Inside the DCA: An Intern’s Perspective

by Bob Evans

Bob Evans, former intern and current staff member.

Bob Evans, former intern and current staff member at the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.

I have this theory. The kids who dream about growing up and becoming astronauts, ballerinas, or other such fantastic professions usually end up as accountants or telecommunications network engineers. Not to say that those aren’t fantastic jobs, but to the average American eight-year-old, it’s much more accessible to imagine space or the stage. But the kids who shoot for, say, architecture or constitutional law might end up being astronauts, ballerinas, or…arts administrators?

Ok, it’s a little trite, as far as theories go.

All this to say I never would have pictured myself as a musician, let alone an arts administrator, let alone working for Florida’s state arts agency. I moved to Tallahassee to pursue an arts administration degree in the Florida State University’s College of Music, and, along the way, I somehow impressed someone enough to be invited to join the Division of Cultural Affairs as an intern.

I’ll be the first to admit to pretending I know more about the various branches and tendrils of state and local government than I actually do (with apologies to my dear, sweet, high school AP Government teacher). I understood that a state arts agency was typically a grant-making organization, but I had no clue how it functioned under the purview of state government. After seven months here at the DCA, I can assuredly say that it is just as complicated as expected but more wonderful than I could have imagined.

My duties include running for coffee, picking up dry cleaning, driving people to the airport…no, that’s wrong! All throughout my internship, I’ve been treated like a staff member, and given just as many responsibilities. I’ve worked with the Florida Artists Hall of Fame and seen firsthand the wealth of artists that promote and preserve Florida’s culture. I’ve helped organize Florida’s Poetry Out Loud contest, under the guidance of the recently retired Ken Crawford. This program, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, encourages high school students to memorize and recite poetry by truly great poets. These students learn how to perform on stage, and by memorizing a poem, they internalize it, which is such an under-appreciated skill in today’s world of instant access. Along with my brilliant colleague Tim Storhoff, I co-author a monthly review of arts and culture events in Florida, titled “Culture in Florida” after the motto “Culture Builds Florida,” which we post at the end of each month on this very blog (shameless plug: check out March).

Florida Division of Cultural Affairs staff members in front of the Brokaw-McDougall House on Halloween.

Florida Division of Cultural Affairs staff members in front of the Brokaw-McDougall House on Halloween.

By far, the most heartening part of the job is reviewing reports where an individual or organization has received a grant of just a few thousand dollars and created inventive programming that is not only artistically resonant but engaging to a community. In those moments, when I realize what we’re doing at the DCA is directly impacting someone’s quality of life, I’m sure that this is what it’s all about. That’s the it.

Recently, due to my keenly honed ability to be in the right place at the right time, I was offered a part-time position working with Individual Artist Fellowships here at the Division. I can’t believe my luck! I’m getting paid to do what I love, and this blog post gets a happy ending after all.

Spotlight On: “La Florida,” The Florida Artists Hall of Fame sculpture

by Tim Storhoff

Induction into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed upon creative individuals by the state of Florida. When three artists are inducted into the Hall of Fame on March 20, they will have a plaque in their honor added to the Florida Artists Hall of Fame Wall on the Plaza Level in the rotunda of the Capitol Building and receive a sculpture of La Florida by Florida sculptor Enzo Torcoletti.

Enzo Torcoletti with his most recent "La Florida" sculptures. Photo taken and used by permission of Tim Storhoff.

Enzo Torcoletti with his most recent “La Florida” sculptures. Photo taken by Tim Storhoff.

The state legislature established the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 1986 and sought someone to produce the award that would be given to inductees. The following year, Mr. Torcoletti was contacted about the project and began working on potential designs for the sculpture.

Enzo Torcoletti was born in Italy and began studying art there before moving to Canada. He received a B.A. in English literature in 1968 and a B.F.A. in sculpture and printmaking in 1969 from the University of Windsor. He then came to Florida to continue his studies, and in 1971 received his M.F.A. in sculpture from Florida State University. He then taught sculpture, drawing, and art history at Flagler College in St. Augustine for years, and is now an Emeritus Professor. For the last forty years, Enzo has actively produced sculptures for exhibits and commissions.  His work has been shown extensively and is included in numerous private and public collections in Florida, across the U.S., and abroad. He now splits his time between his homes in Florida and Tuscany.

