Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Art Deco Weekend VIP Reception

Art Deco Weekend is held in Miami Beach each year. Art Deco Weekend was created nearly 43 years ago by the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL) to showcase the beautiful Art Deco buildings of South Beach, saving it for future generations. MDPL’s early work was the catalyst that created the vibrant, world-class city we live in today.

This year, Orlando Urban Sketchers, Tampa Urban Sketchers and Miami Urban Sketchers were invited to offer sketch tours and demonstrations during the festival. Day 1 was problematic. It rained much of the morning as we tried to set up the tent. Tensions were high and sketch equipment got muddy. The Florida Urban Sketchers had a tent where guests could try their hand using watercolors and it became mission central for  sketch tours.

Pam Schwartz prepared historical information cards abut each of the Art Deco buildings that were being visited on the sketch walks. She teamed up with James Richards on the first sketch walk and was the historical tour guide before artists sketched the scenes. Day 1 there were two sketch walks and three demonstrations. I gave a demonstration sketching the Versace mansion using as my canvas the large Grape Leaves that are so prevalent beach side in Miami Beach. This turned out to be a fun experiment and others grabbed leaves to try sketching themselves. The leaves are thick and leathery and I was told they can be sent as post cards through the mail. I may try to mail one of the sketches back to Orlando.

In the evening there was a VIP reception for board members. It was insanely windy. Women's hair and palm tree fronds blew horizontal. Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra performed on stage. The wind blew into the microphones creating extra sound effects. The dancers were all amazing. That is because they were mostly a local dance group. We had several drink tickets and Pam ordered several sangrias. I usually like sangria but this stuff was pure alcohol or rocket fuel. I could not down my drink.

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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