Saturday, January 9, 2016
Frankie Messina of Apartment E is something of an Orlando institution. For years he has brought artists together from all disciplines. Visual artists mingle with writers, musicians, an performers of all kinds. He has begun curating shows at The Current Galleries (202 E.1st Street Historic Sanford Florida). " The theme of this show held in March 2015, was Home. "The road to a friend's house is never long." It was a collective art and performance show where pieces or expressions were of "your home" or what "home" means to you.
This was the debut event in in the new galleries and Frankie was excited to build new relationships and connections between Sanford, Orlando and all the cities around and in between. The new Gallery was kicked off with an amazing opening night during the monthly Sanford Art Walk that featured poets, instillation art, musicians and of course visual artists. Tais Phillips combined poetry with an overhead projector to create an interactive experience where poets could see their words projected large on the wall.
In the room next to me, mailboxes were mounted on the wall. Patrons were invited to write an inspirational note and put it in one of the mailboxes for future patrons to read. Scott Pantke and his wife Nicole from Blast Studios occupied a studio space where they encouraged people to give air brush painting a try. Just dropping off a painting for the show was an adventure, because Frankie had artists meet him behind the gallery and a spiral staircase lead up to the second floor gallery.
Admission was to the public and the opening was more like a non stop party rather than a formal opening. A 10% commission off work sold went to Apartment E's Blanket Orlando Project for the homeless, held every year in November. This in itself is an inspiring story of how one person with a pick up truck and a big heart, can make a big difference when they decide to make a positive change. Every year that true gets filled to overflowing to help people who need to battle the cold through Orlando's winter months. One of Frankie's favorite sayings is, "What you don't give away, is lost."
Friday, July 26, 2013
On every fourth Friday between 6pm and 9pm, there is an Art Walk in Downtown Sanford that features fine and funky art. I went to the June Sanford Art Walk with storm clouds looming. As I walked down 1st Street it began to pour, so I slipped inside the Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Galley (211 East 1st Street, Sanford FL). As I was looking around, the woman behind the counter asked if I was Thor. It was Mary K. Shaw. I had sketched her once as part of the Sketchbook Project Library which was set up for a few days at Urban ReThink. I had never met her in person, yet she was a Facebook friend. Since she knew of my sketch a day project, I felt comfortable asking her if I could sketch the gallery to promote the Sanford Art Walk. It was hard to find a spot where I wouldn't be blocking any art. I snuggled up next to a water pipe and got to work.
There are artist's studios all around the outer edge of the gallery. I particularly liked the work of Cherie Dacko. Her " Bent Realism" distorted faces as if using the liquefy filter in Photoshop. Features melted and swirled. She also incorporated fabric that gave the work an added dimension. I got to meet the artist and she used to work in the front studio that had a window to the street. Passers by would actually stop in to complain saying they found her work disturbing. That is a major accomplishment to get such a visceral reaction. She now has a studio upstairs where she can work in peace. I purchased a bottle of "Cheer Wine" which is actually a local soda that I have never been able to find in a supermarket. I met Joe Waller, who makes "Cheer Wine" in his home state of North Carolina But I never had the chance to taste it. Now I knew what all the fuss was about.
For the Art Walk, two Folk Artists were exhibiting their colorful work in the far corner of my sketch. That evening there was also going to be shuffleboard matches at the Sanford Senior Center with vintage attire encouraged. The shuffleboard is rain or shine, thanks to covered pavilions, so anyone can come out and rattle the sticks and pucks tonight. Free and fun til 9pm. A small French Bulldog named Frankie was the welcome ambassador to the Folk Art. He slobbered on my bag and checked on my progress fairly often. A Day of the Dead mask of Lady Catrina was made by an artist who wears it in October and walks 1st Avenue to promote the gallery. This is the place to be come Halloween. There were $20 magnets by Artist Carl Knickerbocker. I had one of these on my car once but it was stolen. Tin can fish swam through the cavernous gallery and black face iron sculptures stood behind an ancient travel chest.
The theme for the month at the Sanford Welcome Center was,“Art Show About Nothing”, abstractions abounded, they didn’t care what it was, as long as it was NOT SOMETHING. It's a different theme each month. A small card on the counter had a map that showed all nine stops on the Art Walk. Having experienced just one venue, I have every reason to go back. Tonight's Art Walk (Friday July 26, 2013), theme is “Breakable”- a tribute to all things breakable, broken or pieced back together. This is Central Florida’s only monthly juried art show with both a “Best in Show” award chosen by a panel of judges and a “People’s Choice” award chosen by the attendees of the show. Head to downtown Sanford, pick up a map at any gallery, and mingle with the artists as you enjoy live music, food and lots of ART. The event is open to the public and admission is free.