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Art program has international flair


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 2, 2001

Associate professor of art Stephen Holm traveled to Czechoslovakia during the early 1990s for an opportunity to experience "art different from that in airports." After a few mishaps, he found instead an English speaking Czechoslovakian college student who was willing to drive him around and show him the sights.

Nine years later, Holm, back in America, received a letter from the Slovak Republic. It was an invitation to take part in an outdoor international art symposia sponsored by Pavol Petras, the once helpful student. Holm was asked to be the American portion in a web of international artists.

Holm, a faculty member at Hillsborough Community College, is now inviting Petras, a successful portrait painter and gallery owner, to America to be the first installment in the international art-reach program at HCC.

"We want to establish cultural links and encourage international culture," said Holm.

Holm said that while in Europe he was fascinated by Petras' ability to paint quickly and spontaneously.

Petras' style of portraiture is both sensitive and graphic. Working very quickly with acrylic paints, his portraits are very "incisive."

"Petras has the ability to capture the inner self in his portraits," said Holm.

With untitled works, Petras allows his audience to investigate the pieces and figure out the subject of the work.

Petras will paint Ybor City historian, artist and author Ferdie Pacheco from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and sculptor and artist Leroy Jackson from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday. Both Pacheco and Jackson will model the entire four hours, with periodic brakes for both artist and model.

Petras will also paint Mutiny soccer player Carlos Valderrama at Blake High School Wednesday and Tampa Museum of Art director Emily Kass March 15.

If you go

WHAT: Professor Pavol Petras of the Slovak Republic will be painting four Tampa Bay personalities

WHEN: From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday

WHERE: Hillsborough Community College's Ybor Campus Visual Arts Building painting studio, room 221

COST: Free

CALL: (813) 253-7674

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