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Florida workshop series teaches business to artists

By Amanda Karioth Thompson
Special to the Chronicle

The Council on Cul­ture & Arts is teaming up with Florida Craftsmen and The Arts Business Institute who will pre­sent a business workshop for artists and craftspeo­ple in Tallahassee on
April 10-11. This program, being held at COCA, is designed to assist creative entre­preneurs in moving from part-time to full-time businesses. It is endorsed and co-sponsored by Florida Craftsmen, a statewide organization promoting fine craft art.

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COCA Profile: Linda Pelc "Pelc combines wildlife, vibrant colors"

By S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat

Local artist Linda Pelc paints a vibrant portrait of Florida’s wildlife: lines of turtles radiating with reds and electric blues, river otters dappled with a kaleidoscope of colors.

Her paintings often start with abstract forms, melding the real world with her creative mind.

Pelc studied art educa­tion and taught for 28 years in New York. It wasn’t until she retired to Florida in 2006 that she found the time to ded­icate to her own art, working primarily in watercolor.

“It’s very much like s tained glass, where you can get light that comes through and your color hits that white board, reflects back, and in­tensifies
that color,” she said.

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COCA Profile: Mark Fletcher "Artist Captures Nature in Sketches"

By S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat

Trips to the doctor’s office are infamous for agonizingly long waits. But artist Mark Fletcher turns every moment into an opportunity to see the beauty in his environment. Once he started sketching the intricate details of the phoropter —the goggle-like machine the eye doctor uses to update eyeglass prescriptions.

“I had to wait an hour with that equipment and I started thinking, ‘This is neat, I’m starting to see a design sense here,’ ” Fletcher said. “Once you start drawing, anything you draw will become interesting to you.

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Creative Tallahassee 2014

On display at the City Hall Gallery from March 12 - May 5, 2014

Orion's Nebulas by Miguel OlivellaCelebrate the skill, talent, ingenuity and creativity of some of the most exciting artists in the Big Bend area. Highlighted in this multi-media show is the work of many well-known and emerging local artists. This highly-anticipated annual juried exhibition features more than 60 paintings, drawings, photographs, textiles, and sculptures.

African Burial Ground III by Valerie GoodwinCompetition in 2014 was fierce. More than 160 individual pieces of artwork were submitted for consideration. And from those, forty six artists were selected by a special jury to have their work shown in this year’s Creative Tallahassee show.

A public opening reception is scheduled for Friday, April 4, 2014 from 6:00pm-7:30pm at the City Hall Gallery. The awards will be announced at 6:30. There is no charge for the reception or the exhibition.

The City Hall Gallery is located on the second floor of City Hall, 300 South Adams Street and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 5:30 pm

Piggy Bank by Susan StelzmannCreative Tallahassee 2014 is one of over a dozen annual exhibitions curated by the Council on Culture & Arts. The exhibit is part of the City of Tallahassee’s Art in Public Places program. 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 and visit COCA, online at www.cocanet.org.



COCA Profile: Margaret Pendleton - Pendleton coaches young musicians

Kids will play Baroque music at March 16 event
By S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat

Music can transport the listener to new worlds and experiences. This has always been true for pianist Margaret Pendleton, co-owner of Tallahassee’s classical sheet music supplier Beethoven & Company.

“I find myself saying, ‘I spent the weekend in Russia’ a lot, because I’m sitting at my computer trying to find the sheet music to a Russian choral piece on YouTube,” Pendleton said. “It’s great fun when you find it."

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Impressions of Florida: Artworks by Linda Pelc

Snook by Linda PelcAn exhibition at the Artport Gallery from March 5-April 21, 2014

Local artist, Linda Pelc is challenging expectations and preconceived notions of watercolor. As a master painter, she awakens a rarely seen saturated, kaleidoscopic side of the medium. By extracting vivid, jewel-like color from pigments, she creates puzzles of contrast for exhilarating compositions that practically vibrate off the walls.

