Sonja Michaels | Editor-in-Chief
At a school like Florida Tech where STEM is highly valued, the highlight of local arts and new technology within community made its debut at its own auditorium.
Gleason Performing Arts Center held their first arts showcase on Oct. 4 presenting an array of space-themed paintings and the display of their new lighting system and LED screens.
The showcase also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the auditorium, with about 86 attendees at the event.
William O’Steen, the general manager, and Jeffrey Richardson, the assistant manager, created this showcase to not only show their new direction for Gleason but also to display their new equipment and abilities.
“We wanted to find an opportunity to thank the campus and community for taking part in the upgrades and improvements we have made,” Richardson said. “It was our way of inviting everyone to a free and inclusive event where we could show some of the types of events our building can support.”
According to Richardson, this was their first event that focused on their own creativity, with an attempt on utilizing their own production knowledge.
The front lobby was decorated with giant paintings from local artists Christopher Maslow and Mark Gilliam, as well as having a
lighting control booth for guests to interact with featuring colored spotlights.
Big LED screens were hinged on the front wall, presenting advertisements and graphics from Florida Tech College Players and Florida Tech Video Productions.
Before the main event, a special VIP event was held on stage for donors and the school’s administration to meet with Gleason staff and the keynote speaker, Salem Murphy.
The showcase opened up with Anja and The Band, an alternative/pop/rock group, for the first thirty minutes.
The performance was then followed by the keynote speaker, Salem Murphy, an actress and producer known for her role as the principal in season one of “Stranger Things,” as well as “Abe” and “Reckless.”
Murphy graduated from Florida Tech in 1986 in business and finance and was invited through the Office of Development for the showcase.
“I was honored to be part of the showcase,” Murphy said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to see all the ways in which Florida Tech has thrived throughout the years.”
Evan Olsen, assistant director of dining services, presented Murphy as the keynote speaker and interviewed her on stage.
“It was a great experience for me as an MC,” Olsen said. “It was my first time being a formal speaker outside of my dining services circle.”
Murphy explained her experience at Florida Tech, her personal growth and her journey in becoming an actress in the industry.
“Just to see how many wonderful things are happening here at Florida Tech is pretty cool,” Murphy said.
Olsen said that he would like Gleason to have more events like these geared towards the student body.
“After this event, I’d say there is an opportunity in doing showcase events of various talents, such as comedians and bands,” Olsen said. “Even though it’s utilized more for formal events, I would like the students to get more involved with Gleason.”
Richardson heard this type of feedback from the audience and is looking into making this showcase a recurring event.
“Much of the new equipment we use in our building is shown frequently at events around campus,” Richardson said. “We make every event we support on campus a way that we can show off some of the new creative equipment that we desire.”
Florida Tech Fall
Pumpkin drinks in hand
Fall leaves instead are palm trees
Midterms end summer
Alarm is chirping
A ten minute walk to class
Forgot the text book
With the upcoming exhibit at Florida Tech’s textile museum, the Ruth Funk Center, anyone will be able to come in and learn about the history of the American art form of basketry.
The exhibit is titled “Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America.”
It will open to the public from Sept. 21-Dec. 14, as detailed from the museum’s website at www.textiles.fit. edu.
“[The exhibit] chronicles the history of American basketry from its origins in Native American, European and African traditions up to contemporary baskets,” said Donna Sewell, manager of visitor services at the Ruth Funk Center.
The exhibit will divide all basket-related items into four sections based on the themes of “cultural origins,” “living traditions,” “basket as vessels” and “beyond the basket.”
The museum’s goals for the exhibit are listed on their website as, “To model how to look at, talk about and analyze baskets aesthetically, critically and historically; and to contextualize American basketry within art and craft history specifically and American culture generally.”
Before the exhibit opens, the Ruth Funk Center will hold a Funky Fall Art Fest across from Evans Library from 3-7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30.
The museum will be empty, as it’s in-between exhibits, so the event will be both indoors and outdoors.
Inside the museum for the event’s participants will be painting, pottery wheels, a game room, performances and more.
Outside activities include lawn games, chalk art and a live band with free food via food trucks.
