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St. Augustine’s Visitors Center and the Smithsonian Have Something In Common?!?

They sure do! If you’re going to host works of art of this caliber, that is to say, of Pablo Picasso caliber, Fundacion Picasso will insist that your fire and security standards meet that of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. The Fundación Picasso is the Spain-based foundation responsible for the care and promotion of the Picasso collection.

In addition to heightened fire safety and security efforts, the Visitors Center had to undergo a bit of transformation in order to be graced with these pieces. An indoor “arena” was designed to emulate Picasso’s passion for the bullring and the bulls. The “Picasso Art & Arena” exhibit features 30+ pieces created from 1929 to 1961 to include ceramics and lithographs.

As a child, Picasso spent much time at the bull fights with his father (a painter and art teacher). He fell in love with the whole scenario—the costumes, the hype, the ferocity, the glory, the defeat. When Picasso himself began to paint and draw, even at the tender age of 7 years his father knew he was far beyond his years!

The artwork of nine St. John’s County students is Hanging with those 39 Picassos. This wonderful opportunity came to the students by way of Arts Alive, a program designed to give St. Johns County students and teachers a creative outlet while simultaneously raising funds for arts education in St. Johns County. Art teachers from the district’s 34 schools were given the opportunity to submit the top pieces from their student’s work, representing their inspiration by one of Picasso’s many styles.

Palencia Fine Arts Academy hosted the Hanging with Picasso exhibit in early February. The two-hour event welcomed over 200 supporters anxious to see the students’ work. Among those supporters was the PICASSO ART & ARENA curator who Hernandez reports was quite pleased with what she saw! A panel of professional judges selected the pieces that would Hang with Picasso at the PICASSO ART & ARENA exhibit.

Stacie Renee Hernandez, MFA, director of Palencia Fine Arts Academy was instrumental in bringing to fruition the Hanging with Picasso competition. Hernandez teaches an art introduction class at the Palencia Academy for kids ages 6 to 8. Students are exposed to drawing fundamentals as they create and explore with pencil, charcoal, and ink. They will be exposed to art vocabulary and will utilize knowledge of color theory. They will use colored pencils, oil pastels, and acrylic paint. They will learn abstractionism and realism and line, form, and color and all those wonderful things that make a painting “good”. All efforts to educate both children and adults and facilitate appreciation for all forms of visual art and gallery and museum experiences.

These particular nine students are in good company already, Hanging with Picasso! The Bayfront Westcott House wishes to applaud their talent and salute their encouragers!

Elementary School Category
First place winner, Cody Nelson, Ketterlinus
Second place winner, River Miller, Cunningham Creek
Third place winner, Vashaun Jones, Crookshank

Middle School Category
First place winner, Courtney Bodine, Switzerland Point
Second place winner, Neha Manikal, Murray
Third place winner, Gavin Napier, Murray

High School Category
First place winner, Jordan Alexander, Bartram Trail
Second place winner, Erica Krieger, Ponte Vedra
Third place winner, Parul Marulendra, Creekside

The Visitors Center is located at 10 West Castillo Drive. Exhibit hours thru May 11 are Sunday thru Thursday 9 am to 5 pm and Saturday 9 am to 8 pm.

Admission is free to view the student artwork.

To view the Master’s work, the price is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for children ages 7 to 12, $20 for a family of four, and free for children ages 6 and younger, military in uniform, and Flagler College students with identification.

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