Always experimenting, Pelc strives to develop and learn new techniques. Most recently, she has explored the possibilities of using latex paint as water media.

“Working with latex paint on paper saturated with water brings out its transparent qualities, making it akin to watercolor paint. I choose to combine the best qualities of both media in my paintings.”

Pelc’s love of Florida’s natural treasures features prominently in her chosen subject matter. The flora and fauna of the Sunshine State offer plenty of opportunities for color, movement, light and life. Pelc deftly capitalizes on her own curiosity as well as her artistic talents to push the boundaries of watercolor into the unknown.

This exhibition continues through April 21, 2014 and is presented by the Council on Culture & Arts 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.


COCA Profile: Living history performer brings 17th century soldier to life

By S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat 

Not many state employees get to carry a sword and fire cannons all day. Arnold LaBoy also gets to wear a cape, operate five merchant ships carrying exotic trade goods around the world and engage in the occasional sword fight at Mission San Luis, Tallahassee’s living history museum, which depicts 17th century life among the Apalachee Indians and Spanish in Florida.

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Hang it up: A professional art curator explains how to hang art at home

By Nicole Tschetter

Democrat staff writer

There’s no better way to spoil the excitement of getting a new p iece of artwork than realizing that you don’t know how to get it on the wall. It’s a daunting process. Luckily, said Amanda Thompson, “It’s not rocket science.”

And if anyone knows how to hang artwork, it’s Thompson. As the exhibi­t ions director with the Council on Culture & Arts,
Thompson works with more than 250 artists and installs nearly 600 pieces of artwork every year.

A lthough Thompson is an expert in this business, she said there are tips and t ricks when it comes to h anging art that can make any beginner look like a pro.

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The arts get active: COCA and Theatre Tallahassee both holding walking events this week

The Sunday Paper by W. Stanley "Sandy" ProctorBy Nicole Tschetter
Democrat staff reporter

Organizations that normally sponsor art exhibits and musicals are doing something completely different this week — sponsoring walking events. The Council on Culture & Arts (COCA) is partnering with Move.Tallahassee.com to sponsor the first Public Art Walk and Theatre Tallahassee is sponsoring its inaugural Costume 5K, both on Saturday.

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COCA Profile: Matthew Pedersen - Grad student creates costumes for ‘Spamalot’

By S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat

Arts graduate student Matthew Pedersen is still paying his dues. As the designer for FSU School of Theatre’s production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” Pedersen invested a lot of energy into the details, all the way down to fleeting elements that blip by the audience.

“There’s a tumbling frog costume that you see for five seconds,” Pedersen said. “I spent a whole weekend sculpting it out of foam and thermoplastic."

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COCA Profile: Mark O'Connor; Grammy Award-winning violinist visits for classes and concert 

By S. D. Green 

Special to the Democrat

Composer/violinist Mark O’Connor carries the rich history of Amer­ican music with him ev­erywhere he goes — literally. On any given day in New York City, you can find him pulling a cartload of his collection of vintage microphones from his apartment to a nearby recording studio.

O’Connor is recording the CD companion to his fourth instructional mu­s ic book, chock full of the techniques and melodies culled from the great American styles of jazz, bluegrass, country and beyond. These styles were passed down to O’Connor from his teach­ers, American legends l ike jazz violinist Ste­phane Grappelli and master of Texas-style fiddling Benny Thom­asson.

“It’s a celebration of music and so it’s been very rewarding,” O’Con­nor said. “I write the music and the arrange­ments and then I produce the sessions and even do my own post-production editing and mixing.”

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Dear Colleagues,

Thank you!  

Over the past several days, our community has demonstrated overwhelming support and commitment to arts, heritage and culture and that message was received by the County Commissioners.

This morning, the Commission ultimately supported Option 2, which allows COCA central oversight of the Cultural Plan including the cultural grant process. The Commission agreed to supplement this with the request for a report that explores potential operational efficiencies, such as the sharing of resources.

