Pandemic Studio Spring – Summer 2020

Summer 2020 began abruptly on March 12th, 2020. The week prior to Spring Break, we were sent home from UNF due to the Coronavirus. Little did we know that we would not return to school until August. Before being sent home, my installation art class, Enlivened Spaces, installed the project that they had been working on all semester, the brightly colored umbrellas that were designed to lift you into a happier realm, space and time. My students had created this work, without knowing how beautiful it would be in a dark moment.

As a professor, my immediate attention shifted towards altering my classes and putting my classes online. For me, it was both good and bad. I knew very well how to put together an online class. I had already been teaching an online class called “The Business of Art” for several years. This class covers grant writing, how to start an LLC, how to create contracts, how to approach galleries, etc. The content was designed for online learning. Now, I was being asked to transition my studio classes to online. In my mind, this was not ideal, but everyone and everything was shifting, in an effort to care for the community and keep everyone safe.

Once I had gotten my classes in order, I set some intentions. I realized quite quickly that the virus wouldn’t be leaving soon, so I set some goals for myself for Summer 2020: Exercise Daily, Practice Spanish and German Daily, Prep for Fall Classes, and Make Art! Lance and I took daily walks on the beach (until the beaches were closed). Then we took walks around our neighborhood. The “Wash Your Hands” image is one of our neighbors’ fences, that she updates regularly (I love her, by the way and I don’t even know her).

As a way, to keep my hand busy, I started painting with watercolors again. I haven’t painted since I was in college and I’d missed it. It also was quite meditative, which was helpful in these stressful times.

I made masks for safety. I probably made around 50 total and gave them to friends and family. I swam laps because a pandemic is a good motivator to stay in good physical shape. Live healthy in an effort to be ready to fight off the virus…

I started playing with Alcohol Inks and making some beautiful abstract designs. This is another very meditative process. To me, this helped to relax my mind. I started turning them into greeting cards and sending them out.

I created this “Wings of the Phoenix” Sculpture for my hometown, Shelbyville, KY. This was an exciting moment in my sculpture career, getting to make a piece for my hometown, on the street where I grew up! The small one in the garden is the maquette, which I gave to my parents. My dad made a really beautiful wood pedestal for it and placed it in my mom’s rose garden. Special thanks to Main Made for the fabrication work on the 2nd large scale copy of this sculpture!

I have also been working on modeling this eagle in plasticine over a steel armature (made of steel rod and chicken wire). Once I am finished modeling it, I will then make a rubber mold with a plaster mother mold. Next I will pour several in wax and then I’ll use ceramic shell to create a mold that can hold the heat of bronze. The final piece will be in bronze.

And I’ve been making these miniatures, on the topic of the pandemic. On the left you see: Social Distance Cafe. On the right, you see MAGA: The Bar [Just drink the Koolaid].

And finally, I’ve also been working on a project called ArtWork(ers) United, a project focused on Art and Activism. Visit ArtWork(ers) United for more details.

Making a Giant Stencil for ArtWork(ers) United Project
Promo Video for ArtWork(ers) United Project

Wings of the Phoenix

Just recently, I had the opportunity to create a sculpture for Atlantic Beach called Wings of the Phoenix. I am also creating a large-scale version for UNF’s campus, which will be about 15′ high. The wings are based on a costume design I created for the Flight of the Phoenix performance I did in Italy with Coral Lambert, Andreas Glaser, Cynthia Handel, and Susanne Roewer.2016-04-06 13.28.30-2

MountainStar Capital/Lazzara Family Foundation Announce UNF Seaside Sculpture Park

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The Student Affairs Community Council (SACC) at The University of North FloridaMountainStar Capital and the Lazzara Family Foundation announce the creation of a program to support arts education through a year-long public art installation in Jacksonville Beach.

The UNF Seaside Sculpture Park will be the only one of its kind on private land in the area. Student sculptures will be displayed on a beautifully landscaped and designed walk on previously undeveloped property owned by MountainStar, located at 480 First St. S. in Jacksonville Beach, across the street from the city’s Oceanfront Park. MountainStar Capital and the Lazzara Family Foundation provided a $50,000 gift to UNF to support students and its sculpture program, headed by Dr. Jenny Hager, UNF associate professor of sculpture. MountainStar Capital also donated the land’s use for the year-long event.

“Because of their passion and enthusiasm for art, the Lazzara family has generously provided a forum not only for our talented students to display their creative artwork but a beautiful space at the beach where the entire public can come and be inspired,” said UNF President John Delaney. “We’re appreciative of this family’s impact on UNF and this community.”

The gift supported the creation of 11 miniature sculptures, which were entered into a contest for the public art installation. Five finalists were chosen by a committee comprised of professional artists, art professors, a Jacksonville Beach City Council member, a member of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and members of the UNF SACC.

The winning sculptures to be on display by UNF seniors include “Ongoing Life” by Gillian Harper, “Still Swimming” by Emily Pinnell, “Symbiosis” by Mary Ratcliff and “Wild Bird” by Diana Shepherd. “Ode to Franklin County” will also be on display by UNF junior David Peters.

“This piece of property is now not only beautified but the sculptures can be enjoyed by anyone visiting the beach,” said Christopher Lazzara, CEO of MountainStar Capital and chair of the community awareness and outreach committee of the SACC. “We are thrilled this project has come to fruition from an idea we had to support UNF while providing a creative way to showcase its sculpture program. Our hope is it will encourage similar gifts from private individuals and companies and spawn new public art in Jacksonville Beach and beyond.”

The art will be installed in early June and the property will be open to the public for free from dawn to dusk for the next year. Student works will be on display with signage detailing inspiration and meaning. Winning student sculptors receive recognition at the public art walk as well as a stipend for their time and talent.

“We are so appreciative of the Lazzara’s vision and understanding of the value of public art as well as the desire to showcase works of talented UNF students to the beaches community. This is a great example of how one family can make a big difference,” said Dr. Mauricio Gonzalez, vice president of Student and International Affairs.

“Public art is important to us and we are so impressed by the students’ talent and creations,” said Jessica Wynne, director of the foundation and managing director of MountainStar. “UNF provides its students with so many wonderful programs and opportunities. We are proud to continue our creative funding to support arts education at UNF and support access to art enjoyment in our community.”

The project is a partnership between UNF’s Division of Student Affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences, the Lazzara Family Foundation, MountainStar along with assistance from the City of Jacksonville Beach and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville.

The Lazzara Family Foundation, based in Ponte Vedra Beach, funds projects focusing on the arts, education and the emotional and physical health challenges in the community. The Foundation provides grants both directly to eligible organizations and through fundraising events that utilize and engage community volunteers. Since 1997, the Foundation has given more than $15 million in grants to worthy organizations. For more information, visit MountainStar Capital, with offices in Ponte Vedra Beach and Vail, Colorado, is a private equity firm investing across a variety of industries.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.

See the finished project here.

UNF Seaside Sculpture Park