CF Ira Holmes International Film Series
features Polite Society

Two screenings on March 26
Information Provided 
By CF Marketing and Public Relations’
Published Feb. 29, 2024 at 10:30 p.m.
     OCALA --
The College of Central Florida Ira Holmes International Film Series will continue Tuesday, March 26, featuring the critically acclaimed film Polite Society.
     Martial artist-in-training Ria Khan believes she must save her older sister Lena from her impending marriage. With the help of her friends, Ria attempts to pull off the most ambitious of all wedding heists in the name of independence and sisterhood. From director Nida Manzoor, this playful, coming-of-age comedy mixes elements from Bollywood and martial arts genres to create a fun girl-power film that is perfect for Women’s History Month.
     A screening is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at the Appleton Museum of Art, 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., and is free to all museum and film series members; nonmembers pay museum admission.
     A second screening is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the CF Ocala Campus, 3001 S.W. College Road, Building 8, Room 110. The screening at the CF Ocala Campus is free and open to the public.
     For a full series list and more information on the CF Ira Holmes International Film Series, contact Wendy Adams at 352-873-5800, ext. 1546, or visit www.CF.edu/filmseries.



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Yankeetown continues
centennial celebration with trivia event

Dave ‘The Beach Bum’ Conrad hosts the trivia event.

Story and Photos
By Ace Reporter Peter Weiss, HardisonInk.com Correspondent
© Feb. 26, 2024 at 5 p.m.
The Yankeetown Parks and Recreation Committee took over the Yankeetown-Inglis Woman's Club on Saturday night (Feb. 24) for a Trivia of Yankeetown event.

     Serving as master of ceremonies was Dave “The Beach Bum” Conrad. Dave hosts a trivia show every Tuesday night at Blackwater Restaurant, 6301 Riverside Drive in Yankeetown.
     This night’s service by that emcee was even more special than his weekly Tuesday night service at the restaurant, which is right next to the Withlacoochee River in Yankeetown.
     The questions on Saturday night were all based on Yankeetown and its history. A couple of the examples of the questions are: “What the full name of Yankeetown Founder A.F. Knotts?” (Armanis Francis Knotts is the correct answer.). “In the Elvis Presley Movie “Follow That Dream”, he sat on a bridge on Levy County Road 40 West, over what body of water?” (Bird Creek is the correct answer.) 
     The trivia winning team, who played under the team name of “The Party Poopers” are Sue Snook, Shirley Kubistek, Art Bennus, Gary Aumock, Judy Aumock and Mary Pate.
     The Best Dressed winners are Kerry Fuller and Rose Uzarski.

The Woman's Club is transformed into a 1920s Speakeasy.

Three of the Yankeetown City Council members in attendance are seen here -- Lawrence Vorisek, Kerry Fuller and Bob Terrian.

     More than 60 people attended the event. In addition to the fun of participating in answering trivia questions, attendees were provided with various delicious food selections including chicken wings, meatballs, sandwiches, chips, cheesecake and cookies, to name just a few.
     Attendees we encouraged, but not required, to dress up in “Roaring Twenties” attire to coincide with the founding years of the town. There was a contest for Best Dressed with gift baskets as prizes for the winners.
     Yankeetown residents and visitors undoubtably enjoyed the night, which is thanks to the members of the Yankeetown Parks and Recreation Committee for their incredible effort to put together the event and to provide the food and amazing decorations.


CF Library hosts presentation
on Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Event set for March 6 - RSVPs encouraged
Program Planned
Florence M. Turcotte and Anne Pierce, distinguished speakers are seen at left, and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings is seen wearing hunting attire in the photo at the right.

Information and Photos Provided
By CF Marketing and Public Relations
Published Feb. 23, 2024 at 7 a.m.
     OCALA --
The College of Central Florida Library is scheduled to host a presentation on the works of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Aug. 8, 1896-Dec. 14, 1953) and the influence of Florida’s landscape and culture on her writing.