When he was selected to make the sculpture that would be given to Florida Artists Hall of Fame inductees, he began making sketches followed by more in-depth drawings. In coming up with his concept, he decided that it should be something unique to Florida. He wanted it to be semi-abstract but incorporate the female form, because when Juan Ponce de León named the land he used the feminine word La Florida. The feminine form is also representative of the Muses that according to Greek myth provide inspiration for the arts.

A preliminary drawing for a sculpture by Enzo Torcoletti. Photo by Tim Storhoff.

A preliminary drawing for a sculpture by Enzo Torcoletti. Photo by Tim Storhoff.

"La Florida," the Florida Artists Hall of Fame sculpture by Enzo Torcoletti.

“La Florida,” the Florida Artists Hall of Fame sculpture by Enzo Torcoletti. Photo courtesy of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.

Enzo also wanted it to evoke the water and beaches associated with our state, so he chose to include elements of waves and to make it look partly like skeleton of a shell you might find after a storm. The spiral at the top of the sculpture, when viewed from above, is  like the eye of a storm during a hurricane. Enzo carved the initial model for the sculpture out of wax and then created a rubber mold before the final bronze casting using the lost-wax method. The base is made of Florida limestone resulting in a heavy and substantial award given to inductees. The original maquette prototype is on display in the Twenty-Second Floor Capitol Gallery in Tallahassee.

All of Florida’s artists contribute to our vibrant and diverse communities and show that this is a special place to live and work. We are pleased to honor those who have made the greatest contributions to the arts in Florida with this beautiful sculpture. The 2013 inductions to the Florida Artists Hall of Fame will take place during the Florida Heritage Month Awards on March 20. The award ceremony will take place in Tallahassee at Mission San Luis, Florida’s Apalachee-Spanish Living History Museum. This year’s Hall of Fame inductees include performer Gloria Estefan, singer/songwriter Frank Thomas, and painter Laura Woodward. This will make fifty-five artists who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since the first ceremony in 1987. Other awards to be presented at Mission San Luis include the Florida Folk Heritage Awards, the Secretary of State’s Historic Preservation Awards, and the Florida Book Awards. To learn more about Florida Heritage Month, please visit

To learn more about the lost-wax method of creating a bronze sculpture, check out this video from artist Brian Owens who used it to create the St. Augustine Foot Soldiers monument:

Spotlight on the Florida Artists Hall of Fame nominees, Part III

By Tim Storhoff and Ken Crawford

Today we are finishing our look at the nominees for the 2013 Florida Artists Hall of Fame. Earlier this week we looked at the 2013 musical nominees and visual arts nominees. Established by the Florida Legislature in 1986, the Florida Artists Hall of Fame recognizes persons, living or deceased, who have made significant contributions to the arts in Florida either as performing or practicing artists in their disciplines. These individuals contribute to Florida’s national or international reputation as a state with a sustained commitment to the development of cultural excellence. The Florida Artists Hall of Fame currently consists of over 30 inductees, including musician and performer Ray Charles, actor and director Burt Reynolds, writers Zora Neale Hurston, Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway, filmmaker Victor Nunez, and visual artists Duane Hanson, Robert Rauschenberg and James Rosenquist. Read more about the program, nominating process, and view the full list of inductees at the Division of Cultural Affairs Florida Artists Hall of Fame page.

