Annual fundraiser will give guests a voice in selecting one of
photographer Sam Contis’ works for museum’s photographic collection
The Friends of Photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg will host its popular “Pick-a-Pic” fundraiser event on Friday, January 25, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
This year, Pick-a-Pic is going “solo,” featuring the works of a single artist, emerging photographer Sam Contis of Oakland, Calif. The artist will be on hand to discuss her work, and will bring three of her photographs for the event. Pick-a-Pic attendees vote to decide which of the photographs the group will support for the MFA collection.
Robin O’Dell, Curator of the MFA Photographic Collection, worked with the museum’s curatorial department and the Friends of Photography steering committee to identify photographs from Contis’ work that would best complement the current collection. Funds raised from the Pick-a-Pic event will be used to purchase the artwork, which will become a part of the museum’s permanent collection.
Contis’ work was included in the 2018 Being: New Photography exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA), and has had work shown both in the U.S. and internationally with recent exhibitions in Los Angeles, Amsterdam, and London.
Her monotype Deep Springs was included in the best photo books of 2017 by such noted publications as the New York Times, The Guardian, Lensculture, and Interview Magazine. Her photographs are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and other prominent museums.
The featured photographs will be from Contis’ Deep Springs series, examining a small liberal arts all-male college in the desert southeast of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, established in 1917. Contis visited and documented the daily lives of the young men who studied there over several years. The college’s curriculum combines academic rigor with hands-on participation in farming and ranch-hand activities. The school’s remote western backdrop set the stage for an exploration of masculinity and identity in the modern age. Contis’ work focuses on issues of gender roles, mythology and the iconography of the American West.
Pick-a-Pic festivities will also include live music, light hors d’oeuvres, chance drawings, and a cash bar. Tickets are $35 for members of Friends of Photography and $45 for nonmembers, covering event and museum admission, and can be purchased online here.
Friends of Photography is a group of photo enthusiasts that helps promote and augment the Museum’s photography collection, which is the finest in the Southeast. The Friends are dedicated to increasing awareness of fine art photography through fun and educational events like lectures, field trips, fundraisers, and workshops.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
The MFA at 255 Beach Drive N.E. has a world-class collection, with works by Monet, Morisot, Rodin, O’Keeffe, Willem de Kooning, and many other great artists. Also displayed are ancient Greek and Roman, Egyptian, Asian, African, pre-Columbian, and Native American art. Selections from the photography collection, one of the largest and finest in the Southeast, are on view in a gallery dedicated solely to the medium. Kristen A. Shepherd is the Executive Director.
Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, until 8 p.m. on Thursday, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is only $5 after 5 p.m. on Thursday. Regular admission is $20 for adults, $15 for those 65 and older, Florida educators, college students, and military, $10 for students seven and older. 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 is open from 11 a.m. – 3p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. For more information, please call 727.896.2667 or visit mfastpete.org.