     This event is scheduled to take place March 6, 2024, starting at 12:30 p.m., at the CF Ocala Campus Stearns Learning Resources Center, Building 3. 
     Everyone is invited to join two distinguished speakers for this event. Florence M. Turcotte and Anne Pierce are scheduled to speak about how the regional characteristics of Florida inspired Rawlings' literary imagination, contributing to her rich narratives. Attendees will gain insight into the connection between Rawlings’ environment and her creative output.
     Listeners will have the opportunity to learn how Rawlings’ surroundings at the time infused her writing with a sense of place and authenticity.
     Turcotte, a literary manuscripts archivist and curator of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Papers at the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries, brings a wealth of knowledge on Rawlings. As the executive director of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society and a board member of the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, Turcotte has contributed significantly to the study of Rawlings through her published works and dedication to preserving Rawlings’ legacy.
     Pierce, a retired professor from Georgia Southern University, has a deep appreciation for the history and natural beauty of the region — particularly the Big Scrub, an area of the Ocala National Forest featured in Rawlings’ writings. Pierce's exploration of Rawlings’ work has been instrumental in her role as an active member and officer in both the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society and the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm.
     Refreshments will be provided at the event and the first 25 students in attendance will receive a complimentary copy of The Yearling, Rawlings’ 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
     The Yearling, her best known work, is a story about a boy who adopts an orphaned fawn, and it was later made into a movie of the same name.
     Attendees are encouraged to RSVP via email at ruizf@cf.edu. Reserving a seat is appreciated but not required. For more information visit CF.edu/LibraryEvents.


SpringsFest Photo Contest
winners named

Springs Pix
Photo by Monique Kelley, first-place winner in the Color category.

Information and Photos Provided
By CF Appleton Museum of Art
Published Feb. 21, 2024 at 4 p.m.
     OCALA --
The Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida and Silver Springs State Park are pleased to announce the winners of the “Florida SpringsFest Photography Contest.”

     In celebration of Marion County’s own beautiful natural springs, the public was invited to submit photos taken at Silver Springs that fell into any of the three categories: Color; Flora and Fauna; and People. The contest was open to all ages and a total of 269 photos were submitted across the three categories. Photos were juried by Dave Miller, an Ocala-based photographer and videographer, and co-owner of Maven Photo + Film.
     “We are excited to partner with the Appleton Museum of Art for Florida SpringsFest 2024,” said Park Services Specialist Ruth Fletcher. “Art and nature are incredibly important to Florida residents and visitors, alike. This is a great way to bring the community together while conserving and enjoying this beautiful piece of the state.”

Springs Pix
Photo by Zachary Shaul, first-place winner in the Flora and Fauna category.

Springs Pix
Photo by Dawn A. Campbell, first-place winner in the People category.

     Entries will be displayed at Silver Springs State Park from March 2 through April 30. Regular admission fees apply to see the photo display. The six winning photos will be displayed, also, at the Appleton Museum of Art during the same time.
     Visit Silver Springs State Park Saturday, March 2, and Sunday, March 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., for the 2024 Florida SpringsFest event.
     In addition to enjoying the photography display, attendees are invited to take part in a fun-filled day that is all about the springs including activities for children, live music and food vendors. Entry is $2 per person.
     Admission will be free at the Appleton Museum of Art during Florida SpringsFest weekend. Open hours are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
     Visitors to the Appleton Museum of Art will enjoy several exhibitions featuring artwork inspired by the springs including “Water’s Margins: Paintings of Florida’s Springs by Margaret Ross Tolbert” and “Karen Glaser: Springs and Swamps.” On Sunday, March 3, at 2 p.m., author Leslie Kemp Poole will give a free talk in the Appleton auditorium on her new book, “Tracing Florida Journeys: Explorers, Travelers, and Landscapes Then and Now.” No reservation needed to attend.


