In February of 2020, Sarah Butler was seriously ill. In severe pain, nauseous and with a high fever, she was admitted to Lower Keys Medical Center where she spent two weeks and had two surgeries. Sarah recalls her art students sending her hundreds of handmade cards that lifted her spirits as she struggled to heal while away from her young children at home.
Again, in 2021, Sarah endured more health issues, first with a major surgery, then a serious case of COVID-19 and pneumonia that brought her back to Lower Keys Medical Center. She spent about 10 days in the hospital, again separated from her children. "I was so depressed. So sad. It was lonely," Sarah said. Once again, art provided some necessary healing. Sarah's friends brought her canvases and paint and she started painting the hibiscus that she would see outside of her house every day going to and returning from work. When she was released, she kept painting her hibiscus, bigger and brighter, helping her to visualize where she wanted to be.
In 2022, Sarah donated her time and talent to create three murals in the Tropical Cafe at Lower Keys Medical Center. She also donated several of her hibiscus paintings that will be featured in the designs for the new patient room renovations starting this year. Bright and colorful, the works of art will lift the spirits of patients, visitors and staff.
"LKMC saved my life. I am so grateful. That's why I wanted to donate my artwork there. People need to visualize what they want to see in order to heal. Just like me," Sarah said.
The Florida Keys Council of the Arts is seeking Monroe County artists of all genres (visual, music, dance, literary, etc.) and Arts Organizations to apply for two grant opportunities. The deadline for Artist in Schools and Special Project grants is June 30 at 5pm. Applications are accepted online, and can be found at www.keysarts.com under the grants tab.
The Artists in Schools Grant program invites teaching artists in the performing, visual, literary or historical arts into the classroom. Teachers and teaching artists are encouraged to collaborate on creative projects together to enhance the existing curriculum or to teach a new topic integrating the arts. All Monroe County public and private schools, as well as other organizations that serve children ages 5-18, are eligible to be partners for the teaching artist. This application is for the Fall 2022 semester. Artists in Schools grants are up to $2,000 per request.
Special Project Grants are intended for arts organizations or individual artists in Monroe County. The grant is to provide short-term support to vital, creative projects that do not fit into the other grant categories. Special Project funding is limited to once in three years, up to $2,000 per request.
Please call the Florida Keys Council of the Arts for suggestions and assistance at 305-295-4369 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Florida Keys Council of the Arts is the leading arts and cultural organization in the Florida Keys. As the non-profit local arts agency in Monroe County, it connects audiences from around the world to galleries, theaters, museums, festivals, dance, music and more from Key Largo to Key West. The Council makes grants, supports Art in Public Places, and promotes the destination for its rich and diverse history in art and culture. The Arts Council provides services to visual and performing artists, arts organizations, students and the public, striving to instill a passion for and participation in the arts.
For the month of June, SALT Gallery (830 Fleming St., www.saltislandprovisions.com) will feature “Imbue,” a collection of works by visionary Key West artist Emma Starr. To celebrate, SALT will host an opening reception at the gallery on Friday, June 10 from 6-8 p.m.
Starr, who signs her work, “emjay”, is a magician of sorts. She creates ineffable images from the Zen power of empty landscape, an enzo of all and nothing, when this becomes that…like magic.
Often the figure is landscape, and the landscape is figurative, but there is a quality to her point and shoot plastic camera images so direct, it stirs. Perhaps because the images are not photoshopped but made from film, even expired film, that the ghostly images emerge. They are haunting.
We are accustomed to seeing Emma’s Polaroids, but this new body of work is apart from that.
“The beautiful imperfections of expired film and lo-fi cameras create an unadulterated impression of nature’s harmonious shapes,” Starr says. “The intermittent presence of semi-submerged human form represents the vacancy of busyness…something we often forget to make time for as we reside on this island rock we call home. Grain, blur, and desaturated colors are the essence of the final image.”
Starr’s work will be on display at the gallery from June 1-30. SALT Gallery features an eclectic collection of local art, local sea salts, jewelry, pottery, wine and Florida Keys honey. Gallery owners Maria Sharpe and Laura Richardson, aided by expert Gallery Director Sarah Plaia Davidson, feature a new artist each month at SALT. For more information, call 305-517-6088 or visit www.saltislandprovisions.com.
The Florida Keys Council of the Arts announces a grant opportunity, Art Builds Community (ABC), to support arts and culture projects that spark conversations, spur social change, generate cultural equity and make our community stronger. Grant funding is offered at $5,000, $7,500 and $10,000 for projects that support, build and broaden access to the arts and specifically address civic challenges and community issues through the arts. New for this round, some funds will be distributed as start-up resources for outstanding project ideas.
Florida Keys artists, arts organizations and civic/community-based organizations are encouraged to form alliances and partnerships to strengthen communities through projects that connect the arts with local issues and opportunities for all people. The ABC grant deadline is May 20th at midnight. The online application and more information are available at www.keysarts.com.
