Where Current Can Flow: Interview with Sarah Viviana Valdez

Sarah Viviana Valdez is an artist living and working in Tampa, FL whom I met through mutual friends, and as a fellow Ringling College of Art & Design and New York Studio Residency Program alum. I’m intrigued by Sarah’s art practice, her evolution as an artist, and the direction her projects are headed. Recently Sarah had her first solo show at Gallery 621 in Tallahassee, FL, of which incorporated painting, sculpture, interactive ‘stations’, and googly eyes. With all the projects Sarah is currently involved in, I felt it absolutely necessary to contact her for an interview as her creative energy and dedication is refreshing and inspiring.

A Year After Surgery, Gauche on soft press watercolor paper, 63' x 76',  2011
A Year After Surgery, Gauche on soft press watercolor paper, 63′ x 76′, 2011

KLL: You have a very multifaceted art practice; how did you come to that process?

SVV: Peers have always had a huge impact on me. During undergrad school at Ringling I was heavily influenced by my classmates exploring a variety of methods, materials, and conceptual ideas. While there I applied topics such as educational systems, institutional aesthetics, traditions within portraiture, and interactive environments. In school it seemed more about processes and failures involving ideas. Everyone was feeding off of each other; it was a very fruitful environment amongst the small Fine Art majors. Naturally everyone needed to expose themselves to every medium since they seemed so enticing; it was a time to start being playful and we all learned a lot from that. I moved to Tampa post graduation, first living with my parents with little to no income. During this time, I had a six month break from school peers. Supplemental income allowed me to play with tools in a way that set aside the embedded history and its contemporaries. That transition helped manifest a language with myself, and understand where the work was coming from outside of the institution. After meeting a group of creative freaks in Tampa, I started to blend into the guerilla noise scene, and explore within a multifaceted DIY culture. My art practice is a result of my curiosity and desire for constant productivity, leisure, and play within order. It wasn’t until the institutional context was gone that I allowed the process of producing with a structural multifaceted framework, due to the nature of my new environment.

KLL: Recently, you had your first solo exhibition in Tallahassee, FL. Please describe the exhibition space, how you coordinated the show, and why you chose the name Where Current Can Flow for the exhibition title.

SVV: I found Gallery 621 online because they posted an open call for solo exhibitions a year ago, which I was diligently searching for at the time. I was unaware of the art scene in Tallahassee, so I researched Railroad Art Square which made the space intriguing — I would get exposure with family participants, according to the director who said Friday openings get at least 3,000 foot traffic, including families and students from FSU. The family aspect sold it to me; I wanted to plan a simple interaction with groups of people I’m barely exposed to with my artwork — Gallery621 was able to provide that interaction.

Planning an entire solo show is a challenge, especially when I never visited the site before the show. The gallery director, Cynthia, who is wonderful and extremely open-minded, responded to my email requesting information in regards to the layout and measurements of the space. Cynthia sent a detailed map and encouraged the proposal.

The proposal was a response to my current situation — an artist working a cubicle job and feeling very restricted by it. My experience with routine at work is absurd, where self identity is hardly encouraged and motivation is prescribed. The design of the office environment has an effect on its workers, putting them in a routine trance — the objective within the interior design is so specific to the potential each individual is allowed to have –this really interested me. What if I flipped that around and  experimented with different arrangements to encourage the opposite effect? Where Current Can Flow intended to create play within order in an unconventional layout, allowing freedom and privacy in an inhibiting space. In this case, the gallery was the inhibiting space for a month. The floor space was divided in three stations, workspace, leisure-space and recreation-space. Arranging the three stations let me investigate the way adults and kids work, how information travels, and the way they encounter an ambiguous station encouraging interaction. For this show I started with primitive materials such as tape and scraps of paper, a labyrinth, and carrots to-go. The intention with the title, Where Current Can Flow, was to manifest an enigmatic energy between the space and the participant, initiating a creative circuit. Since the show, I hope to continue experimenting with and investigating the design of spaces for a positive energy that enhances self quality per participant.

Where Current Can Flow Installation, 2013
Where Current Can Flow Installation, 2013

KLL: I’m particularly intrigued by the “stations” in the exhibition; please describe each in detail.

SVV: The entrance area started with cartoon hands, pointing to the left and right sections of the room. The hands divided the space in half, offering two choices, the work-space to the left and the leisure-space to the right. Since there were no additional wall surfaces hiding what both sections included, it created an open environment. The left side was the work-space — a floor furniture piece shaped like three circles including tiny wooden sticks, tape, and scraps of construction paper in a trashcan. These items suggested a simple interaction, with one objective, to decorate the rug collaboratively rather than replace these items each day, the resulting constructions/collages were left for participants to dismantle or add to over the course of the installation. The right side was the leisure-space, signified by a large rounded rectangle as another floor furniture piece. In the center of this rectangle was an assortment of edible carrots and beets stored in a container with damp sand. Produce was used to invite the viewer to leisurely indulge in eating a fresh healthy snack, or to take back home, whichever notion pleased them. The front center was the recreation-space — a large square labyrinth floor piece with the maze laid out from tape. Participants could walk on top of the piece to find a way in and out of the maze, embodying a mental exercise. All the stations allowed me and the participants to reflect on three different topics; work, leisure, and recreation coexisting in the same space with no dividends.

Where Current Can Flow Opening, 2013
Where Current Can Flow Opening, 2013

KLL: Your work is predominantly vibrant and playful. I’d love to know more about the play element.

SVV: It’s second nature for me to be very playful. I’m constantly striving to take each experience nӓively like a child would. Of course my reflections on such experiences are different than a child’s. There is something about the immediacy approach, using new mediums to translate observations into images with no order or rules. It’s a constant reminder for me after being influenced by children. I have a younger brother, we are 15 years apart and he is now 10, Fernando is such an inspiration to this concept. It’s something I feel we shouldn’t lose as adults. I want to have that balance between child and adult when taking in new experiences, so I can make connections with our everyday life with play in mind. Our observations and conclusions shouldn’t have to be so structured. There is an energy that keeps allowing new connections to have an impact on us. With vibrant color and play it allows that to exist for me within the work.

KLL: What is it like living and working as an artist in Tampa, FL?

SVV: Tampa is a city where the general public doesn’t support the arts very much, having little knowledge about the underground local performance/art scene. Any rural, metro, or suburban city can have an ‘art culture’ exist; it takes a group of people with similar interests to make something happen. We just start spitting out ideas till something hits and actually interests all of us, but if no one ever produces them the results will be unknown. A group of people have to be okay with being intuitive with each other in order for the scene to progress locally. Breaking away from specific manifestos is important too. Such group decisions allow growth within the community. It’s a series of experiments: what else could be added, where else can we do it, who else can be involved? Working in Tampa is like any other place; to me it’s what you make it to be. Deserted spaces are useful pathways to transform into a happening. Such a space provides privacy, freedom, and choice of interaction. Tampa is filled with foreclosure homes for movie sets, bridges that hover the Hillsborough River that shelter performances, Curtis Hixon park with a power outlet and lights on till midnight, friends living in cheap housing in Ybor with no noise rules that allow events to get dirty and loud, storage units where mechanics test vehicles and the youth blow up speakers at the same time, Stoney’s a dive bar that get’s serenaded by loud bands bringing something back that was lost due to the pollution from nearby ports, and the list can go on…

KLL: How do you divide your time between your job and your art practice?

SVV: I work a full-time network support job that is unrelated to my degree and passion. It’s difficult to accept what needs to be compromised since a lot of my time is spent working 40 hours a week just to pay off my education loans. It’s like having two jobs — office job and studio practice job. It can feel discouraging at times, especially with Tampa not having a well grounded art community awareness. Awareness is not promoted well through the museums and galleries. USF Contemporary Art Museum has some of the better shows, but none include local art in Tampa. There is so much that is archived and has happened here and still not many people are aware of it. A lot of that is to blame within the scene too, due to rejection it’s natural to be enclosed with the smallness of the community, or allowing other scenes to diverge. We can make any place conducive to make art happenings. When there is less going on, it’s the boredom that brings similar people together to fill in that gap.

It has taken about two years to figure out my routine and balance my job, personal life, my dog Enzo, leisure, and art projects. I’ve had to sacrifice events, materials, and a certain lifestyle in order to keep making work. Continuing the work and being part of a community is all that matters to me. Nothing else makes sense in order to get through the day. When I get home there is so much to release after thinking in my dark cubicle cell. At my cubicle there is a stack of empty post-its that a co-worker gifted me. I use those constantly, writing ideas and lists of things to get done. When the shift is over they get stuck to my wallet or the back of my smart phone. My desk at home is filled with post-its. The notes are relative to review later on, a simple documentation of my processes unfolding. I also use my smart phone a lot for note taking, the camera captures weird occurrences encountered that later inspire certain pieces. The applications on my phone have been great in that sense, documenting immediate responses to my surroundings. That material has grown since acquiring the device, a lot more to reflect on though. I’d probably go insane not releasing my thoughts.

KLL: I love how you’re also interested in music and fashion; please describe your recent projects.

SVV: I did a fashion show called Gilded Rag with Katie Magruder, who performs as Fishwife, and Erin Hart, owner of Nail Pop LLC. It was our first time coordinating a fashion show and I really wanted to bring together our community in Tampa, and experience a happening through fashion. It was hosted at Cottage Sleaze, a true lair of Ybor housing used as a performance space. My friend Jasmine Huneycutt owns the place and performs as Diamond Hymen. A few friends have a name for their houses and use them as performance spaces; these spaces have changed the dependency with outdoor guerilla locations recently — It has changed the way sound occupies the space. Before, it was with limited equipment on the cement with a generator, now it’s a more controlled environment. The backyard, I think, used to be for milking cows — that’s where we did the fashion show — there is a raw cement opened building with a brick pathway leading to it, naturally ready for the runway. Jasmine also has a great amount of plants that added the Florida tropic into the scenery … oh, and there are even Roosters flocking around, showing off their red comb. The reason we did the fashion show was because there is a lot of Tampa music, but little of everything else. There are Ybor clubs and venues hosting mainstream pop culture, including Hip-hop and indie-rock — also the hair salons have formal fashion shows with an amazing influx of talent — there are the drag shows because Ybor has an upcoming gay pride scene, and then a few galleries that have opening receptions. Also, there is the DIY underground scene that includes noise, heavy metal, and punk.

I wanted to offer something different, aside from all the semi segregated scenes, and include something that had sculpture, performance, sound, and installation. The Gilded Rag show fit all of those points, and it still included music by using a tablet program that was very simple for my models to perform while wearing the clothing pieces. I also wanted to include more females performing that typically wouldn’t within our group, of course some of them already do. I selected a variety of girls, and was able to use two males, and put them in a position to perform and learn to be comfortable with their bodies and expressions. All the clothing was made out of plastic from shower curtains, LED lights, spray paint, free dumpster fabric — basically anything that we could get without spending our own dough, because we had a very tight budget to dress-up 12 models.

Gilded Rag Crew, Performance Fashion Show, 2013
Gilded Rag Crew, Performance Fashion Show, 2013

The music scene has been around my artistic career in Sarasota as well. I knew about the Tampa noise scene because they played shows at New College when I was in school at Ringling. Plus, in Sarasota, Matt Pierra, who has Roofless Records, coordinated Cinema Sounds — blending live cinema scoring with south-west noise music. I worked with Matt at Burns Court, and he was my introduction to DIY music in Florida. When I moved to Tampa, it was instinctive to become part of it due to my performance background. It was different of course — It’s like learning another language. Once I became confident writing and performing, the aesthetics and sculptures for i_like_dog_face sets started to mirror my art. Jimmy Sanchez and Daniel Kipp Whittaker, the guys from Skeleton Warrior, had this house off Branch Ave called the Branch Ranch Pervert Pit — they were the first to encourage me to start performing. I have Jimmy and Daniel to originally thank. Up until this year Cyborg City, a hidden secret amongst East Ybor, provided a space for my first sculptural performance involving a plastic inflatable Cyclops face — It is filled up with air from an industrial fan and I performed inside of it. Afterwards, I had a better idea for dog_face’s aesthetic, and it’s been interesting experimenting with outfits and environments recently. The same guys who run Cyborg City curate NO RAVE once a month this summer, at The Social Club in Ybor . There is a basement, it’s dark, and when it strikes midnight there is live electronic/industrial music from the noise scene.

