A community outreach project starring 315 artistic canvases forming a “patchwork quilt” is on the move. Traveling throughout the Florida Keys in a united celebration of Keys connection, the Connections Project: a Mosaic of the Keys is currently set up in Marathon in the Middle Keys for the next five days before moving to Islamorada. The six-by-six-inch artworks were created by Monroe County residents, some of whom are professional artists.
The canvases are hung together in a 24-foot mural which is to travel from Key Largo to Key West over a five-week period. Opening March 6 in Key Largo, the Mosaic of the Keys may be seen up until Friday, April 5. The final destination is the Gato Building at 1100 Simonton Street in Key West.
Each of six different displays offers a reception from 6- 8 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and beverages.
The individual creative squares reflect the Florida Keys community and its visions of paradise. All art media from photography, fabric, collage and paints were possible decorations. Workshops staffed by volunteers, many of whom provided art materials, were held throughout the Keys in February to encourage the widest possible participation in the projects.
In the Upper Keys, many members of the Art Guild of the Purple Isles painted a mosaic as did County Commissioner Sylvia Murphy of Key Largo. “I agreed to participate because it’s something I’ve never done,” said Murphy. “I’ve never painted a picture in my life. Liz Young of the arts council convinced me that I should give it a try, so I did.”
The Ocean Reef Art League, the Keys’ northernmost community, joined in the fun as well, making the connections project a true representation of all of the Florida Keys.
Members of the public, residents and visitors are encouraged to come to the receptions and purchase a mosaic. Modeled after the longstanding and successful Door County, Wisconsin mosaic project, $30 reserves one of the artworks, which is awarded through a blind buy system. That is, the patrons will not know which mosaic they will receive nor may they choose the one they want. A randomly-selected number system assigns the buyer an original artwork which will be delivered by mail in April. Canvases may be purchased at each reception or at the Council of the Arts office: 305-295-4369, email@example.com or visit www.keysarts.com.
Remaining Mosaic viewing locations are March 11-15 at Royal Furniture (a sponsor of the project) in Marathon; March 16-21 at the Islamorada Morada Way Arts District and Third Thursday Walkabout; March 22-25 at Artists in Paradise on Big Pine Key; and March 26-30 at Royal Furniture in Key West. Receptions at the above locations are March 14 in Marathon, March 21 in Islamorada, March 23 in Big Pine, and March 30 and April 5 in Key West.
Council of the Arts board member Cris Sandifer said this Connections Project is one of several community outreach projects created and overseen by the arts council. Art Reach, Artists in Schools, Key West Writers Guild Award, and the Tropic Cinema “Leader” Project are others. “None of this great arts support could be done without membership in the art council,” said Sandifer. “Please consider joining the official Florida Keys arts council with your yearly membership dues.”