Fine art, literature and performing arts
add to history program in Cedar Key

Carolyn Cohens stands near a few of her paintings on display at the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 18). She was among the featured artists, authors, musicians and others who provided a history-making Black History program in Cedar Key that day.

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 19, 2024 at 2:15 p.m.
     CEDAR KEY –
Rain came down in a drizzle and temperatures were at the 50-degree Fahrenheit mark or lower on the northeast corner of D Street (aka State Road 24) and Second Street in Cedar Key on Sunday (Feb. 18) at 2 p.m.
     While the weather outside was gloomy, cold and wet, inside the two historic buildings that Sunday afternoon, there was a torrential downpouring of information and brotherly love related to local history.
     Inside those two buildings – the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum and the Andrews House Museum Building – a two-hour program in those two places simultaneously combined fine art, literature and performing arts to become part of a presentation of Black History in Cedar Key and Levy County.
     Paintings, viola-playing, singing, dancing and speeches showed some of the culture of modern history at the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum and the Andrews House Museum Building as several people presented a Black History program there.

Cedar Key Historical Society Museum Docent Michael Hostetlier greets people coming into the museum to see the special program, or to tour the museum on Sunday (Feb. 18). Hurricane Idalia impacted the two buildings, yet mirroring the never quit spirit of many people in Cedar Key, the historic landmarks continue to serve as a beacon to remember the past.

Cedar Key Historical Society Vice President Nancy Hanson greets people who have come to experience the wonderous program of the day on Feb. 18.

Carolyn Cohens holds one of her history books open as she tells some of ‘the back story’ from a photograph in the paperback as she addresses the audience in the Andrews House Museum Building of Cedar Key.

Johnnie Phillips sings acapella as she performs Soon I Will Be Done With The Troubles Of This World by Mahalia Jackson. To hear and see this two-minute plus video, click on the still PHOTO.

    Cedar Key Historical Society Vice President Nancy Hanson and Cedar Key Historical Society Museum Executive Director Anna White Hodges served as emcees for what is a history-making event as they provided two groups of people with plenty to see, hear and experience as program presenters went from one building to the next, and the audience stayed in one place or the other, or roamed between the two.
     An assortment of refreshments added to the senses of the day as taste and smell were pleased, just like the senses of sight, sound and the feeling of actual temperature warmth. While the degrees of Fahrenheit inside were agreeable, so too was the warmth of the spirit which abounded, too, as viewers and listeners saw and heard some Black History of Levy County -- as well as individual and familial success stories.
     The program in the Andrews House Museum Building opened with Lisa Mitchell of Cedar Key performing songs on the viola, including This Land Is Your Land by Woodie Guthrie.

Cedar Key Historical Society Museum Executive Director Anna White Hodges stands near Lisa Mitchell of Cedar Key as the musician prepares to perform more songs on the viola.

Katrina Cohens gives people words of inspiration as she speaks about her life.

Sharon Battles Hutchinson of Williston tells a little bit about the Battles’ family, and she introduces the audience to the William & Lucille Battles Legacy Foundation.

Johnnie Phillips of Chiefland prepares to sing.