I have released two digital downloads Cubicle Spell and Keep Rising From the Screen — both include digital sample sounds that have a creepy voice reciting words with a combination of panning bass — It first started with, “How do I deal with having a cubicle job?”. From there I created sounds for aggregate routers bouncing, clamping, encrypting, anything that included my job functions but giving it a soundtrack.

There are also a few festivals that happen once a year, getting everyone together to cram an ambitious amount of bands that perform over the course of 2-3 nights. The most notable one I got to perform for this year was International Noise ConferenceRat Bastard runs the event in Miami, FL at Churchhills Bar, and this year was the 10th anniversary. That guy has so much energy and loves everything about weird/noise music and gear. The event is held in February. This year Diamond Hymen attached a toy shotgun to her microphone, tossed one feather pillow into the air, and passed three cow hearts to three female performers included in the set — it looked like a slumber party occult ritual; it was fantastic. At the end of the night, everyone consumed feathers and where gagging them during their sleep.

I got asked to play for the third Savage Weekend festival hosted in Chapel Hill, NC, put together by Ryan Martin. It brought more Northern performers from Philadelphia, New York, and Providence, RI. It was the first time I’ve seen Humanbeast perform, and my jaw dropped amazed by Maralie Armstrong’s voice. The festivals have been inspiring just by experiencing the family vibe everyone has with each other, supporting the scene — its high-encouraging. I’m still new to performing within the scene, and this year has been the first time it has been exposed outside of Tampa. Cephia’s Treat Recordings released my first 15 minute tape Twisting Signals of Light right before Savage Weekend. The cover is screen-printed with glow-in-the-dark ink on construction paper — trademark of the local connoisseur and archivist of the Tampa noise scene, Todd Lynn (Haves & Thirds). The tape can be ordered through his website.

i_like_dog_face @ Savage Weeked III, Performance with found material, 2013
i_like_dog_face @ Savage Weeked III, Performance with found material, 2013

Tampa has its own slice in the pie as well which is Blood Fest  — you never know where it will be or what’s going to happen. The sets are short, at different locations, sound tracking the urban landscape of Tampa. There are no limitations with locations to perform when it comes to a generator. It’s really hot and drippy; everyone has their own disaster of ‘blood’ that is poured on them before the set. This year was my first time performing for it. Also, artist Rosemarie Romero did another Porn Nails performance in conjunction with Nail Pop LLC and Action Research, at the Venture Compound in St.Petersburg, FL. The installation was great and the space is huge, surrounded by other industrial warehouses. There were music performances alongside the mobile nail salon concept, invading public spaces. So my ideas have translated in many different ways in Tampa. I’m having the constant desire to play and have fun with like minded freaks.

KLL: Where does your work exist in relation to the Digital Age, and how do you see this age evolving –our culture evolving and adapting to, or from, the Digital Age–?

SVV: I work a very technical job that changes everyday due to the progression of technology. It’s benefited me to understand how internet outages and other digital communication devices have an impact on individuals. Consumers expect it to work 24/7, with no flaws, without understanding what makes it function. We rely on the timing and advice of technology, to run and tell how life should be lived. The Digital Age has many affects on our culture, especially the way information is distributed and how products are marketed. The whole ‘You’ as the image for marketing is very strange, our own image/avatar is used to promote the use of these website companies, and it seems to have become easily adaptable in everyone’s lives. My work has gotten small exposure to strangers that know someone who knows another person, because it’s floating out there. I don’t really think people are ever unnoticed anymore, as much as we still like to think. Sure there are different degrees to being recognized but we are not alone. Also the Digital Age has expanded the way tools are perceived; the idea of editing has become more complex and its part of our everyday lives, with us not even noticing it. Because of all these programs, the amount of expression that is posted in the web has increased. Everyone is generating ‘something’. We are evolving as artists, because our filters are changing constantly with the rate of technology. There is also the politics of sharing in the Digital Age, the open source culture is having an impact on the way DIY is expanded in technology; people are sharing for free for others to amplify on their ideas with the intention to learn from each other. I think we are adapting slowly to technology, because the rate of technology is progressing at a fast rate, but our culture is not parallel yet. That’s where we need to be focusing, and it starts with understanding how our devices work because it’s now part of our daily lives.

