The Muse Awards will celebrate artistic inspiration on Friday, January 27, 2017 at the Museum of Fine Arts at 7 PM. St. Petersburg’s fourth annual fundraising benefit for the arts will recognize the breadth and beauty of art and culture in our City of the Arts, and pay tribute to those that continue to inspire and guide St. Petersburg to its standing as an international arts destination.
We are pleased to announce that sculptor and painter Kyu Yamamoto will be honored as the Muse Award’s visual artist for the fourth annual Muse Awards benefit. Kyu joins 2016 winner, Steven Kenney, and 2015 winner, Carrie Jadus as the visual artist honoree. His artwork will be featured on the 2017 commemorative poster.
Under the tutelage of Kozo Shibata, Kyu began studying sculpture as a fine arts student at Asahigaoka, the visual arts magnet school in Nagoya, Japan. After then majoring in Classical Sculpture at the acclaimed Aichi Fine Arts University, he worked for several years with the commercial Rui Kobo Studios, producing sculpted ornamental and decorative work throughout Japan, including Tokyo Disneyland.
After relocating to the U.S in 1985, Yamamoto was soon asked to use his sculpting and casting skills, serving as Assistant Sculptor for completion of the recreation of Athena Parthenos inside Nashville’s century-old full-size replica of the ancient Greek Parthenon. At 42 feet, Athena is the tallest indoor sculpture in the Western World. He also began teaching at the Centennial Arts Center and the Watkins Institute. His first corporate commission (for the Great American/Southwestern Company’s corporate headquarters) and his first public commission (for the city of Portland) occurred while living in Nashville.
Kyu moved his studio to St. Petersburg in 1992. He is now known throughout the Tampa Bay area for his contributions to public art (USF St Petersburg, Johns Hopkins/All Children’s Hospital, St Petersburg’s Fire Station #4. Kyu has been faculty/instructor for the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota; the Penland School of American Craft in Penland, NC; Eckerd College and the Morean Arts Center in St Petersburg; the Dunedin Fine Arts Center in Dunedin; and the Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts in Asheville, NC. He is a founding faculty member of the Clay Center of St Petersburg. His work is found in collections across the U.S., Canada and Japan.
“I don’t think it’s as important to capture the physical details of a figure, as to capture the spirit, that which brings life,” said Yamamoto “Art provides an avenue for communication. If a work of art causes you to react, to think, or to change the way you think or feel about something, then I have been successful. If you feel the sadness in the nodded head of one of my pieces; if you caught one of my figures moving out of the corner of your eye: if you smile back at a smile reaching out to you: then, and only then, have we communicated, and have I succeeded in my task.”
Proceeds benefit artists, arts education, and arts & cultural organizations through the Arts Alliance’s programs and services. Individual Party tickets are $100 and Cabaret Reception sponsorships begin at $500 and may be purchased on the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance website. For sponsorship and ticket information please contact John Collins at John@StPeteArtsAlliance.org.
The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance is the umbrella organization serving the arts and cultural community: advocating for the arts; facilitating the growth of the arts community; driving arts-related economic development in St. Petersburg, and supporting in school and afterschool arts education.