Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mennello Museum

I went to the Mennello Museum for a quick meeting with Genevieve Bernard about a possible mural outside the building. We met in Kim Robinson's office. Her office window looks straight out at the blank wall. Executive Director, Frank Holt, wanted to be sure the final image was cohesive. The proposed wall is 48 feet wide by seven feet high. Next week I will be meeting students who will help with brainstorming for ideas. Apparently there is a competition which will help pick which high school students can help me out with the actual painting of the mural. Details are still being worked out. My challenge is to maintain my usual spontaneous style so the mural looks like a sketch done on location. The sun beats down on the wall which waits for inspiration to strike so it can fulfill it's potential.

When I entered the museum it was obvious that they were taking down the 1934 New Deal show and putting up a new show. The New Deal show featured paintings from the Smithsonian collection. The new deal program lasted for a very short time in 1934 and it encouraged artists to portray the American scene. Many of the paintings depicted the American dream for a brighter future. As these idealistic visions were crated away, new art went up from local Florida artists. In a side gallery paintings by Ron Van Sweringen were being hung. These paintings looked like Jackson Pollack drip paintings. The difference being that Pollack spread his canvases on the floor letting the paint drip down. Ron placed his canvases on a wall and then threw the paint at it. He referred to his painting method as "Astroism."

After the meeting I decided to sketch as the new exhibit, called "Fla-Art," was installed. A worker stenciled up the title of the show above the reception desk. The first new work to go up was of a man pushing aside a curtain and gazing out at the viewer. It has an ominous weight to it. Most of the other work was still from the New Deal. A miner drilled for coal, men pushed large blocks of ice in an ice house, men marched through a field to work.

As I sketched a young woman asked the receptionist about renting the museum for a wedding. She was given brochures and suggestions. Several artists walked in with canvases. I was impressed by some of the work waiting to be hung. The Fla-Art show is opening May 13th from 6-8pm. Members get in free and non-members pay $5. There will be a cash bar. The Florida Artists show will be on display through September 25th 2011.

Evenings with the Director. On Tuesdays 6/14, 7/12, 8/9, 9/13, 6pm experience an evening with museum Director Frank Holt. The walk is included in general admission. Reservations required. Call (407) 246.4278

Family Days are on Sundays,
6/12, 7/10, 8/14, 9/11 starting at 12:30pm with family arts and crafts activities and a children's workshop at 1pm. At 2pm there is a FREE guided tour.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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