KLL: Where do you see your projects going from here?

SVV: Right now I’m everywhere and in need to calm down. The next few months I want to focus on my sound performances with i_like_dog_face, and have better quality recordings. Ryan Martin (Secret Boyfriend) from Carrboro, NC owns Hot Releases records and he will be releasing a vinyl of dog_face. I have a lot to consider: The image on the cover, the content in the sound, how it’s recorded, what kind of atmosphere I’m willing to invade with the concept, etc. It’s an object that is distributed and the only control I have is the image and sound; the rest is involved with a basic frame that is pretty universal. It’s very exciting and all very new to me; Ryan is great and such a supportive person for the entire ‘noise/weird’ music scene. Also, recently many of my friends want to produce films, and a few have written stories for them and started filming already. One that comes to mind is Carlos Gonzales, a prolific performer for Russian Tsarlag, comics Slime Freak, and filmmaking. He resides in Providence, RI but is a true local from Tampa. He was in town over the weekend and we filmed one movie involving a Magician and another involving a Cowboy dentist. Carlos is a method actor and has a real immediate raw style with filming and editing. Sets include green tones and scraps of shiny trash melting off the wall surfaces. He uses a mini DV camera with built-in ‘cheap’ effects and edits with a VCR… Really excited to see the by product. I’ve been pushing myself so much to coordinate projects, such as dog_face performances, Gilded Rag fashion, and my solo show that now it would be nice to be used and directed. I feel like my performance and fashion will translate well when acting for films. Last of all, I’m moving into a cheaper housing situation which means extra cash flow and potential for a studio space, finally. Getting such a space has a lot of potential for the community in Tampa, not just for me. I’m already encouraging a lot of friends to get a space in the same location that was found on Craigslist — that’s if it’s legit. It’s good to have that break period and experiment with another form of art, for me at least it’s manifested a conversation within the community of friends, because not everyone is sticking to one thing anymore. Let’s keep the ball rolling, eh?

Layla Dyed, used clothing, fabric dye, fur, chain, acrylic nails (Nail Pop LLC), 2013
Layla Dyed, used clothing, fabric dye, fur, chain, acrylic nails (Nail Pop LLC), 2013

Bio:

Sarah Viviana Valdez is a Kansas born artist who lives and works in Tampa, Florida. Valdez graduated with class of 2010 from Ringling School of Art and Design Fine Art department, and participated in the New York Studio Residency Program, Spring of 2009. You can view more of Valdez’s work at www.svaldez-es.org

On the Rivers of Florida: Lynne Buchanan’s Photographic Meditations

March 21- May 5, 2013
South Florida Museum, Bradenton

“Exploring rivers is a very meditative experience,” says Buchanan. “It helps me understand my place, as one being in the web of existence of equal value to the rest of life.

March 21- May 5, 2013
South Florida Museum, Bradenton, FL

The bodies of water on Florida’s east and west coasts are well-known attractions and frequently captured in photographs. But the beauty of Florida’s rivers – and the diversity of wildlife that the rivers attract exists almost in a state of anonymity.

Whirligig Beetles at Dusk
Whirligig Beetles at Dusk

Fine art photographer Lynne Buchanan introduces the public to the inherent beauty of Florida’s rivers and the wonderment that these natural resources provide. Her solo exhibition focuses on mysterious river-scapes and the botanical life and exotic creatures that dwell along their banks. The exhibition is curated by Matt Woodside, the Museums’ Chief Curator.

