for building their creative expression. By doing so, they learn how to creatively solve problems and overcome challenges in all parts of their life. These students have a chance to have their art exhibited as part of the show. Here is one of our students working on his conceptual piece, “The Calendar.”
Five years ago I was a doctor, making and spending over a million dollars a year. I was miserable. My art was embryonic, without direction. Then, I let it all go. The wealth, the respect, the possession; as much as I could. It’s still in process. As I let go of more and more, two possessions bobbed to the surface; my art and my friends. My friends are the poor, the homeless, the disrespected in Sarasota. Gradually the two have blended. These “ones from whom men hide their faces” find their expression in my art. The subject of “Poor Lazarus” is my friend Willie Bell; homeless for 35 in wealthy Sarasota. He has a freedom that comes from having nothing. A freedom unknown to the diners behind him. A freedom none of us will ever understand unless we take the time to get to know the Willie Bells.
Jacqueline Fay was born in Greece in 1961. She came to the US for college and chose Optometry as a career. Last year, Jacqueline joined the Venice Camera Club, started taking photography classes, and what had been an interest, blossomed into a passion. Her first project was the Flickr 100 Strangers Project, in which she spent time listening to people’s stories before taking their photograph.
Artist statement: I enjoy capturing on camera those faces that speak of character and a life intensely lived: for me, the more lines and creases on a face, the better. When I meet someone and take his or her photo, I am looking for that person’s “true” expression or essence: not a contrived expression for the camera. Lately, I have focused my interest on photographing homeless people and those who are living “on the edge.”
Alison earned her B.A from Holyoke College and has worked in business as well as gifted/talented education before earning a M.A. in English/Non-fiction Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She studied photography at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, spending a year in black and white photography, and a year in color. There was no doubt that she enjoyed her color immersion the most, and to this day, color is a very important component of each image she captures. More recently, she has photographed around the world for several travel companies, allowing her to combine her two passions: photography and travel.
She believes that the photographer’s eye is more important than the equipment in creating outstanding images. She continuously strives to hone her photographic skills in the ever-changing digital world, while evolving her vision in pursuit of memorable images.
Roger Leege, writer and visual artist, draws on his past as a lawn boy, meatcutter, storyteller, trucker, EMT, poet, trim carpenter, bass player, painter, embalmer’s assistant, printmaker, analog photographer, journalist, dissident, videographer, educator, computer scientist, and somewhat bohemian family, to make his art. With gallery and publication credits in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom, he maintains his portfolio project site at www.vianovaphoto.net and uses www.rogerleege.net for custom framing, printing, and online sales.
Artist Statement: I’m with Cecil Beaton, who more than a century ago, said, “I want to make photographs of very elegant women taking lipstick off their teeth.”
acrylic on wood
Lichtenstein’s work is easily recognizable: his subject matter often includes movie monsters, models from his own reference photos, and more recently, currency — always boldly presented in the foreground of a creatively filled negative space. He employs the use of bright colors (usually red or lime green), repetition and image overlaying to strengthen his concepts, and he says his choice of a functional canvas, like plywood, also adds character and recognition to his work. Lichtenstein began to develop his style after working closely with the local music scene and seeing the impact show fliers had on the community as collectible pieces of art. Since then, he says his biggest focus has been on honing his craft.
mixed media sculpture
An artist, instructor, and exhibition curator, Loccisano presently serves as Gallery Manager at State College of Florida (SCF). He has curated over 250 exhibitions by national and international artists. Loccisano has taught a variety of courses at SCF, Ringling College of Art and Design, and Nova Southeastern University. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and a Master’s degree in Intercultural Humanities from the University of South Florida.
Artist statement: Archetypal Aegis explores metaphorical and metaphysical objects derived from dreams. Loccisano’s house image represents the message of hope that we are all bound together as humans, both physical and non-physical. Furthermore, the house is not just a talisman for the dream, but exists as an object that is plainly, simply beautiful for the collector who desires to possess that which is sublime. These are all one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted mixed-media objects.
