Director of Exhibitions and Education, Customer Relations Manager, and Director of Operations Hired at The Studios of Key West
To facilitate the ongoing development of their facilities and programs, The Studios of Key West has welcomed three new staff members to their growing team.
Coming to Key West from Laurel, Mississippi, Michael Ross has joined The Studios as the Director of Exhibitions and Education. Ross has a Master’s degree in drawing from Northern Illinois University, and has spent a good part of his life in San Francisco, where he managed a large retail store in the downtown Financial District for nearly two decades. Ross has also worked as a curator at museums, community centers and galleries. When considering a move to Key West, Ross was immediately taken by the breathtaking beauty of the island, and the unique population of residents who aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd. As an artist himself, Ross has a keen understanding of the unique and specific needs of artists, and he looks forward to developing relationships and introducing The Studios' programs to new groups on the island.
Elise Irwin has been hired as Customer Relations Manager, overseeing The Studios’ busy front desk operation, where tickets, artwork and donations are processed, and where visitors are welcomed. Originally from St. Simons Island, Georgia, Irwin lived in St. Augustine before moving to Key West 12 years ago. She has a background in serving the public in various roles, and has worked as a wedding planner, an office manager, a realtor, and in retail sales. She has a BFA in Art from Flagler College, she creates art and sculpture, and also designs her own line of jewelry. She’s excited to welcome guests to The Studios, and looks forward to being surrounded by art and artists every day.
Andrew Zimmerman has joined the team as the Director of Operations. He has a Master’s degree in Management and Leadership from Kaplan University, a wealth of managerial experience, and enjoys providing professional coaching and development. He lived in Key West for seven years before moving to Chicago to further develop his career, where he managed high-volume retail stores. Since he relocated back to Key West earlier this year with his wife, he’s been dabbling in journaling, painting, and discovering new music. He looks forward to his new role at The Studios, where he plans to try his hand at a few classes, discover new skills, and immerse himself in the arts.
To learn more about The Studios of Key West, including their upcoming creative season of exhibitions, classes and performances, please visit www.tskw.org.
Announcing "Sea Level Stories", a partnership between First Horizon, FIRM, and the Studios of Key West
First Horizon Bank presents The Studios of Key West with a check to support Sea Level Stories, by artist Jane Baldridge, which is being presented in partnership with FIRM (Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe). Planned for October 2022, the exhibition will be accompanied by public programs in Key West and up the Keys raising awareness of critical issues around sea level rise.
Robert Frost Poetry Contest for Children and Teens
Deadline: Tue, May 3, 2022
In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, and Robert Frost (1874-1963), The Studios of Key West is delighted to host the Annual Children and Teen Poetry Contest each year. Following spring break, the contest will be open to all Monroe County children & teens.
Monroe county students are encouraged to submit poetry entries to the Robert Frost Poetry Contest for Children and Teens by May 3. Children aged 6-12 and teens aged 13-18 are encouraged to mail or drop their poems off at The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton Street. Students may also submit written works by emailing poems to firstname.lastname@example.org. Students should include their name, parent or guardian’s name, phone number and age with submissions. Poetry can be any length, based on any subject, and be rhymed or unrhymed. Teachers may also submit the work of their students.
Cash prizes are as follows: $150 for first place, $100 for second place, and $50 for third place, in each age category.
National Poetry Month is a worldwide celebration that highlights poetry’s vital place in our culture. The Florida Keys have a special connection with Robert Frost, who won four Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry, and wintered many years at the garden cottage of the Heritage House in Key West. Through funds established by the Jeane and Jessie Porter Fund at the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, the contest for children and teenagers was created in his honor, and nurtures and develops the interest of budding poets, and their vital connection to the Keys’ creative spirit.
Winners will be announced online and recognized at an awards reception and public reading to be held at The Studios, 533 Eaton Street, on May 21, 2022. Made possible by the Jeane and Jessie Porter Memorial Fund
Contact: Michelle Boscamp, Marketing and Development Coordinator 305-296-0458 / email@example.com
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.
The Studios of Key West is pleased to announce Helen and Ben Harrison as the recipients of this year’s Golden Mango Award. The award was established in 2015 “to recognize persons who make aesthetic, social, intellectual, and philanthropic contributions to our island arts community and its reputation as a center for the arts.” The Harrisons were recognized during The Studios’ Annual Patron Brunch on January 16, and were presented with a striking mango sculpture designed by artist Adam Russell.
“Helen and Ben’s story is as Key West as it gets; it's almost like a fairytale,” says Executive Director Jed Dodds. “They came here on a boat, put down roots like a tree and just started gifting us with the fruits of their creativity. Now, a generation or so later, they’re still providing shade for us to relax in, and a reminder why we love it here."
The Harrisons first arrived in Key West in 1979 in a 38’ sailboat they built by hand, docking at one of the submarine finger piers of the yet-undeveloped Truman Annex. Ben quickly got a job playing guitar and singing at Two Friends Patio Bar, and has entertained the island with his music ever since. In 1986, the Harrisons purchased the cinder block 1950’s era shop at 825 White Street, turning it into Harrison Gallery, which over the past 35 years has presented 172 artists and is widely recognized for the eclectic contemporary works exhibited inside its walls.
Helen is a well-known activist and artist whose work is impactful and widely collected. A longtime board member of The Studios, she now serves as an Artistic Advisor. She spearheaded the conservation group Save our Pines to help protect the Australian Pines at Fort Zach. As a curator of art, she counts among her proudest accomplishments the 2019 Tom Majors “With the Grain: Tribute to Wood Art” exhibition at The Studios.
Ben is an author, musician and playwright with a distinctive voice and a delightful sense of humor. His gift for storytelling truly captures the unique history and character of Key West. He’s written many original songs, penned several books, and his most recent musical, “Undying Love”, played for ten sold out evenings in 2018 at The Studios.
Together, Helen and Ben have raised two sons. They’ve served as advocates and mentors to countless artists, writers, and musicians, and helped to grow and preserve Key West’s reputation as an Island of the Arts.
The Studios of Key West has presented a Golden Mango Award to an individual or couple for the past six years. Prior recipients include Judy and Stanley Zabar (2015), Ann and Bill Lorraine (2016), Anne McKee (2017), John Martini (2018), Judy Blume and George Cooper (2019), Christopher Peterson (2020), and Lynn Kaufelt (2021).
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