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Artport Gallery

Amid the comings and goings of Tallahassee International Airport, there is an oasis of art known as the Artport Gallery. 

Serving as a cultural gateway to Florida’s capital city, this space highlights the work of local artists and captures the imagination of travelers and citizens alike.

For more than twenty years, COCA has been proud to manage and curate the gallery as part of the City of Tallahassee’s Art in Public Places program. The Artport Gallery exhibits the work of established local and regional artists in all media, primarily through solo or two-person shows which are on display for six to eight weeks.

On Now

The Council on Culture & Arts presents

A Symbolic Transformation: Artworks by April Fitzpatrick

on display at the Artport Gallery and COCA’s Online Gallery

March 30 – June 13, 2022

Location

Tallahassee International Airport
3300 Capital Circle SW
Hours: Daily 8 am-11:30 pm
Free and open to the public
The first 30 minutes of parking is free
All artwork is for sale unless otherwise marked.

*To comply with current health and safety practices, all gallery goers must be masked while in the building and practice social distancing.

As an artist and board certified art therapist, April Fitzpatrick is uniquely suited to exploring the therapeutic effect of creating. As a Black woman, she is personally invested in helping heal race-based traumatic stress. Her artistry marries contemporary abstraction with experimental narrative to produce paintings and mixed media collages that capture the layered realities of Blackness, racial trauma, identity development, and oppression.

Using symbols, such as the pineapple, her work evokes deeply seated memories and emotions. Once a rarity reserved for the rich, the pineapple has historically signified wealth and power. Fitzpatrick uses the fruit to represent the luxurious lifestyle of European slave owners juxtaposed against a less examined narrative that positions the pineapple as a global commodity that fueled colonialism and the movement of millions of African and Indigenous people.

Known as a ‘collective fruit,’ the pineapple is made of 200 flowers fused together to form one berry. Though memory is not perfect, collectively, it influences our perception and behaviors. Fitzpatrick uses the collective nature of the pineapple throughout her work to empower viewers to reframe their memories and reclaim their narrative, mirroring the ultimate mission of a client-therapist relationship.

More than 30 pieces of artwork are on display in this exhibition and each one is layered with a variety of media including acrylic paint, oil pastels, fabric, found objects, modeling paste, and socio-cultural collage images to produce a bold sensory language that strives to balance the fantasies of liberation, hope, and a sense of belonging.

“My goal is to keep the eyes moving and the mind questioning as this replicates what I witness within my practice as an art therapist,” said Fitzpatrick. “My art is an invitation and catalyst for conversation, inspiration, and education in an effort to challenge old perspectives and reimagine future possibilities of arts’ role in mental wellness.”

Fitzpatrick’s work has been featured in Black Minds Mag: Issue 2 and ART4EQUALITY x LIFE, LIBERTY, PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS Exhibition Catalog. Her work has been exhibited nationally and was featured in Forbes magazine. Currently, April manages an art therapy program in Tallahassee and is committed to using art to create a sense of place for members of the local community.

With a background in psychology, an unconventional experience in art therapy, and commitment to visual artistry, April Fitzpatrick has given much attention to the mental health crisis in communities stricken with poverty and crime. Serving as a facilitator for trauma-focused workshops, working as a teaching artist, and navigating the community as a visual artist has afforded April the opportunity to see trauma from several perspectives. Harnessing her knowledge and skills in creative execution, relationship building, community connection, and innovation, April brings the pineapple to the table to explore our inner core with her initiative Pineapples with Purpose.

Using the symbolism of the pineapple, April developed a risk free and fail free art curriculum that focuses on reimagining the addressing of trauma and mental health through interactive and engaging means utilizing a pineapple’s own growth and journey as a metaphor.  The fruit is uniquely used to advocate for cultured perspectives when addressing mental health and history among marginalized communities, provide and engage “art as therapy” with middle to college age students and their families, and foster positive memory as a buffer among communities facing collective trauma to increase healthy socio-emotional adjustment.

April believes we can use art as a community effort to turn pain into purpose, find beauty in our brokenness, and welcome tough conversations.

The works can be seen until June 13, 2022 in person at the Artport Gallery or virtually in COCA’s Online Gallery at cocaonlinegallery.zenfolio.com. This is one of many rotating exhibitions curated by the Council on Culture & Arts on behalf of the City of Tallahassee as part of the Art in Public Places program. The Artport Gallery itself is located in the Tallahassee International Airport, 3300 Capital Circle SW, and is open daily from 8:00 am until 11:30 pm. The first 30 minutes of parking is free for both the short-term parking lot.

For more information about COCA, this program, or to sign up to receive COCA’s email blasts visit coca.tallahasseearts.org. For a schedule of other exhibitions and arts and culture programs throughout north Florida, visit tallahasseearts.org.

Special thanks to COCA extern Shena Kamata for her help with this exhibition.

Up NeXt...

The Council on Culture & Arts presents

Looking on the Bright Side: Artworks by Sara Lea Miller

on display at the Artport Gallery and COCA’s Online Gallery

 June 15 – August 22, 2022

Two years ago, the world went into lockdown. As the pandemic loomed, many stocked up on disinfectant, masks, and hand sanitizer. Sara Lea Miller added a few other essentials to her shopping list including paint, canvas, and brushes. Though she had never created art before, March of 2020 seemed to her like a good time to start.

“I have taken art history classes, traveled to Europe to see amazing art in college, collected art as an adult and it still took me until I was over 50 years old to start painting,” Miller said.

Without the constraints of tradition or training, Miller explored a variety of media such as acrylic, oil stick, chalk, and more. She developed a self-taught process and builds layer upon layer to her canvases to create luminous depth of color. She often adds splatters that bleed across the surface for dynamic effect and drags lines of oil sticks, pastels, chalk, and charcoal to add movement and contrast.   

Miller often works on the floor of her home studio and makes use of unconventional tools such as kitchen scrubbers and yoga mats. She even uses a shop broom as a giant paint brush. While delighting in the unpredictability of the materials, Miller embraces the spontaneity that comes with a process-oriented approach to art making. The result are compositions and color combinations that are unexpected, approachable, and joyful.

Thirty of her artworks are on display in this exhibition and they can be seen from June 15 – August 22, 2022 in person at the Artport Gallery or virtually in COCA’s Online Gallery at cocaonlinegallery.zenfolio.com.

Click here to register for an Artist Talk on July 15 at 12:00pm to learn more about the artist, her background, creative process, artworks, and all the things that inspire her.

Special thanks to COCA extern Shena Kamata for her help with this exhibition.from