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Saturday
Jul122014

COCA in the News: TOWN Show highlights city employees' talents

COCA's Amanda Thompson curates the TOWN (Tallahassee's OWN) show at the City Hall Gallery as part of COCA's "Art in Public Places" program - here's an article about the show on the front page of today's local section of the Democrat.  The show runs through September 2, and you can read more about it here.  

"Own Show highlights city employees’ talents"

By Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder 
Democrat writer
 

The idea struck Frank Dietrich over a decade ago when he was showing his art in the Downtown Marketplace to City Manager Anita Favors Thompson.

“We got to talking about art and art shows, and she didn’t know her city em­ployees did this kind of stuff,” Dietrich said. “And I said, ‘You know what would be really neat? If the city employees had their own art show.’ That’s basically what kicked it off.”

This year marks the 10th anniversary for the annual Tallahassee’s Own TOWN Show, an art show displaying the work of current and retired city employees.

Dietrich has participated as an artist and committee member every year, as well as designing the posters and graph­ics for the show. He is a graphic special­ist in Tallahassee’s Planning Depart­ment.

Read the rest of the article: Page 1 Page 2

Wednesday
Jul092014

COCA's Executive Director, Dr. Audra Pittman, interviewed by Tom Flanigan on WFSU

 

Listen to the interview here

 

Monday
Jul072014

COCA Profile: Jeff Peters "Local attorney brings movies to the masses"

By S. D. Green

Special to the Democrat


Local film producer, director and curator of the LBGTxFriends film series Jeff Peters be­lieves in bringing the pictures to the people.

Through his years in Tallahassee, he’s spear­headed film festivals that brought indie favor­ites such as “My Own Private Idaho” to town; as a producer he’s helped bring local works to life, like the docu­mentary, “God’s Car­toonist: The Jack T. Chick Story.”

Back when he was an undergraduate student at FSU, bringing film to the people was a literal
experience. “I ran the FSU film series,” he said. “We had to move the old 35 mm movie projector from dorm to dorm to show the films.” Peters’ relationship with film stretches back to his youth in Miami where his father worked at an art cinema house.

“I used to go into the projectionist booth with him when I was little kid,” he said. “I was fascinated from that time on.”

Read the rest of the story

Wednesday
Jul022014

10th Annual TOWN (Tallahassee's OWN) show

on display at the City Hall Gallery from July 2, 2014-Sept. 2, 2014

Giving the same commitment to fine art as they do to excellent public service, more than 50 current and retired City of Tallahassee employees are part of this exhibition. The diverse artists come from many departments of public service. There are 100 pieces of artwork on display in a variety of mediums including photography, painting, glass, wood carving and jewelry.

Meet the artists and browse the artworks on display during a public reception and awards ceremony on Thursday evening, July 10, from 6 to 7:30 pm at City Hall.

The City Hall Art Gallery is open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

This exhibit is part of the City of Tallahassee’s Art in Public Places program which is managed by the Council on Culture and Arts (COCA). For more information about this exhibition, upcoming exhibitions, or the Art in Public Places program, contact Amanda Karioth Thompson at COCA, (850) 224-2500 or amanda@cocanet.org.

Monday
Jun302014

COCA Profile: Grace Robinson "The Tortoise and Not the Hare"

COCA profile: Grace Robinson
"The tortoise and not the hare"
Grace Robinson slowly expanding, cementing Gadsden Arts Center’s place in the community


By Courteney Jones
 
Special to the Democrat

When Grace Robinson evacuated her family from Vero Beach to avoid Hurricane Frances in September of 2004, she didn’t see her position as the exec­utive director of Quincy’s Gadsden Arts Center as one of the storm’s projected ef­fects.

While her family sought
 shelter in Tallahassee, she saw an ad for the job in the Democrat’s classifieds and went in for an interview. Six months later, she and her family left their home once again, with a more permanent stay in mind this time.

Even though Quincy has a smaller population than Vero Beach, Robinson believes that’s not a detriment to the arts center or its patrons.

