The Tennessee Williams Museum, located at 513 Truman Avenue, joins the island of Key West in celebrating its 200th Anniversary. The museum has expanded two of its historical exhibits that provide detailed material about two major gifts given by Tennessee Williams to the City of Key West.
The expanded exhibits showcase information about Williams’ writing, filming, and premiering “The Rose Tattoo” in Key West during the 1950s. Also, in 1981 Williams gifted the use of his name to the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center, now called the Tennessee Williams Theatre. These are two of the many cultural and philanthropic contributions made by the playwright during his thirty-four-year residency that helped place Key West on the cultural and literary map.
Both of the museum’s exhibits have been repositioned and enhanced to provide new information about these gifts through the use of original photos by Don Pinder, playbills signed by the playwright, artifacts and stimulating details about the development and dedication of the Tennessee Williams Theatre.
The Museum is open for self-guided tours from Thursday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30. p.m. An information sheet is available for guests that provides more in-depth details about the exhibits. For those seeking additional knowledge about the filming of “The Rose Tattoo” in Key West and the inclusion of local citizens and island locations in the film, or fascinating details about the dedication of the Tennessee Williams Theatre, Dennis Beaver, the Museum curator offers private day-time tours for four or more guests. Prior arrangements must be made by visiting the museum’s website https://www.kwahs.org/museums/tennessee-williams/visit
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.
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