The museum is hoping to make this an annual event going forward to celebrate the anniversary of the Ruth Funk Center opening up on campus.
“As a staff, we’ve been wanting to do a student-led event,” Sewell said. “So the idea developed through these collaborations with SMART and SGA.”
SMART is the museum’s student advisory committee that students can join to plan events with the museum, help the museum bring in new visitors and give insight into the planning of museum exhibits.
Sewell said that the first weekly meeting for the exhibit was held in May.
“As a staff, we’ve been planning this for a year,” Sewell said.
Other coming events will include a gallery tour by Exhibit Co-Curator Jo Stealey on Oct. 8 and basket weaving demos from Oct. 8-12 as part of the museum’s spinning and weaving week.
After this semester’s coming exhibit closes, the next exhibit titled “Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence” will run from Feb. 1-April 25.
“We want to let the students know that we are the center of creativity, fun and art,” Seawell said. “We want the students to have fun and relax.”
The Foosaner Art Museum’s current main exhibit is a highlight of a local artist’s 10-year career in collage art.
“Derek Gores: Local Edition” highlights an artist whose intricate work making collage pieces is on display for visitors to the Foosaner Museum.
Pieces he’s displaying focus primarily on women, but other pieces include a hammerhead shark titled “Hammerhead Hijinx” and a perspective piece depicting an eye in frame.
The perspective piece titled “The View From Here aka Periodical Peripheral Vision” was made specifically for the museum.
Additionally, it was Gores’ first time making a 3-D installation.
There is also an interactive piece called “What Are You Doing Here?”
The piece is a wall of sticky notes where guests can add sticky notes of their own as to why they are at the museum written on it.
“I like a sensory experience,” Gores said. “I want to have my senses alive like a kid. Experience things for the first time. I try to make that happen in my pieces.”
Gores pulls inspiration for his work from various figurative art throughout history, and he mainly draws upon the works of German expressionist, Gustav Klimt.
“I’ve tried all kinds of art forms, starting with drawing and painting,” Gores said. “Collage allows me to bring new info into artwork.”
With a modern pop-culture element from the fashion magazines he uses to make his work, Gores said, “You see something, but it falls apart when you get there.”
Using fashion magazines “Vogue”, along with other random papers like engine schematics and song lyrics, Gores gives his work an extra depth to transport people into the work.
The exhibit was the idea of Carla Funk, executive director of the Foosaner Art Museum and chief curator of university museums for Florida Tech.
“I’ve known him [Gores] for about 10 years,” Funk said. “I’ve watched him grow as an artist and get awards and commissions all over the world. He’s one of the most well-known artists in the area.”
Along with this year being the 40-year anniversary of the museum, Funk got into contact with Gores, who had not done an art show like this before, and started production on the showcase.
She brought in a guest curator, Serene Kawas McGroarty, and got the pieces on loan from different collectors and from Gores’ private collection. Funk’s favorite piece was “Hammerhead Hijinx.”
“I think it’s his most ambitious piece,” Funk said. “[It’s] so hard making so much depth with just black pages.”
Gores and Funk’s hard work left an impression on Lavanya Kumar, a first-time attendee to the museum and a first-year graduate student at Florida Tech.
“I think the artwork was fantastic,” Kumar said. “To see something so beautiful made from cutouts of magazines, construction blueprints, newspapers, wallpapers and so many other paper materials we normally discard as waste was so amazing.”
“Going into the building without any prior knowledge,” Kumar added, “I could’ve spent all day there.”
She also said that she’d come back for future exhibits.
This current exhibit is running until March 23.
The next exhibit is titled “Vision 2019”, a juried exhibition of works by members of the local Strawbridge Art League. It will run from April 6 – May 25.
The following exhibit is “Clyde Butcher: Florida’s Photographer”, featuring the titular environmentalist’s photos of Florida, running from June 8 – May 25.
From Nov. 2 – March 14, 2020 is “Cuban Contemporary Paintings from the Rodriguez Collection”, an exhibition of works by a variety of Cuban artists from the late twentieth-century.
“For Florida Tech, we want the museum to be theirs,” Funk said. “It’s free. Bring your friends and have a great experience.”