Here are the final six nominees for this year:

Gloria Jahoda: Writer – Tallahassee (1927-1980)
The author of novels and non-fiction works set in the early 20th Century in North Florida, including The River of The Golden Ibis, The Road to Samarkand, and Florida: A Bicentennial History,  was, according to her nominator Robert Holladay,“…a gifted writer, reporter and trained anthropologist with the soul of a poet.” She was often referred to as the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas of North Florida, since her work sought to celebrate and protect the wildlife and natural environment of this region. Her stories of the people of the Big Bend capture a moment in the natural history of the Gulf Coast.  Senator Bob Graham heralded her work in a state proclamation. When she died, the Florida Muscogee Creek Nation scattered her ashes in a ceremony normally reserved for Native Americans. Ms. Jahoda’s complete collection of writings, letters and research are contained in a collection at the Strozier Library at Florida State University. Her most well-known book, The Other Florida, pre-dates works that were published later by other writers, calling for environmental conservation and expressing a close connection to the land and waters of Florida.

Alexander Key: Writer/Illustrator – Apalachicola (1904-1979)
A nationally-known book and magazine illustrator, Alexander Key’s books set in North Florida celebrate the sensibilities of small towns along the Suwannee River and the Gulf Coast, particularly Apalachicola. He sold stories to the Saturday Evening Post and Colliers before beginning to write books. Mr. Key was inspired by local Apalachicola landmarks; weaving tales of local lore into books such as Island Light, The Wrath and the Wind, Suwannee River: Strange Green Land, and other novels. These were well-known by readers interested in stories written in a mythic style with a sense of folk history and inquiry into the natural world. He also wrote young adult science fiction and children’s books after he married and had children, including The Forgotten Door, and his popular Escape to Witch Mountain, which was made into a Walt Disney film in 1975, 1995, and again in 2009.

Adelia Malouf Samaha: Mixed Media – St. Petersburg (1929- )
A painter, multi-media expressionist and fabric artist, Adelia Malouf Samaha’s distinctive floral art in a variety of media have become widely known, as have her portraits in oil of prominent cultural figures in the state, including former Governor Charlie Crist. Her choice of media for floral compositions and special commissions has also included pastels, watercolors, pottery, silk screening and stained glass. She is a major supporter of the St. Petersburg Museum of Arts, teaches volunteer art classes in the Pinellas County Schools, and gives art instruction to disadvantaged young students at neighborhood centers throughout the county. Ms. Samaha is celebrated for her support of numerous charities. She donates work to many organizations and local causes. She and her husband have restored two historic buildings, one of which is listed on the St. Petersburg Historic Buildings List.

O.L. Samuels with Dana (carved wood, 2007)

O. L. Samuels:
Folk Artist/Sculptor – Tallahassee (1931- )
The Reverend O.L. Samuels is a well-known folk artist, largely untrained and unlettered, who began his life as a laborer, became a middle-weight boxer, and then pastor of two churches, before following his dream to become an artist while continuing to preach. His work: unusual wood carvings with a highly colorful ornamental and emotional content, has been much appreciated since he began creating those sculptural pieces in 1983. Rev. Samuels’ art is now widely collected in folk art museums, galleries and in many private international collections. These include the Smithsonian’s African-American Art Museum, the Harriet Tubman Museum, and the White House Collection. His life and work have also been documented in dissertations, films, and published works on the subject of American Folk Art. You can find his website at

Mario Sanchez: Folk Artist/Sculptor – Key West (1908-2005)
Florida Folk Heritage 1991 Award Winner Mario Sanchez was a self-taught folk artist who documented his community’s cultural history in street scenes of the Key West and Ybor City Cuban populace which he witnessed for 96 years and characterized in imaginative painted carvings, paintings and drawings. One of his works was chosen by the Department of State as the image to celebrate Florida’s sesquicentennial in 1995. Mr. Sanchez is the subject of books, documentary films, television programs, and many research articles. His work is exhibited in many important collections. In his 75-year career, Mr. Sanchez produced over 600 works. In 2002, the American Museum of Folk Art recognized him as “the greatest living Cuban-American folk artist.” He was a man of the people and the neighborhood. He could always be found outdoors in his garden “studio,” greeting those who passed by as he worked, and sharing memories of early times as he placed these same images into his art. You can view some of his works and read more about him at the Key West Art and Historical Society page.