     As noted in The Library of Congress, Woody Guthrie, the composer of This Land Is Your Land, was one of the most influential voices in the entire American folk music tradition. He wrote that song in February of 1940.
     Another song Mitchell played on the viola before the start of the speaking portion of the program was Swing Low. The Smithsonian American Art Museum notes this song “is attributed to Wallace Willis, a slave from Oklahoma; his inspiration was the land beyond the Ohio River. Like other songs of resistance, the spiritual uses encoded language that would have been familiar to slaves.”
     Another song played on the viola was When the Saints Come Marching In.
     The Saint Augustine Record, notes in part about this song that “Louis Armstrong's recording of When the Saints Go Marching In (Decca Records, 1938) is credited with the launch of its popularity and with bringing Armstrong to the forefront of the music world. It was a song that Armstrong had sung as a child. He was born in New Orleans on Aug. 4, 1901, in a ghetto at Uptown, New Orleans.”
     Go Down Moses is another song performed on the viola by Mitchell. This song is an African American Spiritual that is among the hymns published in The United Methodist Hymnal, as number 448. Although none of the lyrics of the various songs were sang during the viola playing, “Let my people go” are among the words in this song. 
     Joshua at the Battle of Jericho was performed on the viola. “Song Facts” notes that the origin of this well-known African American spiritual is lost to time, but it was probably composed by a slave or slaves working on a plantation in the antebellum Deep South.
     The song is clearly inspired by The Old Testament tale of the fall of Jericho, from the Book Of Joshua. The Israelite army led by Joshua marched around the city blowing their trumpets - ram's horns - and after Joshua ordered them to shout, the walls collapsed.
     The music to Wade In The Water was performed on viola, too. The lyrics of Wade in the Water reference the biblical story of the Israelites crossing the river Jordan. Lyrics also reminded those seeking freedom from slaveholders to walk in the rivers along their journey, so that tracking dogs and slavecatchers could not follow their footprints or their scent, according to an article in Writing on Music.
     Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen music was played on the viola. In the Discipleship of Music -History of Hymns: Nobody Knows the Trouble I See is an African American Spiritual Songs of Zion, 170 and 171. And it is in The United Methodist Hymnal, as number 520.
     Mitchell performed this music and other songs with grace and style as a soloist on the viola before the spoken start of the historic late afternoon event on the eastern end of downtown Cedar Key at the two museums.

Katrina Cohens
     Katrina Cohens was the first speaker in the Andrews House Museum Building.
     She shared many stories from her early life as the only child of Carolyn Cohens, a renowned artist and historian in Chiefland and Levy County.
     Katrina told about her success in academics as a single working mother who completed her associate’s, bachelor’s and then her Master of Business Administration degrees, progressing from being a bank teller to reach a point now where she is a regional community development strategist for banks in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
     She urged listeners to build their social skills and employability skills not only by working, but by volunteering.
     Katrina reminded audience members that one size does not always fill all needs. Her success comes in no small part from her mottos – Dream Big and Chase Your Dreams.
     In addition to her banking duties, she owns Cohens Consulting Services, LLC, where she especially advises women who face challenges in the workforce. Even today, women in the United States of America face gender-based obstacles, although to a lesser extent than in some more tyranny-based countries.

Carolyn Cohens
     Carolyn Hill Cohens Gent, who at 75 years old is still best known as Carolyn Cohens, is a lifelong resident of Chiefland.
     As accurately noted by some other writers, her rich personal history is deeply intertwined with Levy County. She shared a lot of insight during her part of the day’s presentations. 
     Raised by her grandparents during an era before integration, her family holds the distinction of being among the first settlers in Chiefland. Cohens, born in September 1948, has dedicated herself to preserving and sharing the stories of African Americans in Levy County, as noted correctly by companies marketing her books.
     For more than a decade, she provided Black History Month programs at the Levy County Courthouse, with outgoing Levy County Clerk Danny Shipp providing a venue. During those previous events, Carolyn Cohens would highlight a number of different Levy County families at the one annual event, often covering a few generations at a time.
     This year, she was among the amazing presenters at a program created by Cedar Key Historical Society Museum Executive Director Hodges, which reached fruition thanks to help from other individuals as well.
     Carolyn Cohens’ artistic endeavors include illustrating the children’s storybook titled Out of the Past: A Noble Leader and contributing to the book The Origination of the Black Man.
     Additionally, she authored Levy County (part of the Black America Series) “… a captivating pictorial history that delves into the socioeconomic and political changes experienced by African Americans in the 20th Century,” as noted in part by a bookseller. 
     Through 200 images, this book captures the daily lives, traditions and community leaders of Black residents in Levy County.
     “Cohens’ passion for folk art and her commitment to teaching history through her creative expressions have left an indelible mark on her community,” a book vending company promotion accurately notes.
     During the program on Sunday afternoon, Carloyn Cohens spoke about her writing of Levy County Florida (Black America Series).
     Levy County (Images Of America) is another paperback authored by her with illustrations and photographs. This second book was first published on Nov. 30, 2009.
     As for the starting point of the history of Levy County, it was founded in 1845 and was named after Florida's first senator, David Levy Yulee.