“Exploring rivers is a very meditative experience,” says Buchanan. “It helps me understand my place, as one being in the web of existence of equal value to the rest of life. Although my existence and experiences are transitory, capturing moments of genuine connection through photographs or other mementoes allows me to experience the universal aspect of life.”

“I was particularly interested in exhibiting my work at the South Florida Museum because it is a living science museum that encourages viewers to question and explore their relationship to nature, and life in general, coinciding with my goals as a fine art photographer. ”

Recent exhibitions, under the curatorship of Matt Woodside, have also integrated fine art and science. “Buchanan’s work compliments the direction of the Museum, as it captures the beauty of the natural world in a creative way that breaks boundaries and invites Museum visitors to become actively engaged in their viewing experience,” says Matt Woodside.

Lynne Buchanan’s award-winning photographs have been featured in exhibitions in Florida, including the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries of Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Selby Gardens and the White Heron Wellness Center in Sarasota, and the Venice Art Center. She received master’s degrees in creative writing from the University of South Florida in Tampa, and in art history/museums studies from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She also received a bachelor’s degree from New College in Sarasota, Florida. She pens a blog that features her photographs and philosophical writings.

For additional information visit www.lynnebuchanan.com

Gallery Hours:
Monday thru Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday noon to 5:00 p.m.

201 10th Street West, Bradenton, FL 34205

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Winner of Bravo’s Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, Kymia Nawabi, speaking at New College

New York artist and TV reality star winner of Bravo’s Work of Art, Kymia Nawabi to speak at New College of Florida April 18, 6:30 pm Sainer Pavilion

New College of Florida’s Art Department and Student Government are pleased to present New York based artist Kymia Nawabi, who will speak on April 18, at 6:30 pm in the Mildred Sainer Pavilion. Nawabi’s talk will include the development of her studio work and recent achievements including competing in and winning Bravo’s reality TV series Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. Nawabi, a first-generation Iranian-American artist, earned her MFA from the University of Florida in 2006 and BFA from East Carolina University in 2003. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious residencies and awards.

Kymia Nawabi, Not For Long
Not For Long, Kymia Nawabi

Free and open to the public; no reservations necessary. For information, call 941-487-4888


Kymia Nawabi Nawabi, a first-generation Iranian-American artist, earned her MFA from the University of Florida in 2006 and BFA from East Carolina University in 2003. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious residencies and awards including The Keyholder Residency with The Lower East Side Printshop (2012), winner of Bravo’s reality TV series Work of Art: The Next Great Artist (2011), New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Grant and Fellowship in drawing (2009), two-time Swing Space recipient with Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2009, 2007), Nominee and Fellowship with the Aljira Emerge 10 Program (2008), The Canal Chapter Residency (2007) and The Women’s Studio Workshop Fellowship and Residency (2007).

Nawabi has been a visiting artist and lecturer at East Carolina University’s (ECU) College of Fine Arts (2012, 2009), University of Florida (2012) and Westchester Community College (2010). She has served as a panelist for the NYFA fellowships for printmaking, drawing, and book arts (2012, 2011), and was recently invited to be the commencement speaker for the College of Fine Arts at ECU.

Her works have been showcased in celebrated art institutions, including a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum (2011-2012) and the Queens Museum International Biennale (2009). Her works can be seen on view in the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Art Library.

Nawabi describes her work as an “allegory of human behavior” which weaves a fantastical personal mythology together with “adopted gods, mythological creatures and burial ceremonies from different cultures.”

Kymia Nawabi lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.


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Stephen McFadden shoots 10×10

Stephen McFadden provides you with a video tour of the most recent 10×10 Event held at State of the Art Gallery, March 2012.

See the speakers at this particular 10×10 event here: Introducing Thursday Night’s Leaders: 10×10

The intention of this event is to showcase and introduce a diverse group of leaders from the local creative community. Each speaker will present 10 images. The images will automatically advance every 30 seconds. In 300 seconds and 10 images, each speaker will give us an overview of their background, current work, or interests.