Read the rest of the story

Read page two of the story

Monday
Jun232014

COCA profile: Young actor to say goodbye to beloved Tallahassee stage

By S.D. Green
Special to the Democrat


Leah Wiener was 3 years old when she first proclaimed her interest in perform­ing during a Young Ac­tors Theatre production.

“They were doing ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technico­lor
Dream­coat’ and there was this big finale and I stood up in my seat and I said, ‘Mom, I want to be on that stage!’” Wiener said. “It was so embarrassing for my mom. But then she signed me up for class­es.”

For the past 15 years, Wiener has studied dance, singing and act­ing at YAT, and per­formed in “Beauty and the Beast,” “Seussical” and “Legally Blonde.” Her performance as one of Jesus’ disciples in this month’s production of the 1970s musical classic “Godspell” will mark Wiener’s last, as she prepares to go off to college to study musical theater.

Read the rest of the article

Monday
Jun162014

Human::surface - Artworks by Maria Balingit and Ananda Balingit-LeFils

Arrangement with Vinnie by Maria BalingitMother and Child by Ananda Balingit-LeFilsOn display at the Artport Gallery from June 14 - August 4, 2014

From ancient times to the present, artists have sought to explore humanity through portraiture. Masterpieces like da Vinci’s ubiquitous Mona Lisa, Sargent’s controversial Madam X, and Warhol’s multiple Marilyns are just a few examples of portraits that have weathered the ages and whose stories are still analyzed today.

Mother-daughter duo, Maria Balingit and Ananda Balingit-LeFils, also have a fascination with portraits and the stories they tell. Through their own unique perspectives, they each seek to capture physical features and reveal the essence of their models through a variety of mediums.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jun152014

COCA Profile: Anne Stagg - Local abstract artist captures conversations

By Courteney Jones
Special to the Democrat

In artist Anne Stagg’s series, “[re]present,” she attempts to incorporate people’s personal stories into abstract paintings.

“The paintings are inspired by conversations I have with individuals about their identity, or what makes them who they are,” she said.

Read the rest of the article

Monday
Jun092014

COCA Profile: Bolden passionate about Latin dance

By S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat


Dancer, instructor and choreographer Keisha Bolden is a member of the Tallahassee Salsa Dancers, teaches classes at Studio D and develops choreography for shows and Latin dance con­gresses all over the east coast. Bolden is one of the planners of the Tallahassee Latin Dance Festival.


Read the rest of the article

Sunday
Jun012014

COCA Profile: Cartoonist draws from his passions

by Courteney Jones
Special to the Democrat

Coming from a family of tradespeople, Tallahassee native Bill Otersen learned carpentry and first worked for his grandfather, a welldriller, by doing pump repair at age 16. It was also his grandfather who instilled in him the idea that he was a cartoonist, and inspired him to follow his true passion.

Read the rest of the article

Thursday
May292014

COCA Announces New Executive Director

The Board of Directors of The Council on Culture & Arts (COCA) is pleased to announce that Dr. Audra Price Pittman has been named Executive Director, effective June 16, 2014. The Board’s action comes with the fullest confidence that Pittman will be an excellent steward of COCA’s mission and a leader for our cultural community.

“We are greatly pleased to have recruited a passionate arts advocate. I have every faith that Audra will work to strengthen COCA’s existing relationships and foster new ones, across the entire community,” says COCA Board chair, Kay Stephenson.

The Executive Director Search Committee consisted of COCA Board members and volunteers from various sectors of the community. A national search concluded in thirty interested applicants who were rigorously vetted by the Search Committee. Following the interview process of the finalists, recommendations were made to the full COCA Board of Directors who ultimately selected Pittman to fill the position.