Buell Lee Whitehead: Printmaker/Lithographer – Fort Myers (1919-1994)
The artist Buell Lee Whitehead grew up in rural Fort Myers when that area was still the backwoods in the 1920s and 1930s. Cutting firewood for the money to go to college, he entered the University of Florida in 1938, and, following war service, graduated with one of the first Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees. His early work attracted so much attention that the University commissioned him to do the official portrait of the dean of the school. As an inspired painter, printmaker, lithographer and engraver, he lived most of his live in Southwest Florida; choosing the subjects of his stylized works from familiar surroundings. His art chronicles early 20th Century landscapes and community lifestyles from the perspective of the beginning citrus, sugar, timber and fishing industries of that area. Later, he was the first Florida artist who travelled the U.S. selling original lithographs from a press mounted on a flatbed truck that traveled with him. Whitehead was one of the nation’s earliest well-known printmakers. You can read more about Whitehead in Ronald Newsom’s book Buell Lee Whitehead: A True Southern Treasure or at

The 2013 inductees to the Florida Artists Hall of Fame will be announced later this year, and they will be inducted on March 20, 2013 during the Florida Heritage Awards in Tallahassee. We encourage you to visit the Florida Artists Hall of Fame wall on the plaza level in the rotunda of the Florida Capitol Building.

Spotlight on the Florida Artists Hall of Fame nominees, Part II

By Tim Storhoff and Ken Crawford

Yesterday on the Culture Builds Florida blog we spotlighted 2013’s musical nominees for the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. Today we will be featuring our visual arts nominees, who represent a variety of styles and backgrounds. Their work is exhibited throughout Florida and beyond. We encourage you to seek out their work and view it for yourself. In March it might be one of the following painters, photographers or sculptors who is awarded “La Florida” and added to the wall of the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in the Capitol.

The sculpture “La Florida” was created by Enzo Torcoletti and is awarded to all Florida Artists Hall of Fame inductees. This photo is from Robert C. Broward’s induction last year.

Romero Britto: Painter – Miami (1963- )
Romero Britto is a world-renowned Brazilian-American Neo-Pop artist, painter, serigrapher, and sculptor. He has lived in Miami since 1989. He combines elements of cubism, pop art and graffiti painting in his work, attracting collaborations with many corporate brands. His art has been exhibited in galleries and museums in over 100 countries. An outspoken and energetic philanthropist, Mr. Britto often serves as a benefactor to many varied causes. He has donated art and resources to over 250 charitable organizations. He serves on several boards of directors, including Best Buddies International, and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. He was recently named a founding inaugural benefactor of Harvard’s International Negotiation Program for peaceful conflict resolution. His desire to use his art to bring the international community together in peace informs his life. Mr. Britto has spoken about art and humanity at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and at many schools and institutions. His website can be found at

Scherley Busch: Photographer – Coconut Grove (1945- )
Ms. Scherley Busch is one of Florida’s most respected photographers and photographic portrait artists, with exhibitions statewide and work held in private and public collections. Her work is published nationally in books and magazines. The artist is also known for unique photographic interpretations of landscapes through her hand-tinted “Dreamscapes” of Florida scenes. She is particularly appreciated for images documenting the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame and photographs of many of the state’s women of achievement.  Her artistic portraits of prominent Florida artists and leaders in many fields are widely appreciated. They celebrate the essence of extraordinary people who have transcended difficult boundaries in their lives to achieve success in arts, government, business and philanthropic endeavors. Ms. Busch often gives of her time to instruct young artists in her photographic technique, which seeks to find the subject in time and space in order to document the image at its most profound moment. You can visit her website at

Jennifer Chaparro creating a piece of chalk art. Photo by Craig C. Houdeshell. Image courtesy/used by permission of Jennifer Chaparro.