Sharon Battles Hutchinson
     Sharon Battles Hutchinson of Williston spoke about her family’s history in the easternmost of the eight municipalities existing in Levy County today.
     The Rev. Dr. Hutchinson not only earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida, and two master’s degrees from Webster College, but she also earned a Doctoral in Divinity from Webster College, and she is an active licensed contractor in Florida.
     She noted that she is “Sharon Battles Hutchinson,” not only because she married Alphonso Hutchinson, but because there are three “Sharon Battles” in her family alone, as a result of her two brothers marrying women with the first name Sharon.
     During her family vacations when all three Sharons are present, she is “Sharon One” because she was first, Dr. Hutchinson noted.
     Dr. Hutchinson shared a wealth of information about her family’s ancestry, including that she is among the children of William and Lucille Battles.
     Her father was a master electrician who served clients for 31 years. Her mother taught children in kindergarten through twelfth grade in Levy County for 32 years. That couple left a legacy through their children, and their children’s children, by the grace of God, who were truly blessed by going into the profession of education or other venues, such as becoming electricians, she said.
     Among her many moving and inspirational messages that day, and she is a certified life coach as well, Dr. Hutchinson said a person should never give up. She demonstrated this by earning her highest degrees after suffering a stroke in 2005 as well as obtaining her Florida general contractor’s license in 2011. And she still is active as a general contractor working in Community Development Project Grant construction.
     There have been occasions where someone on a site would ask her where “the boss” is, and she humbly and graciously lets them know that she is that person. In construction, it is a relatively male-dominated profession, which accounts for some people needing help in understanding the who’s who on a job site on occasion.
     “You can achieve anything you like,” Dr. Hutchinson said. 
     Her family – brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces are all successful entrepreneurs. 
     This year, she said, the family, through the William & Lucille Battles Legacy Foundation, is offering a grant to applicants who want to further their education in college or in a trade school. 
     They want to encourage disadvantaged children aged 17 to 21 years old, and later to the 12- to 16-years-old group, to show them that “You can do whatever you set your mind to do,” she said.
     Since her and her brothers and sisters saw their parents providing for other children, as well as for their immediate family members, the offspring came together and put some money into this foundation to help the next generation of people who may need some financial assistance for education, including in trades like being an electrician, she said.

Johnnie Phillips
     Cedar Key Historical Society Museum Executive Director Hodges brought Johnnie Phillips to the front of the Andrews House Museum Building, where Phillips sang some songs acapella.
     Then, Carolyn Cohens called upon the pastor of the church where she and Phillips are congregants, and he sang a couple of songs, as well including Give Me That Old Time Religion.
     The website Folk Singers, notes that "Give Me That Old-Time Religion is a traditional Gospel song dating from the late 1800s.”
     Charles Davis Tillman published the song in 1891, introducing it to white congregations, but he first heard it sung by African Americans when he attended a camp meeting in Lexington, South Carolina in 1889, according to some reference books. This song had been published earlier, in 1873, by G. D. Pike in his collection Jubilee Singers and Their Campaign for Twenty Thousand Dollars.
     There is a related bible verse for this song. 

