Wednesday, May 1, 2019 6 – 8 PM Art Ovation Hotel
Remarks by Ringling College of Art and Design President Dr. Larry R. Thompson at 7 PM
Art Ovation Hotel and the Ringling College of Art and Design honor artist and instructor Leslie Lerner’s legacy in this exhibition curated by Francine Birbragher, PhD, featuring a selection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures by the late master, as well as works by six of his students: Michael Crabb, Tim Jaeger, Julie Kanapaux, Claudia Rya, Nancy Turner, and Shawn Pettersen.
Exhibition and all floors will be open to the public from 6 – 8 PM. Each floor is dedicated to one Ringling alum who studied with Leslie. 30 percent of the exhibited art sales at Art Ovation and 100 percent of sales of the “Leslie Lerner: Twenty Five Years” monograph go to support the Lerner-Thomas Scholarship.
To date $9000.00 has been raised toward arts scholarship through art sales at Art Ovation.
Leslie Lerner (1949-2005) began his artistic career in California in the 1960s, where he was influenced by San Francisco’s pop culture Hollywood’s stage sets. He became a sort of “visual writer” who depicted in his paintings the tales of an imaginary voyage titled “My Life in France.” His magnificent world was inhabited by his alter-egos “The Man with the Wooden Arm” and “The Poor Boy.” Through their illustrated stories, he was able to transport the viewers to fantastic places and share with them a beautifully depicted dreamlike world.
On September 10, 2005, Leslie Lerner passed away after a long illness. A Fine Arts faculty member for fifteen years at the Ringling School of Art and Design, in Sarasota, he taught and influenced many students who became distinguished artists in their own right. According to Michael Crabb, one of his pupils, “Leslie Lerner was a great instructor. He was the most passionate person I knew. He taught me probably the most about art and provoked my young mind in a unique way. He was dear to my heart.”
Michael Crabb’s paintings strive to capture shapes and forms through a variety of mark making and texture within a strong composition.
Tim Jaeger’s works are gestural constructions inspired by Florida’s symbols and imagery.
Julie Kanapaux’s unique fusion of graphics and fine art result in inspiring pieces that tie different physical spaces and experiences.
Claudia Ryan’s paintings are inspired by her own private world.
Nany Turner’s work stresses a critical view of women’s experiences, notably discrimination and violence.
Shawn Pettersen places animals in NASA based photographs to suggest a relationship between the epic yet detached historical loss and contemporary displacement.
Each artist has his or her purpose, style, and aesthetic language, and, like their mentor, they depict in a variety of medium the places, people, and stories, that move them. Through their participation in the exhibition, they acknowledge and honor Leslie Lerner’s legacy.
History of the Ringling College / Art Ovation Partnership
In 2018, Ringling College of Art and Design partnered with Art Ovation Hotel, an Autograph Collection Hotel which recently opened its doors in downtown Sarasota. Working through the Collaboratory, the arm of the College that connects talented students with local businesses, Ringling College works with the Hotel to infuse its public and private spaces with artwork from local artists, including Ringling College students, graduates, faculty, and staff, and create a microcosm of the thriving arts scene in the beachside town. The team announced its partnership in April 2018 with the exhibition LEGACY: An Exhibit by Ringling College of Art and Design Faculty and Alumni. The show included more than 50 works by 12 artists across media including paintings, photographs, video, installations, and sculptures.
How it works.
The hotel’s cultural curator, Lisa DiFranza, selects work for new installations in the hotel every four months. In addition to the first exhibition, LEGACY, the hotel opens a tribute exhibition to Leslie Lerner, a seasoned artist and former Fine Arts faculty member for 15 years at Ringling College on May 1. The exhibition honors his legacy with work by six of his students.
But the collaboration goes beyond artwork in the lobbies/galleries of the hotel. The visitor experience is shaped by the work of emerging artists and students of Ringling College. Since the two institutions came together, the students have inspired and informed the Hotel’s experience in the following ways:
· Business of Art & Design: Students of the College’s BOAD program worked with DiFranza while the Hotel was still under construction creating concepts for guest experiences and making suggestions for branding and marketing of the institution.
· Creative Writing: The students of this department worked with the Hotel to host a ‘Meet the Author’ event in the lobby and showcase the department’s Visiting Artists Forum.
· Illustration: The Illustration department held an event at the Hotel to celebrate its annual comic book, MEANWHILE, at which the public was invited to watch the students work in the Hotel’s Artist’s Studio and celebrate at the Lounge. This department also introduced Project Sketchbook, in which sketchbooks and pencils are placed in every guest room to encourage guests to get creative. The first page of each leather-bound notebook is filled with student artwork and designed to inspire more.
How it gives back.
The collaboration provides countless intangible benefits to the community and to the institutions involved: the guest experiences, professional opportunities for students and alumni, and enhanced cultural offerings for Art Ovation. Guests of the hotel are also invited to Ringling College campus to visit the on-campus Galleries and their openings, lectures, and events.
However, the partnership also delivers to the community and to artists and students in a measurable way. In fact, 100% of the proceeds from sales of Ringling College-Art Ovation exhibitions support Ringling College scholarships. To date, $9000.00 has been raised toward arts scholarship through art sales at Art Ovation.