October is Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month and the MFA continues its tradition of reaching out to the visually impaired. Large-print labels are featured next to select works throughout the galleries, and a host of programs have been designed for both the visually impaired and everyone else. The goal is to bring people together to share their experiences and to enjoy art and dogs, both live and in paintings.
The events begin October 8 at 1 p.m. with a Monday Art Bite. In a 30-minute talk, Hazel and William Hough Chief Curator Jennifer Hardin will introduce Jean Hélion’s Portrait of Jacques Lusseyran (1958). A gifted poet, Lusseyran lost his sight as a child and faced many other profound obstacles in his life. He was a member of the French resistance during World War II and survived the Buchenwald concentration camp. This portrait is one of the most moving in the MFA collection. The Monday Art Bite is free with Museum admission.
The Museum will hold its first Yappy Hour Thursday, October 11, from 5-8 p.m. Service dogs in training, along with their foster parents, and puppies from Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto will be center-stage. You can learn more about becoming a puppy-raiser. The dogs will greet visitors to the MFA on the colonnade facing Beach Drive. Well-behaved companion dogs are also welcome, though only guide dogs in training and service animals are allowed inside the Museum.
A cash bar will be outside, and a signature cocktail will be available for a donation of one of these items: bone-shaped Kongs, gallon zip-lock bags, 13-gallon trash bags, dish-washing liquid like Dawn, Swiffer Wet Jet refills, hand-sanitizer, and new or used bath towels. This evening event is a benefit for Southeastern Guide Dogs. Please do not bring dog treats or squeaky toys.
This is also the ideal time to see the art inside and to search for paintings with depictions of humanity’s best friend. Admission is only $10 from 5-8 p.m.
The Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month Family Day on Saturday, October 20, will engage people of all ages. It is free with Museum admission and no registration is necessary. The events include:
11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Touch Tours of select sculpture. In addition, the talented young artists from Lighthouse of Pinellas’ Transition Program for Visually Impaired Teens will sell the hand-dyed scarves they designed.
11 a.m.-3 p.m.: Make and Take: Use Model Magic to create your own artful accessory.
11:30 a.m.-noon: Puppy to Super Hero. Southeastern Guide Dogs describes how the school and its volunteers raise puppies for a life of loyal service. This is an excellent opportunity to meet guide dogs in training and to explore becoming a volunteer puppy-raiser.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
The MFA at 255 Beach Drive N.E. has one of the state’s premier collections of art from around the globe and across the centuries. On view are striking works by Monet, Gauguin, Renoir, Morisot, Cézanne, Rodin, O’Keeffe, and many others. Also displayed are ancient Greek and Roman, Egyptian, Asian, African, pre-Columbian, and Native American art. The photography collection is one of the largest and most significant in the Southeast.
The Museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and noon-
5 p.m. Sunday. On Thursdays, the MFA is open until 8 p.m., with admission reduced to $10 from 5-8 p.m. Regular admission is $17 for adults, $15 for those 65 and older, and $10 for students seven and older, including college students with current I.D. Children under seven and Museum members are admitted free. Groups of 10 or more adults pay only $12 per person and children $4 each with prior reservations.
The MFA Café serves lunch in the glass Conservatory, on the terrace facing the bay, and on the colonnade on Beach Drive from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. The Museum Store has been named the area’s best by the duPont Registry. For more information, please call 727.896.2667 or visit the website at www.fine-arts.org. For café reservations, please call 727.822.1032.