John 10:2-4 (KJV)
     2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
     3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
     4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

     The Black History Month presentation at the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum and the Andrews House Museum Building on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 18) was a delightful and refreshing approach to sharing local Black History.
     It followed a bit of the theme from Carolyn Cohens methods in years past at the Levy County Courthouse but added even more performing arts that from those previous showings.
     In addition to the fine art paintings by Carolyn Cohens on display, the viola performance by Lisa Mitchell, the acapella singing, and the lectures by inspirational and motivational speakers, and there was also a spirit dance performance and even more at this event that helped people see some of the Black History of Levy County from different perspectives.


‘Calendar Girls’ screening
and in-person meet-and-greet
set for March 2

Information and Art Provided
By CF Marketing and Community Relations
Published Feb. 16, 2024 at 8:45 p.m.
     OCALA —
The College of Central Florida Ira Holmes International Film Series will continue Tuesday, Feb. 27, with a special screening of “Calendar Girls.” 
     A feel-good dance documentary directed and produced by Swedish filmmakers Maria Loohufvud and Love Martinsen, the film follows an unlikely group of senior women bonded by a love for dance and glitter in southwest Florida. But under the veil of fake lashes and unicorn horns lurks the deeper truths of what aging women face within society. Sisterhood, love and loss all come into play in this uplifting film about trying to age on one’s own terms and refusing to become invisible.
     A screening will begin at 2 p.m. at the Appleton Museum of Art, 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., and is free to all museum and film series members; nonmembers pay museum admission. A second screening will begin at 7 p.m. at the CF Ocala Campus, 3001 S.W. College Road, Building 8, Room 110. The screening at the CF Ocala Campus is free and open to the public.
 In conjunction with the film screening, the public will have the opportunity to meet the Calendar Girls in person.
     The group will present two, 15-minute performances Saturday, March 2, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., at the Appleton Museum as part of the museum's Free First Saturday, where admission is waived on the first Saturday of each month. A screening of the film will follow the performances.
     For a full series list and more information on the CF Ira Holmes International Film Series, contact Wendy Adams at 352-873-5800, ext. 1546, or visit www.CF.edu/filmseries.


CKAC announces new art shows 
Hidden Treasure Collages
and Artists’ Nature Experience
start with reception Feb. 24

Information and Photo Provided
By Denise Feiber
Published Feb. 14, 2024 at 6 p.m.
     CEDAR KEY --
Cedar Key Arts Center’s (CKAC) Main Gallery is scheduled to feature collage artist Cindy Burkett at the Feb. 24 opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m.
     This reception is free and open to the public.
Cindy Burkett



Cindy Burkett


     Her show titled Hidden Treasures …. Collages includes 40 collage “paintings.” Visitors are advised to be prepared to be amazed.
     The word “collages” as referenced as an art form may seem simple, but her work is anything but simple. To say it is intricate, complex and intriguing is more like it.
     Burkett’s work uses colors, tones, text, textures and intriguing images torn or cut from recycled paper to create collages – rarely using any paint at all. Most people are surprised that her work is paper, not paint.
     She describes it:
     “The overall effect is a new vision emerging from smaller intriguing images, where things may not be what they seem. These collages contain surprising little images within the art, giving them a dream quality. As with dreams, little bits of information that may seem irrelevant combine to create a new story. By building the subject of the collage with random images, based on color, tones and texture, it gives each piece an abstract and whimsical look inviting the viewer to look closer and find the mystery in the details.”
     Visitors will have an opportunity to participate in a game using a cheat sheet Burkett created to help find hidden images in her pieces.
     Burkett lives in New Smyrna Beach (Volusia County, just south of Daytona Beach). She exhibits at her home gallery the Hub on Canal. Her artwork and paintings have been featured in marketing campaigns for clients including the Brevard Symphony Orchestra and others.
     Her art is in corporate and individual collections in the United States and Europe. She has won hundreds of state and local awards for her advertising designs as well as a national ADDY (American Advertising) award.
     Visitors are invited to into CKAC’s Member Gallery, as well, to see the artwork created by four artists who were selected to spend up to 48-hours on Seahorse Key, an island several miles off of Cedar Key, as part of the Artists’ Nature Experience program.
     CKAC partnered with the University of Florida and the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge to offer artists a unique experience to engage in their chosen medium while embracing the wildlife beauty at Seahorse Key and Light Station.
     This event turned out to be a cold, rainy couple of days, but resulted in truly beautiful pieces of art.
     Those artists who were selected for the experience included Gary Kuhl, photography; Pamela Deas, painter; Ann Kamzelski, photographer; and Jenny Murin, pottery. 
     The Cedar Key Arts Center is located at 457 Second St., in downtown Cedar Key. Visit cedarkeyartscenter.org to learn more. The galleries are upstairs, and downstairs is the Cedar Keyhole Artist Co-op with approximately 20 artists’ work for sale. 
     This show -- Hidden Treasures …. Collages -- runs from Feb. 24 until March 24.