Learn more about Stephen McFadden: www.mcfaddencreative.com

Introducing Thursday Night’s Leaders: 10×10

March 15 will host a lecture series by 10 of Sarasota’s local creative leaders. Sarasota Visual Art gives a look into who these people are ahead of time as a visual amuse-bouche to Thursday’s event.

The intention of this event is to showcase and introduce a diverse group of leaders from the local creative community. Each speaker will present 10 images. The images will automatically advance every 30 seconds. In 300 seconds and 10 images, each speaker will give us an overview of their background, current work, or interests. Scroll down for time and location.


Carl Abbott (Architect)

Carl AbbottCarl Abbott’s Architecture has been recognized internationally — for the past four decades his office has been one of the most highly awarded firms in the Florida / Caribbean Region. Carl is also a member of the original Sarasota School of Architecture. Among his many recognitions, Carl is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and has been awarded the AIA Florida Caribbean / Region’s Medal of Honor for Design and the Architectural Firm Honor Award. The University of Florida recognized him as a Distinguished Architectural Alumnus. He has taught and lectured in many places including Yale, Harvard and the World Monument Foundation.¬ From Yale, Carl received his Masters with studies under Paul Rudolph, Vincent Scully, Louis Kahn (University of Florida), a Bachelors with studies under Bill Stewart, Buckminster Fuller. He has worked in Hawaii, in New York with I.M. Pei, and in London with Yale classmates Richard Rogers and Norman Foster.
Ann Albritton (Art Historian) Ann AlbrittonPh. D., teaches contemporary art history and women artists in history among other art history subjects at the Ringling College of Art and Design. She’s taught in France, Eastern Europe, New York, Washington State and Ohio. She also publishes articles, writes reviews and presents papers for major art conferences.. For two years, between 1993 and 1995, Ann Albritton, Ringling College of Art and Design, taught modern and contemporary art history at the Grigorescu Academy of Art (now the National University of Fine Arts) in Bucharest, Romania.

View our featured article here: Interview with Ann Albritton

Dasha Reich (Artist) Dasha ReichAndrea Dasha Reich was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in a creative and progressive environment. Her Father was a lawyer and political activist and her mother was a graduate of the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague. She was raised in a Bauhaus designed apartment building filled with inspiring original artwork of that era. When her family relocated to Israel in 1960, Dasha studied art and design at the Bezalel Academy of Art in Jerusalem, under renowned modernist painters Yossi Stern and Moshe Rosenthalis.

After emigrating to the United States in 1966, Dasha enjoyed successful careers working in fashion design, accessories, home furnishing, textile design, tableware, and commercial space design. Her abstract paintings reflect her travels to Eastern and Western Europe, the Orient, the Middle East, and Mexico, and she draws inspiration from various aspects of our inter-connected, global culture.

Jeannie Perales, (Director of Education Selby Gardens) Jeannie PeralesJeannie Perales has been the Director of Education at The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens since 2010. Prior to that, she was a Museum Educator at The Denver Art Museum followed by The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art. A Florida native, Jeannie returned to her hometown of Sarasota in 2005 after giving birth to her first child in Spain. With degrees in Communications, Cultural Anthropology and Educational Psychology coupled with her museum experience, Ms. Perales’ skill is in feeding information to the public in digestible bites through informal programs such as lectures, tours, interactive elements, and classes. Professionally, she’s spent twelve years in art museums and botanical gardens working with content specialists to design programs for visitors. A self-proclaimed generalist, Jeannie claims that “although not an authority on any one topic, I am an educator which means that the only thing I like more than information is sharing it in accessible and fun ways.” Ms. Perales lives in Sarasota with her husband, Daniel Perales and their two children, Kique, 6 ½ and Lucia, 5.
Kevin Dean (Artist, Selby Gallery Director) Kevin DeanB.A., M.A., Director of Selby Gallery, Co-Coordinator of American Humanities. He has written for the Galesburg Registered Mail, Chicago’s New Art Examiner, Longboat Observer, Bradenton Herald, Sarasota Magazine, Art Voices Magazine, Sarasota Arts Review and numerous exhibition catalog essays. In 1985 Dean began teaching studio and art history at Sarasota’s internationally-renown Ringling College of Art and Design and became the director of the art college’s Selby Gallery nine years later where he now works today.
Maribeth Clark (Musicologist) Maribeth ClarkNew College – Associate Professor of Music, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, M.A., University of North, Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.M. (Musicology), Rice University

In both her research and teaching, Professor Clark moves among the disciplines of musicology (music history), ethnomusicology (anthropology of music), and dance history, striving to demonstrate the ways that experiences of music are culturally constructed and historically situated.

