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.
Artist-designed baseball bats created in celebration of Key West’s 200th anniversary
[Key West, FL.] On the eve of Key West’s 200th anniversary, Play Ball!, a multi-venue exhibition, celebrates two of the ingredients in Key West’s secret sauce: our cultural roots in Cuba, and our love of baseball. A central component of the project is the creation of 200 newly commissioned, artist-designed baseball bats. The Studios of Key West is seeking artists who’d like to design a baseball bat using their favorite materials, turn it into a unique artwork, then submit it for participation.
Artists may pick up a Play Ball! bat from The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton Street, now through January 29 during regular box office hours (Tue-Sat, 10am-4pm). The Studios will accept completed bats between February 17-19, and the exhibition will be on view March 3-31.
Artists will be paid 65% of the sales proceeds from any Play Ball! bats, with the balance supporting The Studios of Key West and Old Island Restoration Foundation.
For more information about the project, please visit https://tskw.org/call-for-artists-play-ball-artists-baseball-bats/.
Play Ball! is made possible by a partnership between The Studios of Key West, Old Island Restoration Foundation, Florida Keys Council of the Arts, and Gallery on Greene
Image: Artwork by Cuban artist Reynerio Tamayo depicting Bronson Arroyo, Major League Baseball pitcher, who was born and raised in Key West.
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