The 2015 9th annual “artsHOP” welcomes all for island-wide appreciation of local arts, theater and music November 13 – 15th. The three cities of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton Beach host special events, displays, and promotions to attract attention to the island’s cultural offerings.
Pine Avenue has been receiving a lot of local attention as the Pine Avenue Development Group has brought new businesses to this main street of Anna Maria City. Although the businesses are new, the intention of the developers is to preserve the feeling of Old Florida as well as the integrity of the business district, which was at risk of being converted to newly constructed rental housing units.
Meanwhile, there are a few places on Pine Avenue that are truly historical, and most obvious is Roser Memorial Community Church. Now celebrating its 100th year, this beautiful institution continues to serve the community in ways that reach beyond denominations and even beyond church affiliation of any kind.
Music being presented at the church in this season’s concert series is sublime, regardless of one’s beliefs. The first performance, on January 20, featured pianist Davide Cabassi, a finalist in the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. A fine Steinway concert grand piano was rented by the church and, in its elevated position, could be easily seen by the audience, which filled all the pews. The acoustics were impressive.
Mr. Cabassi opened his program with Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major, K. 331. A long first movement of a lyrical theme and variations introduced the audience to the brilliant sound of an excellent instrument, as well as to the performer’s expertise. The audience displayed its own expertise as listeners, by not applauding after the first movement, as uneducated audiences have been known to do even in places supposedly much more sophisticated than Anna Maria. After another gentle movement, a Menuetto, the intensity finally started to pick up in the third movement, Allegretto, “Alla Turca.”
Original art by Maro Lorimer is on display at The Studio on Gulf and Pine this month from July 14 to
August 14 September 1, 2012. The selection of pieces are from new and recent works in acrylic on canvas by the artist.
The solo show is presented as “Water and Trees” and is a collection of themes including impressions of tree-lined waterfronts, alluring shorelines, and rich tropical scenes. The series expands on prior works that focused on water only and also distant views of shores.
A striking diptych is of Anna Maria Island from offshore, with deep blue water and sandy shore. Other pieces do not represent specific locations but are suggestive of local, Florida or indeed international vistas.
More abstract presentations are included in the exhibition that challenge the mind to think beyond the literal. The blending of real and fantastic scenes draw the observer in to the perspective of near, far and infinite.
A Rare Opportunity to See an Anna Maria Artist’s Significant Body of Work
(Update: Helen passed away January 27, 2015 at her Anna Maria home.)
Anna Maria Island prides itself on its art community, which holds frequent exhibits and fairs at various venues. But not all of the island’s artists focus on showing their work. Some are more involved in their inner journey, and their painting process, without allowing the requirements of showing and selling their work to influence these priorities. The result can be work that has a great deal of integrity, and personal meaning.
Such is the case with Anna Maria artist Helen Romeike-Wisniewski, who, at 87, is still involved in her paintings every day. Her body of work is substantial, spanning the past six decades. Much of it never has been shown.
The opening of a large exhibit of her paintings, at the Palmetto Art Center (PAC) on Saturday, March 3, [ed. 2012] from 5 to 8 pm, promises to be an unusually interesting event. This relatively new art gallery and community center is a beautiful location for the serious presentation of art. The entire facility is being dedicated to the best possible presentation of Romeike-Wisniewski’s bold abstract paintings. The pieces to be shown have been selected by PAC director Gretchen LeClezio and the artist, to represent her work from various eras, including her time in Germany, in Austin, Texas, and on Anna Maria Island. Very large works on unstretched canvas will be hung, as well as more recent geometrical abstract acrylic paintings on paper, most of them unframed. The pieces are so strong that the frame is not missed. There will be some framed pieces, including an intriguing ink portrait of the artist’s brother, whom she credits with suggesting she enter the field of art.
“Hocus-Pocus” is how Helen Romeike-Wisniewski describes her work. “Now you see it, now you don’t,” she explains in her artist statement (shown in full, below). “We get glimpses of what’s out there or glimpses of what’s within…” The richness of both her inner and outer life are evident in this stunning exhibition spanning six decades of her journey to self knowledge through painting.
Helen Romeike-Wisniewski’s roots on Anna Maria Island run deep. Her parents, German immigrants, built the 1950s island home where she currently resides and still spends time creating. Her life, much like her canvas, is rich in experiences. Helen grew up in a family that followed her father’s petroleum engineering work assignments. During her married life, Helen continued to move often, this time following her then-husband’s military assignments. In the years after, Romeike-Wisniewski’s independent streak became as vibrant as the colors reflected in many of her paintings.
The Anna Maria Island Art League held its twenty-fourth Winterfest Festival of Fine Arts and Fine Crafts on Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11, 2011, at City Hall Park in Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island. The quality of this show had been raised to very high levels in recent years by Art League director Joyce Karp, who stepped down this year. Still, many of the same excellent artists from all around the country were glad to return. Applicants were juried into the show, and then juried for awards by Dr. Barbara Grazul Hubbard, and artist, arts educator and university professor.
One hundred and five artists displayed work in media including ceramics, fiber and paper, glass, pastels, jewelry, metal, mixed media, oils and acrylics, photography, sculpture, watercolors and wood. Prices were extremely reasonable, and some excellent Christmas shopping opportunities were taken advantage of by hundreds of visitors.
Meanwhile, live music entertained those taking a break to relax or enjoy the food court. On Saturday, the Anna Maria String Band was followed by State Road 64 and then the Gumbo Boogie Band. The music line-up for Sunday started with the Bontrager Sisters, followed by the Anderson Brothers and The Two Howards, Koko Ray, and the Gumbo Boogie Band.