Jennifer Chaparro: Pastel Chalk Artist – N. Palm Beach (1962- )
Jennifer Nichols was born into an artistic family in Michigan and grew up in California before moving to Ohio. She pursued degrees and experience in painting and design while working in advertising and raising her two daughters. In Ohio, Ms. Chaparro served the Dayton Visual Arts Center, serving as their president and as a board member and contributing artist. In 1999, she moved to North Palm Beach with her daughters, and began participating in the Street Painting Festival at Lake Worth, the largest street painting event in the United States. This event launched Ms. Chaparro’s art career. She specializes in large 10′ x 10′ works, usually featuring the relationship between women and children. Now a well-known participant in the European street painter tradition, she received her Semplice Professional Certification in 2009, her Qualificato Certification in 2010, and her Maestro Certification in 2011. She frequently supports local community events with her participation. Learn more about her street painting and chalk art at

“Mystic Road Odessa, Florida” by Gregory Colvin. Image courtesy/used by permission of Gregory Colvin.

Greg Colvin: Photographer – Odessa (1954- )
Greg Colvin is a photographer-artist whose inspiration is found in the natural world. He uses the camera as a paintbrush, “…recreating visual sensations to share with others.” Mr. Colvin spends much of his time teaching others; also publishing many instructional articles. His images have been shown in galleries, juried exhibitions, outdoor art shows, schools and libraries. His work is included in the Tampa General Hospital permanent collection and Hilton Hotels. He was admitted into the Naples Museum of Art “Florida Contemporary Exhibit” in 2009. This year, he was commissioned by the federal government’s FCCPAC Art Project to create seven pieces for a new public building in downtown Orlando. He was also recently accepted into the Manhattan Arts International “Celebrating the Healing Power of Arts” juried exhibition in New York City. You can see more examples of his many photographs at his personal website.

Bruce Harold Cook: Painter/Mixed Media – Live Oak (1955- )
Visual artist Bruce Harold Cook creates colorful sculptures of native wildlife and whimsical outdoor scenes using natural materials, including wood and glass, which represent his vision of the ecological balance of Florida. His work is represented in Florida State Parks visitor centers, in galleries and private collections, and in public and corporate buildings. Mr. Cook is a frequent volunteer at many community art events. He has a particular interest in art therapy, devoting his time to serving the communities of vocational rehabilitation, juvenile justice, Hospice, and the Hibiscus Children’s Foundation. He is a five-year member teaching artist of the VSA Florida program for adults with disabilities. Mr. Cook pursues every occasion to help those with disabilities to use the arts as he does—as a positive way to overcome personal limitations.

Janet N. Heaton: Painter/Arts Advocate – West Palm Beach (1936- )
A visual artist known for her vivid connection to the inspirations of Nature, Ms. Heaton’s acclaimed watercolors and oils have won numerous awards and have appeared in many national and international shows and galleries. Her Florida landscapes and animal paintings hang in public and private collections, and have been featured at museums around the United States and the world. She has worked to gain wider recognition for Florida’s animal artists, gathering those artists in exhibits to express concern and raise funds for endangered Florida wildlife. Ms. Heaton is known for giving much of her time and artwork to advance the missions of community organizations such as the Friends of John D. MacArthur State Park, Palm Beach County Nature Foundation, Florida Watercolor Society, and the Society of Animal Artists. Ms. Neaton’s website can be found at

Ralph N. Hurst: Sculptor – Tallahassee (1918-2003)
As a renowned fine arts teaching professor at the Florida State University for 27 years, Ralph Hurst found great joy in assisting young artists develop their talents. Highlighting his esteemed FSU career were faculty grants allowing him to have a studio at the campus in Florence, Italy to continue his sculptural carving in alabaster and marble. The creator of thousands of artworks in his lifetime, his contributions to the arts community of Tallahassee continue to play a major role in the education of future artists. He and his wife established the Ralph and Jean Hurst Art Collection at Tallahassee Community College. The gallery serves as a permanent education tool for students at the college. The artist also played a vital role in founding the LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts. His commissioned works can be seen at the Claude Pepper Center. Hurst’s sculptures and multimedia works are exhibited internationally, and in many museums and major galleries, including the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, Florida Craftsmen in St. Petersburg, the Harmon Gallery in Naples, the High Museum in Atlanta, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. At you can view an interactive version of the Ralph Hurst Gallery at Tallahassee Community College.

