Museums feature local artists and special events
BY KERRY FIRTH
The 2021-2022 season will be chock full of interesting exhibits for museum–goers on the Treasure Coast. Both the Backus and Elliott are featuring paintings by the Florida Highwaymen while the Vero Beach Museum of Art has scheduled an historical display from the American Folk Art Museum, New York, and an exhibit of art on loan from local collectors. And, of course, all three are providing a safe environment as visitors return from a year of strict COVID guidelines.
BACKUS MUSEUM AND GALLERY
This year is an exciting season for the Backus Museum offering a diverse lineup of exhibitions.
“Last year, audiences were grateful that we made a safe environment for people to visit and enjoy the arts in such troubled times,” Marshall Adams, executive director of Backus Museum and Gallery, said. “This season we are pleased to present a full range of special exhibitions and planning special events with safety in mind and our fingers crossed.”
Now to Nov. 12: Best Annual Juried Exhibition
The season opened with the Best Annual Juried Exhibition celebrating its 40th year of supporting working artists. Amateur and professional artists were selected for their originality, excellence, technique and overall presentation in a variety of media.
Nov. 19 – Dec. 31: Made by Hand: 50 years of Collecting from Florida CraftArt
Florida CraftArt has been recognized for more than 70 years for the artistic and cultural significance of Florida skilled crafts. This exceptional collection assembled over five decades celebrates the beauty and creativity of handmade works in ceramics, wood, fiber, metals, jewelry, glass, and mixed media. Featured Florida craft artists include Laura Militzer Bryant, Kimberli Burns Cummings, John Eckert, Christine Federighi, Nneka Jones, John Mascoll and Duncan McClellan.
Jan. 8 – March 6: The Highwaymen: Art/History
The Backus takes a closer look at the famed landscape painters who first sold their paintings from the trunks of their cars in the 1950s. This new exhibition, which includes paintings never presented to the public, sheds light on the artists’ visions, inventive style, confident strokes, collaborative spirit and effective methods that captivated patrons, defined their movement and earned their place in the history of art.
March 11 – May 8: Tuned to the Spirit: Photographs from the Sacred Steel Community
The electric steel guitar was introduced in the late 1930s by African American Holiness Pentecostal Church when it was incorporated into its worship. Today, with more than 50 congregations throughout the state, Florida is a stronghold for the House of God and Church of Living God, where musicians have passed down the unique musical tradition known as sacred steel for generations. Folklorist Robert L. Stone has documented the music and church culture through photography and audio recording for more than 30 years and presents a soulful collection of his work.
May 20 – June 24: Through the Eye of the Camera Annual Juried Exhibition
This highly anticipated exhibition recognizing photography as fine art will close the season. The popular competition is open to amateur and professional artists in both traditional film and digital photography. Entries are accepted by advance appointment from April 13 to May 13.
VERO BEACH MUSEUM OF ART
“The VBMA is looking forward to the 2022 season and has an exciting lineup planned, including onsite studio classes, humanities programs and exhibitions. We remain quietly optimistic that much will be in person with significantly reduced COVID visitor guidelines,” commented Sophie Bentham-Wood, VBMA director of marketing and communications.
Now to April 3: Martin L. Puryear: Printmaker
Known primarily as a sculptor, Martin L. Puryear is celebrated for the elegance and refinement of his handmade works in wood and bronze with a meditative approach that challenges the physical and poetic boundaries of his materials. He creates prints with the same attention to craft and technical precision.
Now to Dec. 5: Hanneke Beaumont: Drawn to Life
Dutch artist Hanneke Beaumont is known for her cast iron and bronze sculptures not modeled after idealized forms, being neither male nor female of unidentifiable age. Approximations of human beings, they provide a way to consider general ideas about the nature of the human race. In this exhibition, Beaumont’s figural drawings are posed nondescriptly, dressed in timeless, partly structured material intertwined with the body to defy our perception without shocking our sensibility.
Now to Jan. 2: American Perspectives: Stories from the American Folk Art Museum Collection
This exhibit has been organized by the American Folk Art Museum, New York, with support provided by Art Bridges. The exhibit explores powerful visual narratives that offer firsthand testimony to American history. More than 90 works of folk and self-taught art from the museum’s collection are organized in four sections – Founders, Travelers, Philosophers and Seekers – and respond to such themes as nationhood, freedom, community, imagination, opportunity and legacy.
Jan. 28 – May 15: Vero Collects: Hidden Treasures Revealed
Vero Beach is home to many art collectors and this exhibit presents significant works loaned from private collections paired with select artworks from VBMA’s collection. Art will encompass European Old Masters, historical American art, American and European Modernism, and global contemporary art.
“We are in a continual state of rearranging all of our exhibits, artwork, and artifacts to engage and enthrall the clever minds of our guests, but the real magic comes with the new ‘energy’ that seems to permeate the walls of our buildings. Our gracious enthusiasm is fed by the 111 days that our halls were devoid of other human life forms. We are reveling in opportunities to make you feel welcome, share some devilishly memorable stories, and send you back into the world with a spring in your step.”
— Rob Steele, Historical Society of Martin County president and CEO, as stated in museum newsletter.
Now to Dec 15: Exquisite Miniatures Exhibit
You’ll need a magnifying glass to appreciate the detail captured in each of the 50 exquisite miniature paintings by artists Wes and Rachelle Siegrist. The paintings typically measure less than 9 square inches, but some are as small as 11/4 inches in diameter. Subjects range from still lifes to landscapes to artist self-portraits.
Now to Feb. 24 : The Highwaymen – Vistas and Visions Exhibit
See more than 70 of the finest examples of this uniquely South Florida art genre that is sought by collectors worldwide. Check Elliott Museum’s website for special Highwaymen art sale, gallery walk and talk by collector Roger Lightle and a live painting demonstration by Roy McLendon Jr.
Jan. 13 – Feb. 28:
Audubon Photo Contest
March 10 – June 30: Still Lifes from the Elliott Collection
Feb. 14 – Feb. 21: Martin Arts Guild Featured Exhibit
Now to April: Art for the Living Calendar Artwork