Around 2006 I started to get more serious about what path my artwork would take me. I hired an art coach to help me decide upon a consistent theme to my artwork and what goals I wanted to achieve. I created a “bucket list” of what shows and places I wanted to display. The top of the list was to have a solo exhibition in the Florida State Capitol 22nd floor art gallery. The state capitol building is 22 stories tall with an observation deck on the top floor. This observation area also features an art gallery. The gallery features Florida artists in solo exhibitions that last usually three months in length and changes four times a year.

 

To exhibit in the Capitol gallery an artist has to go to the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and download an application from the Art in State Buildings link. There are five different requirements that are listed in order to apply. The artist has to have done at least three of the five. These include: providing a complete CV (Curriculum Vitae) or list of education, solo shows, group exhibitions, prizes won, etc. a solo showing in a museum, letters of recommendation, ten slides of your work in digital format, and more.

 

I decided that I wanted to submit as my body of work my “American Native series” featuring the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes of Florida. I had been working on this body of work off and on for the last fifteen years, but I still needed enough paintings that showed continuity in order to make a statement. To that end I worked for the last six years creating new works. After a lot of different attempts I finally created a unifying element that tied them all together: a stylized men’s Seminole jacket that also incorporated different design elements that related to the center panel in the wall hanging.

 

Vote Yes! for Harness Racing

My first painting in the style of a man’s Seminole Jacket: “Vote Yes! for Harness Racing”
It is now in the Florida Gulf Coast University Art in State Buildings Collection.

When I felt comfortable enough that I had enough paintings to show as a solo exhibition, I began the long process of filling in the check boxes in the application. One of the boxes required a solo exhibition in a museum. I was able to have an artist friend introduce me to the manager of the Marco Island Historical Museum. I met with her and the gift shop manager and showed them my portfolio. (iPads are a wonderful vehicle for showing artwork). They agreed to an exhibition which was shown in their gallery from October, 2012, through December, 2012.

 

Exhibition at the Marco Island Historical Museum

Exhibition at the Marco Island Historical Museum

 

I was able to use that body of work to apply to the Southwest Florida Museum of History. That show ran from October, 2013, through December, 2013. I added four more paintings to that show along with photos taken of me painting and creating a piece. I gave these to the Museum’s communications manager. Those photos ended up being used several times in regional newspaper articles about my show in the Naples Daily News and the cover of the weekend activity section of the Ft. Myers News-Press.

 

I then started the time consuming process of applying. I worked on the application off and on over the course of two weeks. Once I had it proofread and my artist statements were in order, I applied in June, 2013. After not hearing about the receipt of my bulky application packet I called the Division of Cultural Affairs Office—“Yes, they had received it and the jurying committee was meeting the following week.” How lucky was that? Often you have to wait several months to a year as most shows are booked two years in advance. I waited, and waited and waited.

 

Finally, I called again at the end of December, 2013—“Oh, didn’t I know I had been accepted to display from February 1, 2015 through April 30, 2015?”

 

A multi page exhibition contract was mailed to me right away which I initialed, signed and returned. I also had to submit a list of the proposed paintings in the exhibition for insurance purposes. To this list I added titles for three new paintings that I wanted to create (and finally only had time to get one piece completed due to other show commitments and commissions).

I was on my way!