CF Appleton Museum of Art
Presents Audubon-inspired
sculptures in ‘Outsider Aviary’

Robert W. Smeltzer’s annotated copy of “Birds of America” on display alongside several sculptures and his carving tools.

Information and Photos Provided
By CF Manager of Marketing and Public Relations Billye 
Published Feb. 8, 2024 at 12 p.m.
     OCALA --
The Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida, presents “Outsider Aviary: Robert W. Smeltzer’s Birds of America,” on view through Aug. 4. 
     Many individuals are familiar with the Appleton Museum of Art’s 19th century European collection and the exquisite pre-Columbian objects, but visitors can now appreciate a lesser-known part of the world-class permanent collection that celebrates a Florida artist and veteran.
     “Outsider Aviary” features a selection of hand-carved birds by Robert W. Smeltzer (1906-1997), all inspired by John James Audubon’s (1785-1851) “Birds of America.”

Robert W. Smeltzer’s “White-Crowned Pigeon” carving paired with John James Audubon’s “White-Crowned Pigeon” print in the background.

     After serving in the United States military and working as an electrical engineer, Smeltzer began his artistic hobby in 1966. This came after he discovered Audubon’s renowned tome of bird illustrations, “Birds of America.” Smeltzer then spent more than two decades creating 242 bird carvings, along with a handful of snakes, each sculpture reproducing the colors and markings of their real-life counterparts.
     Smeltzer crafted each piece using an array of woods including mahogany, cypress, cedar and redwood.
     “Notably, he never purchased any wood for his creations,” said Appleton intern Luke Craig, who provided research on the artist and helped organize the show. “The materials were either gifted to him by friends or sourced through scavenging.”
     These carved creatures, rendered in an endearingly crude and expressive style, signal Smeltzer’s status as an outsider artist. His unorthodox approach, unburdened by formal training, yielded art that is both imaginative and deeply personal. In his own words, “I take scraps and leftovers and make birds out of them.”
     This resourcefulness and ingenuity underscore the essence of Smeltzer’s art. His unshackled creativity, coupled with his lack of a formal art education, impart a slightly primitive appearance to his carvings.
     As Smeltzer once expressed, “The birds are not meant to be pretty, but instructive.”
     In 1993, Smeltzer gifted his complete collection of carved birds to the Appleton Museum of Art. On view alongside 36 of his sculptures are the tools that shaped them and his well-worn copy of “Birds of America,” marked with handwritten margin notes that attest to the depth of his study. Several Audubon prints from the Appleton’s collection are paired with their corresponding carvings.
     “Bird lovers and art appreciators alike will very much enjoy Smeltzer’s whimsy and attention to detail,” said Appleton Assistant Director Victoria Billig. “We’re pleased to display this donation to the collection, which you can find ‘nesting’ in the first-floor Preview Gallery.”
     Regular admission fees apply to visit. Admission is free on the first Saturday of each month as part of the Free First Saturday program.
     The Appleton Museum, Artspace and Store are open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. A campus of the College of Central Florida, the Appleton Museum of Art is located at 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, east of downtown on State Road 40 (exit 352 east off Interstate-75).
     Parking is free. For more information, call 352-291-4455 or visit https://www.appletonmuseum.org/.


