As part of Key West’s Bicentennial Celebration in March, artists from the Florida Keys and beyond will join Reynerio Tamayo, Cuba’s preeminent baseball artist, in an exhibition celebrating America’s favorite pastime. “Play Ball!” is a multi-artist tribute to baseball on view from March 3-31, featuring a new body of work by Tamayo, as well as over 100 baseball bats transformed into works of art.
“On the eve of Key West’s 200th anniversary, it makes sense to celebrate two of the ingredients in our island’s secret sauce: our cultural roots in Cuba, and our love of baseball,” said Jed Dodds, Executive Director of The Studios. “Earlier this year, we put out a call to artists to pick up a bat and to use their imagination and any materials they wanted to turn it into a unique artwork.”
The resulting collection runs the gamut, from brightly painted scenes to ornate sculptural objects. Some bats have been transformed entirely; one into a fully functional lamp and another into a didgeridoo that can be played. A handful have been carved or hollowed out and put back together, and a few others elevate the bat into a tribute to Conch Culture and Women’s Baseball.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is a new body of paintings of Tamayo, an artist known for his good-natured but sharply drawn commentaries on pop culture, history and politics. Tamayo says, “the Cuban people’s passion for the sport is connected to their identity,” and his portrait of baseball’s Major League star Bronson Arroyo, who was born and raised in Key West, is a true celebration of a homegrown hero.
Also on view in March in The Studios’ Sanger Gallery is “Journey to the Great Round” by Marlene Koenig. Koenig’s ambitious, meticulous, fantastical paintings and works on paper are inspired by her close study of eastern spirituality and Jungian philosophy. The Zabar Project Gallery will feature “Facades,” Pamela Kostmayer’s latest abstract work consists of mixed media including encaustic, paper, wood, metal objects and oil stick.
All three exhibitions will be on view Tue-Sat, 10am-4pm, at The Studios, 533 Eaton Street.
“Play Ball!” Is made possible by a partnership between Florida Keys Council of the Arts, Old Island Restoration Foundation, Gallery on Greene, and The Studios of Key West. More information on the exhibitions can be found at www.tskw.org.
It's #Tax Time! United Way’s VITA Volunteers are ready to assist you in preparing and filing your 2021 Income Taxes. If you made less than $66,000 last year, you qualify for the VITA program. Visit KeysUnitedWay.org/VITA today to find out more.
Key West Art Center & Gallery, which is celebrating their 62nd year in its present location at 301 Front Street, will present the 14th annual Plein Air Key West on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Artists in all media are welcome and can register at the gallery between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. to participate, or pre-register online, with artists returning completed art work back to the gallery by 1:30 p.m.
Plein Air Key West is an all-inclusive and fun event that attracts local artists and talented amateurs throughout the Keys with many visiting artists planning their trips to Key West around this time to participate. Watercolor, acrylic, oil and pastel paintings, charcoal, and pencil sketch artists are all welcome.
A reception will be held the evening of March 12, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the rear courtyard of the Art Center and people’s choice awards will be announced. All artwork from the event will be for sale and will hang until March 19.
For information, a show application and registration, go to keywestartcenter.com or stop by Key West Art Center & Gallery at 301 Front Street daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Joseph R. Paprota, MD, Keys Medical Group Pulmonology, will begin seeing patients at a new location effective Monday, February 28, 2022. Dr. Paprota will be located at 1111 12th Street, Suite 210, Key West, joining the multi-specialty office of Michelle Bachtel, MD, FACC, General Cardiology; Steven Rowe, MD, FACC, Interventional Cardiology; Orlando Lopez-Roman, MD, FACG, AGAF, Gastroenterology, and Erin Kane, APRN, Gastroenterology.
Dr. Paprota is board-certified in Pulmonology, Internal Medicine and Critical Care Medicine. He specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of lung and chest conditions, including asthma, COPD/emphysema, chest infections and pneumonia.
Appointments may be requested at KeysMedicalGroup.com or by calling (305) 296-1558. New patients and most major insurance plans are accepted.
