Friday, December 4, 2020

Ghosts of pelicans past

Betty Newman. PHOTOS BY JEANE BRENNAN

Betty Newman. PHOTOS BY JEANE BRENNAN

Have you heard the expression, If you can remember the sixties then you weren’t there ? Well I can remember the sixties and they were definitely not here. I arrived on Marco Island in 1967, and while it was breathtakingly beautiful it was somewhat of a cultural wasteland. Other parts of the country were practically exploding with brilliant innovations in art & music. Pop-Art, Op-Art, Rock & Roll and Jazz Fusion were challenging perceptions across the nation.

Not here. Here the Art Scene was pretty much limited to seagulls and sand dunes. And pelicans, pelicans everywhere, on canvas, on driftwood, on coasters & placemats, on tote bags &

Inez Hudson.

Inez Hudson.

towels, etched into glass and carved out of every imaginable material. (As a young artist-to-be, I vowed never-ever-never to paint a pelican and I’ve kept that vow.) There was no internet and New York and LA might just as well have been on the moon.

The Music Scene wasn’t much better. As I remember we had one nasty AM station; but occasionally, on clear winter nights, if you drove your car (or, hypothetically, a white Dodge van packed with other teenagers seeking a little stimulation) to the top of Indian Hill you could get WSHE from Ft Lauderdale. You laugh, but it was a big deal. It’s how

Artists Colony gallery at the Esplanade.

Artists Colony gallery at the Esplanade.

we learned that times they were a-changing; we just didn’t know exactly what that meant.

Change they did. I am awed by twenty-first century Collier County. We now have multiple foundations, leagues, councils and associations all dedicated to the Arts; we have a world-class museum and philharmonic; theater groups (we have theaters!), artist colonies, and over a hundred galleries promoting every genre under the stars. And we have what to me are the real stars: an untold number of independent artist studios. They are all around us, shiny little pockets of creativity producing original works in glass, paint, metal, ink, clay, textiles, scissors, paper, stone, and the all-encompassing

Mango-Season by Tara O’Neill. Submitted

Mango-Season by Tara O’Neill. Submitted

mixed-media. It’s these I’ll endeavor to uncover with hopes of letting them tell their own stories – with maybe a few interpretations of my own.

So that, in a nut, is the goal. I hope to tell you what’s being created where and by whom; and what’s showing when and why it just might be important. But I’ll need help, so if your making something, or showing something, or know someone who is, contact me through Coastal Breeze News. P.S. to those coastal-dwellers who were bravely making or dealing original Artworks here in the sixties, my apologies. You know who you are – and if you drop me a line we will, too.

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