CF presents
‘The 2024 CF Student Art Exhibition’

CF student art 2023
‘But You Don’t Look Sick’ by Gracie White, Best of Show from ‘The 2023 Student Art Exhibition.’

Story and Photo Provided
By CF Marketing and Public Relations
Published Jan. 30, 2024 at 4:30 p.m.
     OCALA —
The College of Central Florida presents “The 2024 CF Student Art Exhibition,” an annual event showcasing the talents of students from its Visual Arts and Digital Media programs.

     The exhibition will be on display Monday, March 25-Tuesday, April 30 at the CF Webber Gallery, 3001 S.W. College Road at the CF Ocala Campus.
     The exhibition provides a platform for students to display their work in a professional environment and highlights the variety of artistic expressions and dynamic skill sets of CF students.
     Esteemed artist and conceptual bookbinder Jacob Z. Wan will judge the exhibition.
     Wan, known for his internationally collected mixed-media books, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts from the University of Central Florida and currently teaches at the University of North Florida. His work has gained significant acclaim including exhibits in Germany, China, the Florida Biennial and the International Book Art Exhibition in New York.
     An opening reception and awards ceremony will be held Wednesday, March 27, at 12:30 p.m. in the Webber Center, adjacent to the gallery.
     Awards include Best in Show, first through third place, honorable mentions and purchase awards. Notably, the People’s Choice Purchase Award, voted on by the CF student body, will see one student’s work added to CF’s permanent art collection.
     Wan is scheduled to deliver an artist talk on Monday, April 8, 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the gallery, sharing insights into his artistic practice and discussing the UNF Visual Arts Program.
     The Webber Gallery is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free. For further information about the exhibition, visit CF.edu/Webber or call 352-854-2322, ext. 1664.


CF Webber Gallery presents
‘Seeing Christ in the Darkness:
Georges Rouault as Graphic Artist’

Display set for Jan. 8-March 17
Information Provided
By CF Manager of Marketing and Public Relations
Published Dec. 15, 2023 at 5 a.m. 
     OCALA --
The Webber Gallery at the College of Central Florida is excited to present “Seeing Christ in the Darkness: Georges Rouault as Graphic Artist,” an exhibition featuring a variety of graphic works by Georges Rouault (1871-1958), the 20th century master expressionist painter and printmaker.
     The exhibition is scheduled to be on display Jan. 8 through March 17 and features 18 original etchings from the artist’s renowned Miserere Series, as well as additional etchings, lithographs and wood engravings from the Fleurs du Mal (I and II) and the Passion Series.
      “Georges Rouault was one of the few modern artists whose work was clearly religious,” said Bill Dyrness, senior professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary in Los Angeles. “But the graphic art in this exhibition, done at the height of the artist’s powers, shows how deeply the artist identified with people’s sufferings and, indeed, saw within this darkness the salvation that Christ brought.”
     On view during the religious season of Lent, this exhibit allows viewers to consider and contemplate the twin sufferings of humanity and Jesus. Rouault’s work is often darker and complex, unlike the typical imagery one might connect with Christianity, making the exhibit perfect for this reflective season within the church calendar.
     The works on display are from The Bob and Sandra Bowden Collection of Chatham, Massachusetts, a substantial collection built over many years and many trips to Europe. Sandra Bowden will visit the Webber Center and Gallery on Wednesday, Jan. 17, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. She will participate in a question-and-answer forum with Professor Tyrus Clutter about the content and style of Rouault’s work. There is no fee to attend this session.
     Admission is free. The Webber Gallery’s hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday. For additional information, call the gallery at 352-854-2322, ext. 1664. Additional tours of this exhibition will take place on select Sunday afternoons during the exhibition.



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