Richard Kelly: Painter – Vero Beach (1951- )
A popular and award-winning oil painter of images of the Indian River Lagoon and natural Florida scenes, Mr. Kelly was a student of landscape artist A. E. “Bean” Backus. He is a retired Fort Pierce firefighter, with a penchant for using art as a vehicle to compel people to better understand and respect the ecological environment of the Treasure Coast Region where he lives. His book, Treasured Waters, illuminates the beauty and history of the Indian River area. He frequently donates his time to teach art to seniors and young art students, and lends support to many local community efforts to preserve the natural environment. In 2007, he received the Florida Senate Medallion of Excellence commemorating his artistic visions of Florida’s natural beauty. His work can be seen in galleries throughout Florida, museums, and public buildings in the Treasure Coast Region. You can see more examples of Mr. Kelly’s work and order his book at Treasured Waters.

John Seerey-Lester: Painter – Osprey (1945- )
A world-renowned Florida wildlife and landscape painter, watercolorist, art teacher and animal rights advocate, Mr. Seerey-Lester is widely known for his up-close images of the Florida Panther, loggerhead turtles, wetland birds and other wildlife in natural habitat settings. He personally assists and contributes to local wildlife conservation on the Gulf Coast, particularly the protection of sea turtles and shore birds. The artist is very active in the Venice arts community as an art teacher and arts community fundraiser, greatly impacting the quality of arts instruction and arts support in that region. His worldwide reputation is based upon numerous national and international awards for his images depicting the forces of nature at work. The author of many of the books he illustrates, Mr. Seerey-Lester’s newest book of paintings and nonfiction writing, Legends of the Hunt, was published in 2010. View John’s art as well as art by Suzie Seerey-Lester at

Image courtesy/used by permission of Jimmy Stovall.

Jimmy Stovall: Painter –  Fort Pierce (1951- )
Jimmy Stovall’s paintings reflect his interest in preserving the Florida he remembers as a young man. He is the last artist personally taught the Highwaymen painting style in Fort Pierce by Alfred Hair. Following his distress concerning Hair’s untimely death, Mr. Stovall temporarily gave up painting and moved to Tampa, and then migrated to Miami to work, where he began to paint again. Highwayman Artist Mary Ann Carroll contacted him in later years about photographer/author Gary Monroe, who was working on a book about the scattered group of artists. But the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew rendered the artist unreachable for Monroe’s early book interviews. Twenty-six of the Highwaymen were featured in The Highwaymen (University Press of Florida, 2001). Soon after that, Mr. Stovall returned to fulltime painting and to his home in Fort Pierce, where he still lives and works. Twenty-six Highwaymen were honored by induction into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2004. View his work at

“Sheepshead” by William A. Walker

William Aiken Walker: Painter
St. Augustine (1839-1921)
A regional genre painter of the Post-Reconstruction South, the artist William Aiken Walker dedicated his life to exploring Florida and the East Coast. An early iconoclastic figure, he was the only artist of that time to focus his talent on recording the Post-Civil War life of emancipated slaves, and the rapidly changing culture of Florida. Walker was a solitary wanderer who spent many years alone exploring the backwoods, swamps, rivers and bays of the state, drawing and painting what he saw, which include the first and most comprehensive collection of Florida native fish images of the time. He roamed frontier Florida documenting the flora and fauna, town scenes, fishing communities, railroad construction, and early homesteads around him. Prior to the Civil War, he briefly worked in Cuba as a photographer then served as a cartographer in the Confederate Army before beginning his long artistic exploration of Florida, where he remained until his death in 1921. The Flagler Museum and the Museum of Florida History have collected rare series’ of Walker paintings. The book William Aiken Walker: In Florida (2003) is available from Eaton Fine Art.

