First Thursday at Studios of Key West celebrates creative potential of wood

Sculptor Perry Arnold

Sculptor Perry Arnold

The Studios of Key West (533 Eaton St.) kicks off the monthlong “Tom Majors Tribute to Wood” from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, March 7. The island-wide celebration includes free exhibitions, lectures, demos and low-cost classes presented by artists and organizations throughout Key West.

Kicking-off the celebration is the March 7 reception and artist meet-and-greet for “With the Grain,” an exhibition in The Studios’ Sanger Gallery.

Curated by Helen Harrison with Fran Silverman, the show assembles some of the nation’s most accomplished wood artists in dialogue with local artists who are equally invested in the medium’s expressive potential.

“What is unique about wood as a material for making art, of course, is that it was once a living thing,” says Jed Dodds, executive director of The Studios. “In their various ways, the artists here all honor that connection, by working in concert with the wood’s specific properties, shaping it and giving it new life as something that speaks to the viewer.”

Dowel bowl by Mark Lindquist

Dowel bowl by Mark Lindquist

Galleries and event partners across Key West will also present wood-centered exhibitions in March, including a retrospective of Key West’s wood artists at Key West Art & Historical Society, a Mario Sanchez exhibition at Gallery on Greene, a show about the cigar industry at Florida Keys Council of the Arts’ Gato Building, a group exhibition at Lucky Street Gallery, a show of collected works by Helen Harrison at Harrison Gallery and an exhibition by Kerry Hoepner at Frangipani Gallery.

The public is also invited to several free talks throughout the month, including lectures at 2 p.m. March 7-10 at Gallery on Greene highlighting stories of traditional Key West folk art wood techniques.

The Studios will host a talk delving into the work of master wood artists Michael Bauermeister, David Ellsworth and Michael Peterson at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 9.

And at 2:30 p.m. Saturday,

March 16, a tour and talk about the history, techniques and materials used in house construction in the island’s heyday will be presented at the Oldest House.

“Morning Gossip,” Mario Sanchez

“Morning Gossip,” Mario Sanchez

An artist talk by Kristin Levier, an MITtrained molecular biologist who uses her scientific lens as a studio artist to uncover the depth and complexity of our world, closes out the month at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at The Studios.

Other featured events include:

¦ A “Wood & Strings” concert at Key West Garden Club at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19 ($5 for club members, $10 for others).

¦ The Save Our Pines annual picnic from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at Fort Zachary State Park.

¦ A demonstration by Jimmy Wray from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 9 ($30 for members, $40 for others) at his Stock Island studio.

¦ A champagne reception and unveiling of W. Perry Arnold’s “Olive Spirit,” a throne created from a stump of champion Black Olive felled by Hurricane Irma, at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden.

¦ A DIY cigar box guitar workshop with Mike “Katfish” Karash from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at The Studios ($150 for members, $170 for others).

¦ A Cuban “Yo-Yo” demonstration with Tom Noeker at his studio at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 16.

The “Tom Majors Tribute to Wood” is made possible by the Tom Majors Endowment for Wood Artists. For a complete list of events, exhibitions, demonstrations and lectures, visit ¦

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