Pittman began her studies at the University of Connecticut where she received a B.F.A. in Illustration. She went on to Maryland Institute College of Art where she received a Master of Arts in Teaching degree. After teaching middle school art, Pittman pursued her Ph.D. in Art Education/Arts Administration and Art Museum Education at FSU. She has taught at Lander University and was former Chair of the Department of Professional Education at Savannah College of Art and Design. During her tenure, she helped to create the University's first online program leading to a Master of Arts in Teaching degree with certification in Art or Drama.

Pittman is the owner and founder of Suite P Creative Studio and is also an active volunteer, recently serving as the Vice-Chair of the Cultural Plan Review Committee. Additionally, she serves on the Dean's Advisory Board for the FSU College of Visual Arts, Theatre, and Dance. She also currently serves on the boards for Boys Town of North Florida, LeMoyne Art Foundation, and The John G. Riley House & Museum. Pittman was Chair of the 2014 United Way "Art off the Wall" campaign. Audra was elected to be a member of Tallahassee Chapter of The Links, Inc. and is a member of the Tallahassee Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc.

“COCA’s talented staff, dedicated board, and strong foundation provide the perfect framework for a smooth and effective transition. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together during the past several months and I know that Audra’s background and enthusiasm will be a great benefit to COCA’s ongoing work and those we serve,” says Amanda Karioth Thompson, COCA’s Interim Executive Director.

Pittman will oversee COCA’s operations and management, including the implementation of the Cultural Plan.

Sunday
May252014

COCA Profile: Beth LaCivita "LaCivita shows visitors Tallahassee’s true charms"

By S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat

Beth LaCivita is the owner and researcher of Guided Tours in Florida’s Capital, which organizes tours of Tallahassee and the surrounding area. LaCivita has one simple descriptor for herself.

“I’m Tallahassee’s No. 1 cheerleader,” she said.

Read the rest of the article

Monday
May192014

COCA Profile: On the Horizon- Denise Choppin’s vibrant abstractions grace the Tallahassee airport 

Rising MistBy S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat

Artist Denise Choppin’s “Horizons” series, cur­rently on display at CO­CA’s Artport Gallery at the Tallahassee Regional Air­port, are vibrantly colored ab­stractions of the vast Florida land and seascapes.

Choppin has been a profes­sional graphic de­signer, and worked as an art director on several Florida historical coffee table book pro­jects, including one on the Gov­ernor’s Mansion. These days she paints full-time, and is already imagining where her work will go next.

Read the rest of the article

Monday
May122014

COCA Profile: Earle Lee is choir conductor, mentor

By S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat


Earle Lee has been on the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” fielded phone calls from Tyler Perry and is about to be the subject of a Disney feature film.

But for Lee, it all comes down to the three letters tattooed on his left fore­arm: BCT, which stands for Boys' Choir of Talla­hassee.

Read the rest of the article

Monday
May052014

Constructing Culture: Paintings by Anne Stagg

Unintended Consequences: Discourseon display in the City Hall Gallery from May 7 – June 30, 2014

Through her artwork, Anne Stagg explores identity and how individuals fit into the larger context of our surroundings and culture. Her abstract paintings invite us to contemplate what it means to be neighbors, global citizens, and multicultural beings. On display in the City Hall Gallery is a sampling of artwork from two series: [re]present and Unintended Consequences.

Knowing very little about the ethnicity of her adopted son's biological parents, Stagg began thinking about how to best support him in determining his own cultural identity. The [re]present series delves into issues that revolve around "belonging" and focuses on both the geographic and psychological components of our connection to others. This body of work considers different examples of identity while celebrating our complexities and diversity.

In the Unintended Consequences series, Stagg remains focused on the connections individuals have to our surrounding community and further examines our role in social governance. She explores topics including education, equality, environmental responsibility, reproductive and civil rights, access to clean water, and economic reform. For inspiration, she gathers news from a host of sources and considers her own convictions as an active citizen. The resulting paintings contain a barrage of visual information, competing perspectives and social tensions.

Click to read more ...

