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Original Stars of American Bandstand

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America: The Dream of an Artist's Life featuring Emil Holzhauer

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Mattie Kelly Arts Center New Exhibitions - September 5 to October 10, 2010 Crazy Eights, Waterline and Oil on Water Artists' responses to the forces - natural and manmade - that shape life on the Gulf Coast

Mattie Kelly Arts Center


Shrimp Boat Collecting Oil, Karen Reese Tunnell
Shrimp Boat Collecting Oil, Karen Reese Tunnell

8/25/2010 - The Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries at Northwest Florida State College will kick off the 2010-2011 season with three new exhibitions appearing September 5 to October 10. Though different in medium, scope, and point of view, these three shows are all artists' responses to the forces - natural and manmade - that shape life on the Gulf Coast and in Florida - including reflections on Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A preview reception honoring the artists will be held in the galleries Friday, September 3, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Gallery hours for the exhibits are Monday to Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 pm and 90 minutes prior to most performances in the main stage theater of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center. The Mattie Kelly Arts Center Gallery exhibits and reception are free and open to the public. For information, contact the gallery office at (850) 729-6044.

In the Mclroy Gallery, Amy Vigilante will present Crazy Eights, an exhibition of large-scale fiber art. Vigilante's works are created as traditional quilts with tops, batting, ornate backs, and copious stitching. These large-scale compositions incorporate bright colors, pattern (some fabrics are printed by the artist; others are Marimekko), and stitched text. The 2004 hurricane season battered Florida with a series of devastating storms and motivated Vigilante to begin making quilts; the uncertainties she felt during that series of natural disasters led her to cut fabric and explore how textiles might be recombined to create new meaning. Several works in Crazy Eights reference change and loss experienced living in a hurricane zone. Other series explore aging, body image, and vulnerability through use of recycled clothing and found objects within the quilts. Vigilante holds a PhD in Art Education and has been Director of University Galleries at the University of Florida since 2002. She has exhibited throughout the Southeast in both solo and invitational group shows.

Bette Kauffman's Waterline will be on view in the Holzhauer Gallery. Visitors will find themselves in a near- 360° environment created from photos taken during five trips to New Orleans April 1-June 10, 2006 following Hurricane Katerina. Kauffman's photographs, all reproduced 8"X12", are installed edge-to-edge so that the water line, visible on buildings, landforms, trees, and other storm flotsam after Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters receded, forms a continuous band. Her images remind viewers of the devastation in New Orleans (and all along the Gulf Coast) wrought by the storm, and they point to the equalizing quality of natural disasters. Waterline is an interactive project; pens are provided and viewers are encouraged to contribute their responses to the installation. 2010 marks five years since the disaster, and NWFSC viewers will be able to view comments from other audiences and add their own to the growing exhibition. Kauffman is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Louisiana, Monroe, and holds a PhD in Communications; her background is in both journalistic and art photography.

NWFSC will also be the debut venue for Karen Reese Tunnell's new suite, Oil on Water, which will hang in the Mattie Kelly Arts Center front hall. Oil on Water is a series of monotypes created since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill by hydroprinting on cotton, producing a marbled effect that resembles the three-dimensional surface of a body of water. Tunnell then draws on the fabric and finishes the works with quilting or other sewing techniques. These beautiful textile works draw attention to the wildlife threatened by the oil spill; gulf fish species like the black drum or the rare pancake batfish, as well as birds (northern gannet or common tern) and other marine animals are featured in these technically superb pieces. Tunnell has worked as an artist for over 40 years and has exhibited her works across the US and internationally. Her textile arts reside in many public and corporate collections. She maintains studios in Atlanta and Lake Santeetlah, NC, and teaches quilting at the acclaimed John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC.