Arts enthusiasts gather for opening of 3 exhibits
By LENNIE BENNETT
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 21, 2001
The painting by John Whipple in the window of the Arts Center is named Converge, and did we ever on Jan. 12 to celebrate the opening of three new shows at the center.
Several hundred arts enthusiasts gathered to gaze and graze, and try not to bump into the exquisite glassworks of Duncan McClellan, which were part of the exhibition. (Even the cones "guarding" a sculpture were made of glass. Not much help.)
Executive director Evelyn Craft was the calm center of a swirling mass of patrons that included board president Sean Manning and Beth Morean Manning; Fran Risser; Tom and Mary James; Brian Reale; David and Chelley Tighe, who are considering a move to New Hampshire -- what a loss to us; Paul and Maria Castagliola; Bob and Donna Fletcher; Stan Cowen and Valerie Knaust; Beth Reynolds; Marilyn Armstrong; Ron and Pat Mason; Tim Clemmons; Ken Mitchell; Lee Lowery; Neil deGroot; Paul and Sandy Eppling; Russ and Kathy Gustafson-Hilton; Russ Buchan and Leslie Neumann; and Susan Hough.
Here are glad tidings: Leslie Curran, former City Council member and founder of First Night, and Bill Griffith, manager of The Pier, told me they wed on Jan. 2. Our best wishes to them.
With so much sports stuff in our frontal lobes these days, I enjoyed meeting a Hall of Famer of a different sort, artist Phil London, member of the Metallurgist Hall of Fame and a founder of the West Coast chapter of the Society of Goldsmiths, which is headquartered in the Arts Center. He led Richard and Helen Minck (Richard Minck is also an artist who sometimes works with precious metals), Hazel Hough and me to a cabinet where the jewelry and tiny sculptures created by that group are displayed.
Working on a grander scale is Deb Schneikart, creator of trompe l'oeil murals, who was scheduled to spend the next day painting the ceiling of a local restaurant.
"Like Michelangelo," I said.
"Well, no," she said. "I'll be on a ladder, not scaffolding, getting a neck crick."
Many of us repaired to a party at the home of Dr. Perry and Lisa Everett in honor of McClellen, whose work they collect. I love going to their house, a new one built to fit into the Colonial vernacular of the Old Northeast neighborhood. Even with the fabulous collection of contemporary art and crafts on every wall and in every corner, the lovely furnishings and the Steinway grand piano, it is comfortable and unpretentious, like the Everetts.
"Are you nautical or nice?" several women asked me on my arrival at Nautical and Nice, the luncheon and fashion show sponsored by St. Anthony's Hospital Guild.
"Gee, do I have to choose?" I answered.
The event was both. The ballroom of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club was full, more than 200 women and a handful of men attending, and every one of the two dozen tables was decked with a hand-made wooden sailboat made by Virginia Smith's husband Charles.
Chairwomen Joan Jaicks and Priscilla Young and their committee provided many nautical and nice touches including the captain's hat Mark Wilson agreed to wear as master of ceremonies.
I hope I do not ruffle feathers in writing that I am amused by the new title the guild's leader now bears: Greta Myers is this year's "team coordinator," which is a newfangled term for the auxiliary president. Whatever it's called, she's good at it.
"We've been in Atlanta buying for the gift shop," said Joan Loader, who with Ruth Burns manages the store, located in St. Anthony's Hospital. Based on the selection they brought for sale, it has lovely things.
"I love going to that shop," said Sarah Longquist, who purchased a small gilt easel sprouting leaves.
"It was only $12," she said. "I love bargains."
I loved the fish platter that looked like an expensive Italian piece but was actually made in China and a reasonable $32.
As is the custom, leaders of other organizations were honored in the Presidents' Promenade: Eileen Albanese of Florida Suncoast Opera Guild; Vera Brantley of All Children's Hospital Guild; Kelly Caputo, Alpha House; Edie Spies, Bayfront Medical Auxiliary; Lenne Nicklaus-Ball, Boys and Girls Club; Mary Shuh, Florida Orchestra Guild; Hugh Ann Cason-Kelly, Infinity; Judy Cuniff, Queen of Hearts; Bettye Black, Stuart Society; Sheila Tempelmann, Sword of Hope; Joan Jaicks, Women's Chamber of Commerce, and Doris McIntyre, Women's Service League.
For several years, Dr. Larry Williams and Dr. Steve Collins have taken time from their busy schedules to model in the fashion show. They were back, even though it was Collins' 20th wedding anniversary. "That's why I'm here today, too," said Cathy Collins. And many more to you.
Also nice to see were Pat Howells, Barb Kyes, Krista Whipple, Betty Breedon, Charlotte Krizek, Edie Lyster, Anna Collins, Jeanne Nelson, Linda Chamberlain, Nellie Bonitati, Bernice McCune, Margaret Keelean, Betty Orr, Mary Cross and Sue Brett.
Mrs. Brett has interesting waters to navigate for the next few months: She is an active supporter of mayoral candidate Larry Williams, and her brother-in-law, Terry Brett, is campaign manager for candidate Rick Baker. "We just decided to leave some things at the door."
St. Anthony's Auxiliary is 52 years old, making it one of the oldest volunteer organizations in St. Petersburg. "We've raised $2,200,000 during that time," Mrs. Myers said. "That may not seem like a lot today, but these were not corporate dollars. Think of the volunteer hours they represent."
Calendar change: The Florida Orchestra Guild of St. Petersburg has announced a date change for the annual Designer Show House. The preview party now is March 23, and the show house will be open to the public March 24-April 14. The location remains unchanged, a town home at Vinoy Place.
2001 SUNRISE AWARD LUNCHEON: Suncoast Center for Community Mental Health hosts keynote speaker Dr. Joyce Brothers and honors a local individual who has worked on behalf of children or adults with mental illness. Noon. Renaissance Vinoy Resort, 501 Fifth Ave. NE. $50. 327-7656, ext. 241.
AMOUR DU COEUR: Luncheon and Fashion Show organized by Infinity, the League to Aid Abused Adults and Children, to benefit Center Against Spouse Abuse, Brookwood, A Young Women's Residence and the Suncoast Child Protection Team. 11 a.m. St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave. $40. 866-1276 or 360-0350.
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