About: Keys Medical Group is a multi-specialty practice of board-certified physicians and providers in Primary Care, General and Interventional Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopedic Surgery/Sports Medicine, Psychiatry and Pulmonology. More information is available at KeysMedicalGroup.com.
Key West Launches Adopt-A-Spot
The City of Key West is launching a new way to team up with the community to keep Key West beautiful.
Key West Adopt-A-Spot is here, and we need your help. We are seeking businesses, professional organizations, or volunteer groups to adopt a specific spot in Key West to take care of in the coming months.
You can pick up trash or monitor cleanliness in your Adopt-A-Spot area, or ensure plantings are trimmed and the area is kept neat and clean. City staff will assist with large projects, but the key to success is a volunteer corps that monitors the various areas, helps with simple maintenance and clean-up, and reports potential problems.
The City will provide work gloves, trash bags and pick-up tools, and high-visibility vests for workers. Volunteers will provide the people power, which is key to the program’s success. We need volunteers and recommendations of spots and areas that need special attention.
We urge businesses, civic organizations and even individuals to take a look around and find the spot you want to adopt!
Please contact Dorian Patton at 305-809-3782 or email him at email@example.com to volunteer or submit suggestions of areas that need attention.
Together we can keep Key West beautiful!
On February 9, 2022, Lower Keys Medical Center recognized its 2021 Annual Award recipients.
Holly Boyer, Patient Concierge, was named the 2021 Employee of the Year. David Clay, CEO, read comments from Holly’s colleagues, which recognized her for her composure, critical thinking skills, and daily care and compassion as she welcomes patients, guests and staff entering the facility. “Holly arrives at work each day with a smile! She treats everyone with kindness and respect. If an issue or difficult situation arises, we know it will be handled appropriately. She performs the essential duties of welcoming and screening all that enter our facility, directing and guiding patients and visitors, while cross-training in other roles as well. She never complains and is the epitome of a team player. She’s invaluable!”
Sean Dillon, RN, Surgical Services, received the 2021 Nursing Excellence Award. He was recognized for his dedication to his profession, connection with patients, honesty, authenticity and trustworthiness. Clay noted comments from co-workers, “Sean goes above and beyond in modeling our Compassionate Care Culture. He is a highly competent and skilled nurse. He believes, as a nurse, that we are here to provide technical, emotional, supportive and collaborative care to all we encounter. His professionalism is well-balanced with a great sense of humor and an incredible amount of empathy for those around him. When thanked for his efforts, Sean simply replies, ‘That’s what we’re here for… to take care of our patients.’”
Zuki Figueroa, Certified Medical Assistant, Keys Medical Group Obstetrics and Gynecology, received the 2021 Keys Medical Group Excellence Award, in recognition of her experience, insight and compassion. Colleagues commended her work ethic, mentorship, and ability to implement new processes in a positive manner. “Working in OB, you have to be a compassionate person. Zuki is warm and welcoming to patients and addresses them as a familiar friend when they come in. She is compassionate when patients are sad or afraid and shows the same compassion with her co-workers. You can really count on her!”
Yodis Fuentes Flores, Nursing Assistant, Emergency Services, was presented with the 2021 Clinical (Non-nursing) Excellence Award, for which he received eight separate nominations. Clay read, “Yodis is always willing to go the extra mile for patients. He always helps patients to feel comfortable with the process of being in the ER. He calmly talks to people that are in distress until they feel better. Yodis is a hard worker who takes pride in what he does. Yodis is very positive and extremely helpful. There is never a moment where he is rude to another human. He shows his compassion through his kind words and shows he cares with a smile.”
Tara Lowson, Registrar, Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy Rehabilitation Department, was recognized with the 2021 Non-Clinical Excellence Award. Co-workers noted, “Tara reassures our patients that their therapist(s) will take care of them and that they will receive excellent care. She provides compassionate care and enhances the patient experience by taking extra time to sit with patients, face-to-face, to explain their insurance, make calls to insurance companies, and really talk through their benefits. Patients have, time and time again, expressed how grateful they were to have Tara walk them through the confusing world of insurance. She is an active listener and can tell when someone needs a little extra help, attention, or needs space. She serves as a mentor to others in the department.”