Laura Woodward: Painter – Palm Beach (1834-1926)
Florida’s most important Nineteenth Century woman artist, and one of the earliest and greatest publicists of our state’s image as a “tropical paradise,” Laura Woodward changed the course of history in Florida by influencing Henry Flagler’s choice of resort location with her ideas and naturalistic paintings of the Palm Beach area. She enlivened awareness about Florida before the time of color photography by exhibiting her works widely, thus enticing tourism to the state. Prior to moving to Florida, Ms. Woodward was an acclaimed Hudson River School Artist and among the most distinguished of American women artists painting at that time. She was also one of the very first professional artists to paint natural plein air images in the wild areas of the Everglades. Her important role in the development of the state is now taught in history classes at Florida colleges. Laura Woodward’s inspired dedication to the Florida landscape, and her legacy as a tireless advocate for women artists in this country, survive her. You can learn more about her and see some examples of her art at the Edward and Deborah Pollack Fine Art website.

Laura Woodward, “Red Hibiscus,” watercolor, collection of Edward and Deborah Pollack. Image courtesy/used by permission of Edward and Deborah Pollack.

Read more about the program and all previous inductees at the Division of Cultural Affairs Artists Hall of Fame page. Check back tomorrow as we profile the remaining 2013 Florida Artists Hall of Fame nominees.

Spotlight on Ricou Browning

by Jennifer Hoesing

Ricou Browning as the Creature From the Black Lagoon

Ricou Browning in his movie costume during the filming of Creature From the Black Lagoon at Wakulla Spring, Florida. Image from the State Archives of Florida.

An early icon in Florida films, Florida Artists Hall of Fame inductee Ricou Browning wrote, acted, directed and designed many of the most popular movies and television series shot in the Sunshine State. These films included Creature from the Black Lagoon, Flipper, Seahunt, Gentle Ben and others. A penchant for underwater stunt work came from his years in the 1940s as a “merman” swimmer at Wakulla Springs, Weeki Watchee, and Silver Springs.

He pioneered the field of underwater motion picture photography, beginning with his work at the legendary Ivan Tors film studio in Miami — the only major studio to have originated in Florida. Among his many honors, Mr. Browning became President of Ivan Tors Studio and in 1968 was elected to head up the newly created Florida Motion Picture and Television Producers Association.

Once he began working in film, he never stopped. From directing some of the most daring underwater scenes ever filmed in James Bond’s Thunderball in 1966, directing underwater scenes in Caddyshack in 1980, to coordinating marine stunts in an episode of Boardwalk Empire in 2010.

Spotlight On Robert C. Broward

by Jennifer Hoesing

Robert C. Broward

The work of architect and Florida Artists Hall of Fame inductee Robert C. Broward has literally changed the face of Florida.

He began his career in 1949 as an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright during the construction of Florida Southern College, and his work as an author continues to this day. In sixty-one years of architectural practice in Florida, Broward has produced diverse designs including small homes and chapels, as well as large warehouses, office buildings, churches museums, movie theaters, high-rise buildings, oceanfront residences and corporate headquarters.

His love of nature, particularly in Florida (where has been a lifelong resident), inspired his organic architectural methods. In his work, design and sustainability parallel a commitment to environmental stewardship. Methods of building, materials, site conditions, orientation to the sun, rain and other natural phenomena were major considerations in Broward’s work. In just one example, he often designed rainwater collection to create spilling effects as a decorative and sonic element, celebrating frequent rainstorms in Florida.

Unitarian Church, Jacksonville, 1965. Image courtesy/used by permission of Robert C. Broward.

As a teacher, mentor and author, Broward contributed to architectural scholarship by influencing the careers of two generations of architects. He taught for four decades in academia as Adjunct Professor of Design at the University of Florida. He wrote the definitive scholarly work on Henry John Klutho’s Jacksonville structures. Now in its second edition, the book features of 500 photographs of the early twentieth century architecture that revived a city ravaged by fire. Broward published in numerous magazines, books and newspapers, and an entire issue of a national architectural journal was devoted to his work.

In 2011, Broward was elevated to the prestigious American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows, the highest designation in the architectural profession. In February 2012, he was inducted info the Florida Artists Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Jacksonville Historical Society. His prolific career has produced a legacy of outstanding architecture throughout Florida and beyond.