Most of Professor Clark’s research has focused on French opera and ballet of the nineteenth century; however, she has recently developed strong interests in representations of nature in music and the tradition of music education at Lutheran liberal arts colleges. She teaches on a wide range of topics in music history, including courses on the history of opera and music and the environment.

Dr. Matthew McLendon, (Ringling Museum Curator) Associate curator of modern and contemporary art is responsible not only for overseeing all aspects of the museum’s permanent collection from 1850 onward, but also curating new exhibits. Prior to his appointment, Dr. McLendon, a native Floridian, was appointed the first Curator of Academic Initiatives at The George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College. Dr. Matthew McLendon is an alumnus of Florida State University where he received Bachelor of Art degrees in both Art History and Music. While at FSU, he was the first intern in the department of Interpretation and Education at Tate Britain, London. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa, Dr. McLendon returned to London to study at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London where he received his MA and PhD.

View our featured article here: Interview with Matthew McLendon

Matt Walsh, (CEO and Editor Observer Group) Matt WalshBorn in St. Louis, Walsh is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and attended the University of Kansas Graduate School of Business. Matt Walsh is CEO and co-owner of The Observer Group Inc. — publisher of the Gulf Coast Business Review, Gulf Coast Commercial, The Sarasota Observer, The Longboat Observer, The East County Observer, The South Sarasota Observer, The North Manatee Observer and Season magazine. Since then, through a combination of four startups and three small acquisitions, the company has grown from 18 employees to 60 and increased revenues more than sixfold.

The Observers are a group of free community weeklies that reach 200,000 readers per week in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The Review, in contrast, serves as highly targeted audience of 5,000 CEOs, entrepreneurs and business leaders from Tampa Bay to Naples and is the only weekly business paper covering the west coast of Florida.

Rick Rados (Architect / Painter) Rick RadosAIA studied art at the University of Tampa prior to transferring to the University of Florida to pursue an architectural degree. While there he also studied painting under Hiram Williams. He earned his architectural degree from the University of Florida in 1963 and became a registered Florida Architect in 1965.

His Architecture has received dozens of awards for design excellence and has been published in numerous periodicals, journals and books. He has been an adjunct faculty member in design studios and an occasional visiting critic at the Schools of Architecture at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida. He has been elected to the rank of “Distinguished Alumni” at the University of Florida School of Architecture and was awarded the 2003 “Medal of Honor” by the Tampa Bay area chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

During the course of his architectural practice he routinely utilized drawing and painting as instruments of architectural design research and development. In 2003 he closed his architecture practice and returned to painting. Currently, he is also a part time adjunct faculty member at the University of South Florida where he teaches a graduate level architectural design studio.

Uzi Baram (Anthropologist) Uzi BaramProfessor, Anthropology, Director, New College Public Archaeology Lab

Uzi Baram is an anthropologist who teaches a wide range of archaeology and cultural anthropology courses. As a New College professor, Professor Baram has moved his principle area of research from the eastern Mediterranean to the west coast of Florida. In the eastern Mediterranean he has studied the material culture, cultural landscapes, Western travel accounts, and social identities of the Ottoman Empire. Current research on the Middle East examines the intersection of archaeology and heritage tourism.


Where: State of the Art Gallery
1525 State Street, Sarasota, FL

Time: 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. Reception
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Presentations

Cost: $10 tickets are available at the door or can be purchased at the State of the Art Gallery or by calling 955-2787, includes passed H’orderves and complimentary glass of wine.

Facebook Event RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/237161116373480/


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