We would like to thank the County Commissioners for their thoughtful consideration of this issue. They are working diligently on behalf of the entire community and they recognize the value of arts and culture as an integral component to the quality of life in our area. The Cultural Plan Review Committee has spent a great deal of time and effort in crafting their plan and we appreciate their work as well.

In moving forward, it's important that we continue to work in partnership. COCA has served this area for nearly 30 years. We are proud of what we do and we are passionate about the people we serve. We know that, together, we can achieve great things and make this a place where people want to live, work, learn, play and visit.


URGENT: Special Action Alert from COCA

Dear Colleagues:

The Leon County Commission is considering the recommendations of the Cultural Plan at a workshop on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 8:30 AM (County Courthouse, fifth floor).  COCA has reviewed agenda materials that present several options to the Commissioners.  You can view the agenda item and all the materials at the following link: 


This email is our attempt to simplify a complicated issue, so please feel free to read the entire packet and draw your own conclusions.

We would appreciate it if you will PLEASE take time to read this email thoroughly as this issue could fundamentally change the way arts and culture are funded and marketed within our community.

County staff offers four potential options in implementing the Cultural Plan (Page 17):

Option 1: Implementation and execution of the Cultural Plan under the Division of Tourism Development.

This option states:

"Direct staff to bring back an agenda item for Board consideration on the implementation and execution of the Cultural Plan, including the granting process, under the Division of Tourism Development and in partnership with the City."

COCA interprets this to mean that, if this option is accepted, the entire cultural grant program (both County and City) would be transferred over to the TDC, as would the oversight and implementation of the entire Cultural Plan.

County staff asserts that this option would provide "operational efficiencies" as the TDC "is fully staffed, experienced in the distribution and oversight of grants programs, and actively markets local culture, arts, and heritage events in partnership with a professional marketing and public relations firm."   

Option 2: Allow it to remain with COCA as outlined in the Cultural Plan.

This option states:

"Encourage COCA to establish and staff its own subcommittee to review its progress relative to the Cultural Plan... Direct COCA to develop its FY 2015 budget request to the County assuming $150,000 for administrative costs and $900,000 in County bed tax funds, in consultation with the Tourist Development Council."

COCA interprets this to mean that the grant program would remain with COCA, and would have the responsibility of central oversight of the Cultural Plan as more specifically set forth in the Cultural Plan.

Option 3: Do not accept the Cultural Plan Committee's Final Report.

Option 4: Board direction.

County staff's official recommendation is Option 4, "Board Direction." In other words, staff want the County Commissioners to tell them how to proceed.

Obviously COCA supports Option 2. COCA believes we are the best agency and most qualified to oversee the grant program and the Cultural Plan.

The TDC does indeed manage a granting and marketing program. However, the TDC's primary mission is to encourage tourism to our community. COCA's mission is much broader and affects the overall quality of life of our residents -- practicing artists, arts/cultural/heritage organizations, local educators, students, local businesses, event producers, arts patrons, supporters, board members, volunteers and many others representing residents of the Big Bend region -- as well as visitors.

A majority of the COCA Board strongly believes that COCA is the only agency with the specific expertise and broad understanding that is critically important to elevate arts and culture in our community.

The County Commission will be hosting a workshop on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 8:30 AM (County Courthouse, fifth floor).  If you believe, as we do, that the Cultural Plan and grant programs should remain with your Local Arts Agency, the organization that understands your mission and has always worked in partnership with you to help you succeed, please click here to CONTACT THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS IMMEDIATELY and let them hear your voice.



COCA Profile: David Hemsley Cald­well - Visiting director takes on two shows at The Dixie  

Visiting director takes on two shows at The Dixie 

By S. D. Green

Special to the Democrat

David Hemsley Cald­well has had many artis­tic careers. After getting h is MFA in acting from Brandeis, he became a casting associate on “The Cosby Show,” where he met a spec­trum of performers f rom Stevie Wonder to Danny Kaye. He’s also been an entrepreneur, s tarting his own theater company, the Otterbein Group, in the 1990s.