Raven Skye McDonough
acrylic painting and tall assemblage
Classically trained at The School of the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, Raven Skye McDonough is an award winning Florida artist whose deep spiritual connection and social awareness has her tackling subject matter ranging from war, environmental issues, political concerns, women’s issues and man’s journey to become enlightened beings. Raven uses two different collage techniques that she developed over the years, along with painting in acrylics, to create truly unique artwork. For more information, please visit www.ravenskyestudio.com.
acrylic on canvas
July 2014 I planned to commit suicide. The behavioral center, psychiatrist, and pills came. My diagnosis: ADHD, Anxiety, Severe Clinical Depression, Victim of Emotional Abuse and Bipolar Disorder with mixed episodes daily. In pain, I began sketching and painting in acrylics. The beginning August I sold my first painting. I called myself an artist and I became an artist. Untrained, I research and learn and apply and I now live.
Artist Statement: Being a stay at home mom, intensely short on time, I paint, sketch or research daily. Art releases me emotionally, and provides strength. I found the puzzle piece I have sought for unknowingly. Vibrant colors, textures, movement and my intense emotions all inspire me. As an emerging artist, I feel full of life. I am now true to myself. I strive to give others permission to do the same.
Lisa Sibley is a photographic artist exploring identity through the framework of nostalgia by investigating memory, place, time and the Other self while creating portraits and self portraits fused with projected vernacular family photographs. She is a recent MFA graduate from Lesley University College of Art and Design, Cambridge, MA, USA. Lisa lives and works in Tarpon Springs, FL.
Artist Statement: Now and then and back again, is an autobiographical narrative underpinned by emotions that occur when identity metamorphosises. The performance in front of the camera reveals elements of the personality not seen by the Self. My work explores the possibility of resolving the foundations of self-identity by looking back through the family photo album. I investigate memory, place, time and the Other self within by creating portraits and self portraits with projected vernacular family photographs.
mixed media sculpture
Debra Torger is a mixed-media artist and instructor. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. In 2011 she developed an art program at Community Haven where clients with developmental disabilities have the opportunity to explore creativity.
Artist Statement: This piece is meant to show the differences between the top 1% in wealth, and the most misfortunate of the other 99%. I’m not blaming the queen for the other’s misfortune. I’m merely showing contrasts – a protected castle vs. fleeing your land – profiting from wars vs. suffering from wars . The biggest contrast here is: having everything vs. losing everything. And does anyone care?
Nathan Wilson is a recent New College graduate who experiments with interdisciplinary applications between the Arts and Sciences. His sculptures concern the re-imagination of cubic structures that comprise the bulwark of American architecture. Through an exploration of symmetry and organic growth, concepts that are naturally alluring to humans, Wilson creates pieces to challenge a viewer’s perspective of space.
Artist Statement: “Strength in Numbers” is an object whose level of completion is unknown. Forces of deconstruction and reconstruction clash in a mind which contemplates such a structure. Levels of symmetry and order distinguish themselves depending on the perspective of an audience. These elements of cohesion form a means of navigation when exploring the continuation or synthesis of my work. The metal used in this construction is salvaged scrap reconstituted into modules designed to optimize the strength of the growing form.
alabaster & steel
My search for beauty and purpose manifests into forms that abstract femininity and vitality. My sculptures are hybrids, psychological mythologies, and manifestations of our bodies. Within my work the human body is displaced retaining ranges of recognizable features – but what remains behind is an interest in the dispersal and fertilization of the feminine mystique.
Eve is an ironic feminist composition. The soft feminine curves of a privileged view in a cold hard medium – stone. The piece explores intimacy, beauty, luminosity, power, vulnerability, and permanence.
Many Thanks to…
Artists in Residence
Interns from New College of Florida
James Varnado Funk Band
Sarasota/Manatee Chapter of Soldier’s Songs and Voices