Eddie Bushey, Human Resources Business Partner, received the 2021 Frank Houtman Award, named in honor of a long-serving volunteer at the hospital who wanted to give back to patients and employees as a tribute to his late wife. Frank once said he admired people with a sense of service, loyalty and commitment. “I look for people who shine,” Frank noted. Eddie was commended for his willingness to help out wherever he can and for organizing events and activities to keep the staff in good spirits. “He visits the floors to give out candy or pens, telling his ‘Eddie jokes’ and making everyone laugh. He treats everyone the same, is always outgoing, and knows staff by name,” Clay noted.
Angelina Ashler, RN, Director of the Intensive Care Unit and Patient Experience Champion, was honored as the 2021 Clinical Manager of the Year, for her compassion, leadership, and ability to adapt quickly in times of change. Clay shared, “Angelina is a consummate professional in all of her leadership duties. She goes above and beyond to support our team, our customers and our mission. She quickly responded to reconfigure services to meet pandemic concerns, ensuring quality patient care and safety of staff amid constant change and imperfect information. She and her team demonstrated extraordinary compassion for patients and families. She was also very aware of the impact on her team, providing compassion and ongoing frontline support.”
Lisa Noss, Director of Human Resources, was named the 2021 Non-Clinical Manager of the Year for her unwavering drive to improve the hospital environment, no matter what the challenge may be. Clay noted, “Lisa has the ability to multitask at a high level, which was paramount this year. She goes about this with a positive light and always looks for opportunities to improve the organization. She is always fair, calm, and can explain the ‘why’ behind policies while making individuals feel at ease. Lisa was instrumental in timely implementation of new COVID policies. No matter how much is on her plate, Lisa will always find time for you and, when she does, she is committed to your concern and does it with a smile.”
Also recognized were employees with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of service with Lower Keys Medical Center.
The Key West Art Center proudly presents the 57th annual Old Island Days Art Festival at the beautiful Truman Waterfront Park. This year’s show brings back some of your favorite artists and will introduce you to many new talented ones. The waterfront setting has given us the opportunity to set up more booths and our artists responded with over 110 artists scheduled to attend.
Artists and crafters will line the quay showing watercolors, oil/acrylic, mixed media, photography, and more works for your home. In addition, you will find jewelry, clothing, sculpture, glass, and wood along with plenty of fun funky tropical arts and crafts. This group of artists has something for every taste and budget, and we hope you will stop down to stroll the waterfront and meet this great group of artists, some of whom have traveled from as far as the west coast, and others much more local.
Drive, bike, walk or bus down to see us as there is plenty of parking and bike racks and we are steps away from the Duval Loop stop. Artists will greet you from 10-5 each day. We look forward to seeing all our locals and visitors for a wonderful art filled weekend!
The Old Island Days Art Festival is sponsored by the Key West Art Center & Gallery, located at 301 Front Street. The non-profit Community Art Center is Key West’s oldest gallery and features original works of art by over 50 local artists.
For more information contact us at 305-294-1241 or email at KWArtShow@gmail.com
The City of Key West today announced the release of its 2021 Annual Report. For the first time in over a decade, the publication is available in print as well as electronically.
The report highlights the City’s accomplishment over the past year and provides the community a quick, accessible guide to the various departments that serve our citizens.
“I’m proud to present the first annual report to be issued under my leadership,” said City Manager Patti McLauchlin, who took the reins in June of 2021 after serving as interim City Manager for 18 months.
“This report serves as a progress report,” she said, “and much more. You’ll find departmental budgets, contact information, a listing of city boards and other details to help our citizens understand their City government.”
The 2021 Annual Report is available at City Hall, 1300 White Street. The electronic report is available on the City’s web site at www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov.
City recognized by Tree City USA
The City of Key West was named a 2021 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management.