“I was the kind of person who said I was going to do something in t he entertainment indus­try,” Caldwell said. “When I saw people (in t he business side of the industry) getting angry because they didn’t get t o do what they wanted to do, I didn’t want to get a ngry, so I said I better go do my own thing.”

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COCA Profile: Keith Rodgers - Artist brings poetry into community, schools 

Artist brings poetry into community, schools

By S. D. Green

Special to the Democrat

As a poet and host of Talla­hassee’s popular weekly Black on Black Rhyme poetry event, Keith Rodgers has two tools that have served him well on his artistic journey: a quick wit and an expansive memory. He ar­rived in Tallahassee from his native Polk County with his poems stashed where they could not be misplaced.

“I had 300 poems memoriz­ed,” Rodgers said. “I used to go to a poetry show called ‘Night Jazz’ on Thursday nights, and I would do six to 10 poems every week.”

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COCA Profile: ‘An ode to old’: Williams’ art shows the beauty of aging in nature

By S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat

Many artists are inspired by current events or what they see in the news. Quilter Charlotte Williams is more inspired by what she sees on the walk down her driveway to collect the newspaper. Williams’ work focuses on nature, with an emphasis on the later stages of the lives of plants and trees as they slowly weather, change color and decay with age.

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Leaves, Limbs and Lichens: Artworks by Charlotte Williams

on display at the Artport gallery from January 22-March 3, 2014

The Beauty of the Spheres by Charlotte WilliamsIn her 84th year, artist Charlotte Williams is well aware of the progression of time. Her new collection of artwork deals with transience, change and the cycles of nature. A noted quilter and quilt historian, she shares her own handcrafted quilts, wearable needlework and drawings created especially for this exhibition. Inspired by and produced with elements found in our local landscape, these artworks depict and mimic bark, moss, lichen, and leaves at various points in their lifecycle, revealing the honest beauty of aging and mirroring our own journey through existence.

Using natural materials that might be considered detritus or past their prime, she hand-dyed fabric creating unexpected depths of color. Rich umbers and moody greys are produced from the outer husks of black walnuts found moldering on the ground. Soft corals are coaxed from fallen wild cherry and red bud leaves. These fabrics are then lovingly stitched together, reminding us that things in decline show a great sense of grace.

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COCA Profile: PROJECT Trio's Peter Seymour "Trio pushes the boundries of chamber music"

By S. D. Green

Special to the Democrat

In a modern culture where it’s easy to be distracted by the flavor of the moment, musicians like bassist Peter Seymour buck the trends by dedicating themselves to putting the time in to master a classical instrument.

Seymour has diverse interests, having played with the Cleveland Symphony and in other classical music settings, while he has also shared the stage with jazz great Wynton Marsalis.

“I think there’s a sublime connection that a performer who is great at their instrument in whatever style music they play can touch the audience,” Seymour said.

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COCA Profile: Darko Butorac "New conductor loves his musicians, concert hall, FSU football"

By S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat

An orchestra may be about sound, but a good amount of a music director’s job is really about vision. The Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra hired its new conductor, Darko Butorac, for both his musical skills and his vision.

“There was an extensive two-year search,” Butorac said. “I was chosen as the winner from five finalists, who were selected from a pool of over 250 applicants. It is very competitive, and I feel truly honored to serve as the music director of the TSO.”

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COCA Profile: Emily Fee "Museum Educator Links People to Past"

By S. D. Green
Special to the Democrat

Most 2013 college graduates are focused on the the future. But Emily Fee, educational coordinator for the Florida Historic Capitol Museum, enjoys sharing space with the past.

“I’m a big proponent of the past helping us understand how we got to our present,” she said.“It’s important to have a connection to where you come from.”

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