PODS: The stuff of quirky revelry

Storage units, drinks and a cemetery figure into Dunedin's two-day art event.

By TERRI BRYCE REEVES, Times Correspondent
Published January 25, 2008

DUNEDIN - Don't let their ho-hum looks fool you.

These nondescript white storage units are really quite intriguing if you look inside.

One soothes with an illuminated Zenlike garden. Another follows the adventures of a G.I. Joe doll as he travels cross-country.

At the Dunedin Fine Art Center, local artists were given access to 10 PODS, or Portable On Demand Storage units, with the challenge to think inside the box.

"We wanted people to enter the POD and feel transformed by the artist's imagination," said Kaya Parwanicka, special events coordinator for the art center.

The results of their endeavors should surprise, intrigue and delight during a two-day event called "CONTAIN IT!"

The multimedia installation kicks off tonight with a party featuring a DJ, drinks and a special appearance by John Kilduff, host of Let's Paint TV, a popular and cheeky Los Angeles cable TV show.

Kilduff will spoof a multitasking society by exercising on a treadmill as he paints or mixes drinks.

Admission to the party at 8 p.m. is $10.

The event continues Saturday, when the exhibition will be free and open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Also on Saturday, Kilduff will give a painting workshop called "Plein Air Adventure" in a rather unorthodox setting: Curlew Hills Memory Gardens. The workshop, which promises to make painting fun, will begin at the cemetery at 10 a.m. and end at the fine art center, where a critique and discussion will last until 4 p.m.

Parwanicka said she was inspired to create "CONTAIN IT!" after seeing a similar idea at Art Basel in Miami Beach three years ago.

"It's a new way of showing art, something very different from the typical gallery setting, that we hope will attract many new people to the art center," she said.

Creators had artistic license to transform the PODS but were not allowed to paint or alter the inside or outside walls, she said.

Maria Saraceno, 57, of St. Pete Beach has taken the idea of pods literally with Clarity of Sun and Water. Using found seedpods from palms, which she said are "life vessels," she turns them into art by painting them lively tropical colors and coating them with a shiny resin.

"They served such an important function, it would be a shame to discard them," she said.

Shane Hoffman is a 35-year-old artist from St. Petersburg who said he spent his childhood playing with an imaginary clown who lived in his father's work boots. These days he likes to create his own mythology and has begun a story line about a girl who drinks dew from a field of tulips,turns into a bird and gives birth to twin redbirds.

He has fashioned a three-dimensional scene from the story made of brightly colored felt.

"I'm hoping people will be mesmerized by it," he said. "I hope they want to come back for more."

Check it out:


This two-day event at the Dunedin Fine Art Center features artistic transformations of PODS.

It begins with a party at 8 tonight featuring a guest appearance by John Kilduff, host of Let's Paint TV. Admission is $10.

The event continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when admission is free.

Also on Saturday, a "plein air" workshop with Kilduff will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It begins at Curlew Memory Gardens, 1750 Curlew Road in Palm Harbor, and ends at the fine art center. Participants should meet at 9:30 a.m. in the cemetery parking lot. The workshop is $50 for members and $75 for nonmembers. Register at www.dfac.org or call (727) 298-3322.

The Dunedin Fine Art Center is at 1143 Michigan Blvd.