Exhibition dates: April 6 to May 29, 2018
Florida CraftArt opened the exhibition “Dia de los Muertos – A Celebration of Life” — to a crowd of 400 people. Forty-two artists from around the country were judged by Dirk Armstrong, Assistant Curator for the Dali Museum, who presented the awards. The works represent a variety of fine-craft media including ceramic, wood, glass, fiber, metal and mixed media.
Best of Show was awarded to Pamela Trow (St. Petersburg) for her elaborate woven wall hanging, “Death of Venus.” Jessica Perez Bianciotto (Tampa) won First Place for “Angelito.” Brianna Galmiche (Pinellas Park) won Second Place for her ink drawing “Skull.” Ceramic artist Calan Ree (St. Petersburg) won Third Place for ““Memento Mori Death Rattle.” Honorable Mentions were awarded to Coralette Licorice Chalk Damme (St. Petersburg) for her linoleum cut “Humilis” and to Jennifer Kosharek (St. Petersburg) for a small embroidery entitled “Half Dead.”
Exhibition curator Mark Noll awarded Curator’s Choice to Carolina Cleere (St. Petersburg) for “Frida’s Child,” a large mixed-media mobile.
Mr. Noll said, “Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of the departed. I asked artists to explore remembrance and the celebration of those who have left us, to express the bonds that tie us to those who have moved on and how they affected our lives. This exhibition is a study of the past from a place in the present, a requiem for our loved ones and friends.”
A section of the exhibition showcases 160 sugar skull-shaped wood plaques decorated by invited artists to raise funds for children’s programs at Florida CraftArt. These artists come not only from the United States, but also from Canada and Australia. The curator noted that, “Sugar skulls are such a prominent part of Day of the Dead. These all started with the same plywood skull-shaped forms, but each artist brought his or her own unique vision, some fun and playful while others were imbued with deep personal meaning.”
Forty-five percent of the proceeds from the sale of these skulls will go directly to the children’s programs and many of the artists have also donated their commissions to the fund. Florida CraftArt also produced a 170-page book documenting the Sugar Skulls. The book is available at the gallery and online at FloridaCraftart.org.
The exhibition’s Presenting Sponsor is AARP Tampa Bay. The show celebrates the life of Coralie Graham.
Exhibition programming schedule (free of charge unless indicated):
Thursday, April 19, 5:30-7 p.m.: Taste and learn about modern Dia de los Muertos and its centuries old traditions with Tina Avila, owner of Casa Tina Restaurant. $15.
Sunday, April 22, 4 p.m.: Curator Mark Noll, artist/writer Courtney , other artists share secret stories of the skulls.
Saturday, April 28, 1-3 p.m.: Keep St. Pete Lit Ekphrastic writing workshop. $20.
Saturday, May 5, 2 p.m.: Lecture by Kent Lydecker “Death, Be Not Proud: Art and Memory Across the Ages.” He retired as the Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida. He has a Ph.D. in art history from John Hopkins University.
Saturday, May 12, 2:30-4:30 p.m.: Workshop: Learn how to paint a flower on a wine glass – Great gift for Mother’s Day. No experience necessary, supplies provided. $30.
Friday, May 18, 5:30-7 p.m.: AARP-sponsors Armed Forces Day recognition with presentations by veterans who are artists.
Sunday, May 20, 2-4 p.m.: Watch an Ekphrastic performance as writers interpret the Dia de los Muertos art. Presented by Keep St. Pete Lit. $15.
Saturday, May 26, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Closing reception and People’s Choice Award presentation. Skull-shaped chocolates and cookies will be served.
Florida CraftArt is located at 501 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. For more information, visit www.FloridaCraftArt.org or call (727) 821-7391. Admission is free. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Florida CraftArt is a nonprofit organization founded in 1951 and headquartered in St. Petersburg. Its mission is to grow the statewide creative economy by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work. Fine craft art is presented in its 2,500-square-foot retail gallery and curated exhibitions are featured in its adjacent exhibition gallery. Florida CraftArt is the only statewide organization offering artists a platform to show and sell their work.