“Your community should be proud to live in a place that makes the planting and care of trees a priority, and you should be proud of a job well done!” wrote the Tree City team in a letter announcing the recognition.
Karen DeMaria, the City’s Urban Forester, says she’s grateful for the recognition, one that the City has received ten times.
“Our island’s canopy is vital to the quality of life of our residents and visitors,” said DeMaria.
Each year on Arbor Day, the City urges property owners to plant a tree.
“Trees on publicly and privately owned property within the city are economic and aesthetic asset to the citizens,” says DeMaria, “because of their important and meaningful contribution to a healthy and beautiful community.”
Key West achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.
Trees are assets to a community when properly planted and maintained, says DeMaria. They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits.
In the photo: Key West’s official tree: the royal poinciana.
In June of 2021, the City Commission passed a resolution embracing Key West’s upcoming bicentennial. March 25, 2022 will mark 200 years since Lt. Commander Matthew C. Perry sailed the schooner USS Shark to Key West and planted the U.S. flag, claiming Key West and the Florida Keys as property of the United States.
For months, a committee of residents has been organizing the 200 Year Celebration of Key West and the Florida Keys as well as several other important bicentennials including the founding of the City of Key West in 1828 and the establishment of the U.S. Navy's presence in the island city in 1823 to stop piracy in the region.
The committee members plan a grand celebration in March recognizing the contributions, culture and history of Key West, including the earliest indigenous residents and settlers to the island as well as concentrating on the Key’s fishing heritage, baseball, cigar-making, and Key West’s One Human Family philosophy. Participants can look forward to a Conch picnic, a formal dinner with dignitaries, and a formal ceremony, among other activities.
As a central part of the City of Key West’s celebration, The Key West 200th Heritage Festival will be held Saturday, March 26, 2022 at the Truman Waterfront Park. From 10 am to 9 pm locals and visitors alike can celebrate the bicentennial with exhibits, stage performances, history reenactments and a variety of vendors. The evening caps off with a 15-minute silent drone fireworks show set to music.
The beautiful Truman Waterfront will be divided into zones to include areas representing our Marine, Fishing & Ecosystem, Family & Community, Commercial Interests, Entertainment, Art & Creativity, Heritage & History, Military, Special Events and Conch Cuisine & Spirits. There will be plenty of great local food and beverages available and green space to spread a picnic blanket and enjoy the park. Local businesses, events, attractions, restaurants, distilleries, community organizations, artists, musicians, performers, reenactors and vendors are invited to apply to participate. Organizers are particularly seeking displays and exhibits that represent Key West’s ongoing story.
The Mainstage, brought by AAG Live Key West and Race World Offshore, will kick off with a 10 am opening ceremony and feature live entertainment all day long. Organizers hope to share everything from favorite theater production pieces, iconic musical talent, Mallory Square performers, dancers and cheerleaders to a Junkanoo performance.
A pre-fireworks presentation and National Anthem will happen at 8:15 pm and the drone show takes place at 8:30 pm. This pet-friendly, silent and completely ecofriendly presentation is the first of its kind in Key West and will feature custom created configurations representing some of the most recognized symbols in our conch community. Reserved 10x10 tent space will be available in prime viewing space on the Mole for groups and corporate organizations to sponsor to help underwrite the program.
The Heritage Festival is free to attend. Parking is limited to one handicapped lot and one moped lot so guests should plan to take the free Duval Loop, bike or ride share to the Truman Waterfront.
Sponsorships, VIP viewing tents, and vendor space is available to support this community celebration as well as lots of free space for exhibits and displays. Contact Sean K at 305.731.3885 for more info or register at https://bit.ly/KW200
The 200th Heritage Festival is just one of several events scheduled for the bicentennial week-long celebration. The primary dedication of the time capsule will be held March 25, which is thought to be the actual bicentennial date, at Mallory Square. For more information contact 200th Anniversary Celebration chairman, Paul Menta or visit https://www.keywest200th.com/
Submit Your Stories
Chamber members send us your press releases on your organizations accomplishments, staff awards and/or major happenings. We will post them for free.