“The Florida Keys Council of the Arts is committed to ensuring that everyone in our community has equal access to the arts and the fundamental right to express their culture through the arts,” said executive director Elizabeth Young. “Many of our resident’s experience vast disparities in terms of access to and participation in arts and culture activities. We believe the arts have the power to change hearts and minds, and inspire social change.”
Art Builds Community is funded in part by The Helmerich Trust, Ocean Sotheby’s, Louis Wolfson III and private donations. To support the Art Builds Community grant program, help build cultural equity and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors in the Florida Keys, please contact: Executive Director Elizabeth Young, email@example.com.
The Key West Art & Historical Society announced today the donation of six woodcarvings created by distinguished Cuban American folk artist Mario Sanchez. Joining another 200 Sanchez works already part of its permanent collection, the Society holds the largest assemblage of the artist’s works ranging from paper bag sketches to handcrafted paper kites and intricate woodcarvings.
A gift from the estate of Charles and Barbara Martin, winter residents of Key West for several decades, the six woodcarvings were purchased directly from the artist by the Martins in the 1960s and were proudly displayed in Michigan until early 2022 when they returned to Key West.
Sanchez, a Key West native, is among this country’s finest and most recognized folk artists. The self-taught artist was born in Key West in 1908, the grandson of Cuban immigrants. In the 1940s, at the urging of his mother-in-law, he began creating intricate carvings depicting life in Key West as he remembered from his childhood. Of his work, Sanchez adopted as his motto: “Se que mi modesto arte no es bueno, pero gusta,” or “I know my modest art isn’t good, but it pleases.”
“This is a substantial gift to the Society,” says Cori Convertito, curator. “With the addition of these works, the Society will be able to offer a much richer representation of the art and history of the island, one that includes enhanced perspectives of our past and skillfully embodies our diverse culture and heritage.”
In addition to the works, a series of letters exchanged between the Martins and Sanchez accompany the gift affording information on artwork purchase dates, insurance values and backgrounds on the various individuals that appear in the carvings.
“The handwritten letters form an integral part of the donation,” says Convertito. “Having contextual information such as this allows the museum to tell a more complete story of who Mario was as an artist and about the recurring characters he deftly included in his intaglios.”
The woodcarvings have been digitized and are available for viewing on the Society’s website, www.kwahs.org/collections. For more information about the donation, or to discuss possible donations to the Society, contact Cori Convertito at 305-295-6616 x112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The College of the Florida Keys will showcase the talent and creativity of its students at the annual Student Art Show in the Library Gallery on the Key West Campus. Join art students, art faculty, and art lovers from the entire Keys community to celebrate a year’s worth of art and accomplishment at the opening reception on Wednesday, April 20, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The event, sponsored by the College of The Florida Keys Foundation, is free and open to the public.
A myriad of artwork created by students this past year will be featured, including pottery, photography, and sculptures. Some pieces will be for sale with proceeds going to the student artists as well as the Library Gallery Fund. Several awards will be given for each category, including the prestigious $1,000 “Jay Gogin Excellence in Visual Arts Award,” named after the College of the Florida Keys late Artist in Residence and ceramics instructor. Attendees will be invited to cast votes for the winner of the “People’s Choice” award.
For more information, contact Kristina Neihouse, Director, Learning Resource Center. email@example.com or 305-809-3501
The City of Key West welcomes Wyland back to town! The artist has worked his way down the Keys repainting his three murals, first in Key Largo, then Marathon, and now Key West.
The iconic mural graces two sides of the Waterfront Brewery building at the Historic Seaport.
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.
The History of Diving Museum invites you to visit the new featured exhibit Dive Into Art: FantaSea. This is the fourth collaborative art show with the Museum, Art Guild of the Purple Isles (AGPI) and local students. The limited-time show encompasses fantasy elements tied to the ocean: mermaids, pirates, sea monsters and more, as well as literary themes such as fairytales, fantastical poems and epics.
The museum celebrated the opening of the exhibit by inviting teachers and students from the eight participating schools; Coral Shores High School, Key Largo School, Key Largo Middle School, Ocean Studies Charter School, Plantation Key School, Stanley Switlik Elementary School and Treasure Village Montessori, to an afternoon preview. Students were delighted to see their work on display and be able to share the experience with family members. Following the preview, Art Guild of the Purple Isles board members hosted a virtual walkthrough and in-person tour.
The exhibit would not have been possible without the help of members and donors contributing to our Giving Tuesday campaign. In addition, the Featured Exhibit is sponsored in part by the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Development Council, State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The History of Diving Museum greatly appreciates these wonderful organizations that support outreach programming and events.
The exhibit will be on view through April 20th, and the student art will then travel to the Monroe County public libraries.
The History of Diving Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in Islamorada (MM83). Open daily 10am-5pm, both divers and land-lovers alike are amazed by over 4,000 years of “the quest to explore under the sea.” From early breath-hold diving to venturing into the abyss, see how pioneers shaped our understanding of the world below, and the special role that South Florida and the Florida Keys played in this untold story. Check out DivingMuseum.org to find out more, become a member to support this important history and shop for unique items in the Museum Store.
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