Ceramic exhibit highlights Biscayne theme

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — As I was walking out of the art exhibit at Biscayne National Park, I heard a voice.

“Isn’t that neat stuff?” Laurie Householder, a park volunteer sitting behind the information desk at the Dante Fascell Visitor Center, said from across the room to me.  She was still amazed, just as I was, at the clay artwork I just observed.

“I just saw it today for the first time. I haven’t been here; I was like ‘wow!’”

Householder was referring to the Biscayne Clay art exhibit that went on display Sept. 14 and will continue to be shown until Nov. 25.

At right, “Snowy Egrets Fishing on the Bay” by Margie Culberton (Photos by Maleana Davis.) Below, “Vizcaina” by Krisse Pasternack. This piece was inspired by the Red mangrove tree in the park. BNPart1.

I had just seen all the beautiful pieces in the exhibit, which was being shown in the next room at the Visitor Center. Two pieces of artwork were right outside the door of the exhibit. One of the pieces included a clay sculpture of a blue bird titled “Blue Herron” made by Rick DeCamp.

All of the pieces were accompanied with an index card that had the name of the piece, the artist, and a little description or paragraph pertaining to the art.

“I truly enjoyed the entire process of being part of this exhibition. Biscayne National Park is one of my favorite places in South Florida and much of my work evolves from enjoying many years boating, snorkeling and fishing her waters,” said Anne Gorden-Vega, an artist whose work was featured in the exhibit.

BNPart2.I was amazed at all of the beautiful work I was able to see at Biscayne National Park. All of the artists are part of the Ceramic League of Miami and they created some really unique pieces.

“They’re awesome,” Householder said, referring to all of the clay artwork in the exhibit.

The first piece I see in the room is titled “Erosion” by Aimee Perez. On the index card, it says, “’Erosion’ is based on the role mangroves play as the first line of defense against hurricane erosion to our Florida shores.”

Householder said Gary Bremen, the ranger who is in charge of the exhibit, is always looking for people to showcase work that is based on the park.

“He tries to find artists and the artwork has to be about something that’s in the park and he’s had all kinds of artists,” she said.

She goes and grabs a book which features information about different artists who have artwork inspired by the park. She was really fascinated with a man who collects and makes art with the beach trash that he finds.

“The first time I ever came to this park, I came to see that guy’s stuff. It was so cool,” she said.

Actually, all of the clay artwork in the exhibit was really cool. One piece, called Vizcaina by Krisse Pasternack, looks something like a sea goddess with many tentacles, but it was actually inspired by the red mangrove tree.

Gorden-Vega organized the show with Bremen. She also attended the opening reception and said there was a great turnout of guests, as well as artists.

“The attendees were treated to live demonstrations from several of our artists, with one doing a figure sculpture and several others throwing pots on a wheel. I spoke to many park visitors from all over the world who seemed to truly enjoy the demonstrations and exhibit, along with art lovers that enjoy coming out to these events,” she said.

BNPart3. At left, “The Look” by Anne Gorden-Vega. This piece was sold for $700. Below, “Sandpiper at Biscayne National Park” by Diane M. Gonzalez. The price for this piece was $180.

Most of the pieces are available to be bought if any visitor wishes to do so. How visitors go about doing that, Householder said the process was simple enough.

“They all (the artists) belong to the Ceramic League of Miami and I suppose you contact them through that.”

The prices range from $120 all the way up to $1,650. The most expensive piece was the “Red Right Returning” by Martha Larmier, which was not at the exhibit anymore.

“From what I understand there was an unprecedented 3 pieces sold during the opening including one of my own,” said Gorden-Vega.

BNPart4.I was the only one at the Visitor Center looking at the exhibit. I didn’t expect a lot of people to be there in the middle of the week.

“We’re usually busier on the weekends,” Householder said. “During the winter though, we’ll be busy during the week too. A lot of people come and picnic [in the park.]”

There were a couple of people down by the water having a picnic and some more people were walking their dog. There was also someone sitting in his lawn chair reading a book.

“This is the on place in the south end of the country where you can come and look at the water for free, because at the park next door you have to pay,” said Householder.

Yet, just because they have a lot of visitors to the park, does not mean they come up to the Visitor Center.

“Saturdays and Sundays we have a lot of picnickers and a lot of them never even come up here,” Householder said, noting that was a shame few visitors see the exhibits and she said she believed it was mostly because people come to see the water and a lot of them do not even know the Visitor Center is there because it is on the second floor.

“Not all of them speak English. But we try to go out and be like, ‘Hey go up and come look at stuff,’” she continued.

Not only do they have the art exhibit, but the Visitor Center also shows informational movies, including one called the “Spectrum of Life.”

“[The movie] is an overview of the park and that is 11 minutes long,” Householder said.

The Visitor Center also features a museum that displays the four ecosystems of the park with descriptions, pictures, and models.

As I was leaving the visitor center, Householder was talking to a couple about snorkel trips.

“Hope to see you again,” she said as I was heading towards the door. I will definitely go back as I have learned so much about the beautiful Biscayne National Park.

“Don’t Sit Too Long” by Erica Shiraishi. The price for this piece was $400. BNPart5.


If You Go

Address: 9700 SW 328th St., Homestead, Fla. 33033.

Dante Fascell Visitor Center Hours: Open Daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is free.

Parking is free and the lot is right outside the Visitor Center.

Phone: 305–230–7275.

On line:

Directions: From the North: From the Florida Turnpike: Take the Florida Turnpike south, to Exit 6 which is Speedway Boulevard. Turn left off the exit and continue south to SW 328th Street. Turn left and continue to the end of the road. It is approximately five miles, and the entrance is on the left.  From the South: Driving on U.S. 1, drive north to Homestead. Turn right on SW 328th Street and continue to the end of the road. The entrance is approximately nine miles on the left.

Comments are Closed