Monday
May052014

COCA Profile: Gypsies and bandits sing in harmony

Katie Spillman (center) and the Gypsy DarlingsBy S. D. Green 
Special to the Democrat 


Singer/songwriter Katie Spillman is one of the Gypsy Darlings trio; the other two are twin sisters Julie and Anna
 Lovelly. “The twins and I grew up in the same town in New Port Richey,” she said. “We went to rival high schools but didn’t know each other. We met through a mutual friend when we all went to FSU.”

Read the rest of the article

Monday
Apr282014

COCA profile: Bigelow paints in the open air

By S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat


Artists can capture magic in a moment and bring it to life. A quiet scene depicted in painter Peter Thomas Bigelow’s “Picket Fence” caught his eye — the way the sun­light illuminated the fence in his side yard as his friend Manny re­clined
in a chair. Consid­ering the subject, bringing the moment to life re­quired a little extra magic.

Read the rest of the article

Tuesday
Apr222014

COCA Profile: Greg LeFils "Conductor works in academia, community"

By S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat


Upon meeting some­one for the first time, choral conductor Greg LeFils is likely to wave an imaginary baton when explaining what he does for a living. It helps to clarify what has often
been misunderstood. “When I’d tell people I was a choral director they would look at me sideways and then say, ‘So you scuba dive and stuff?’ ” LeFils said. “That happened two or three times. So it oc­curred to me, many peo­ple out there never had experience with the term choral conductor.” LeFils spends most of his time working as as­sistant director of the Tallahassee Community Chorus, and is just weeks away from com­pleting his doctorate in music education. But he doesn’t come from a family of musicians; born and raised in Cen­tral Florida, he is the fifth generation of a family of cattle ranchers and farmers.

“I’ve got uncles who run feed stores and some are growing strawber­ries in Ocala,” he said.

Read the rest of the article

Friday
Apr182014

Horizons: Paintings by Denise Choppin

Bronzed Finale by Denise Choppin

On display from April 23-June 9, 2014 at the Artport Gallery

For many, the horizon is a source of contemplative focus. It serves as a threshold, waiting to be crossed. Apparent only through the lens of distance, it establishes a relationship between the viewer and that which is beyond.

For local painter, Denise Choppin it is this notion of vastness that intrigues. Through her artwork, she strives to capture the experience of land, water, and space.  In her attempt to convey the changeable quality of light over time and terrain, she creates a sense of tranquility and hopefulness. Instead of faithful depictions of the landscape, she explores the dynamic tension between representation and abstraction.

Working on birch panels, she repeatedly builds up a surface with acrylic glazing, periodically scraping back to reveal older layers. This technique allows for stunning luminosity and depth. Thirty seven of her artworks are featured in this exhibition and all of them illustrate the endless possibility, promise, and mystery inherent in the horizon.

This exhibition is presented by the Council on Culture & Arts (COCA) as part of the Art in Public Places program sponsored by the City of Tallahassee.  The gallery itself is located in the Tallahassee Regional Airport, 3300 Capital Circle SW, and is open daily from 8:00 am until 11:30 pm.

For more information about this exciting exhibition, upcoming exhibitions or the Art in Public Places program, contact Amanda Karioth Thompson at (850) 224-2500 or amanda@cocanet.org.

For a schedule of other exhibitions and arts and culture programs throughout north Florida, visit www.MoreThanYouThought.com. Learn more about COCA and sign up to receive COCA’s weekly email blast at www.cocanet.org.

Sunday
Apr132014

COCA Profile: Aja Roche "Gallery director mixes administration, art"

By S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat


In the two-story Fos­ter- Tanner Fine Arts Gallery on FAMU’s cam­pus, the graduating sen­iors buzz up and down the stairs, quietly adding finishing touches to their artwork, or chatting with nervous energy in clus­ters as they prepare for their senior exhibition.

Gallery director Aja Roache floats through the mix, offering a guid­ing hand to students as the hours tick down to
opening. “I enjoy being in the gallery even if it is just the mundane task of making sure everything is where it’s supposed to be,” said Roche.

Read the rest of the article