Marek Wyszomirski’s work is featured in the DFAC exhibit Intergalactic, running Sept. 7 through Dec. 21.
In terms of space-time, the scheduling really couldn’t be any more advantageous.
Just a few weeks after NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity landed on the Red Planet, setting down successfully in the Gale Crater on Aeolis Palus, four new space-themed art exhibitions will debut Friday, Sept. 7, at Dunedin Fine Art Center, 1143 Michigan Blvd., Dunedin.
The new exhibits include Intergalactic, Beam Me Up, My Favorite Martian and Blast Off.
An opening reception will take place Sept. 7, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, celebrating the opening of the four new exhibits. The reception will include refreshments, an artist talk and live music.
Admission is $5 for adults, free for DFAC members. Call 298-3322 or visit www.dfac.org.
The celestial celebration will continue with the annual DFAC Kids’ Art Fest Saturday, Sept. 8, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the center. Co-sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Dunedin, the event will feature games, food and music. At 1 p.m., there will be an award ceremony for the young Blast Off artists. Admission is free. Call 298-3322 or visit www.dfac.org.
• Intergalactic, running Sept. 7 through Dec. 21. One of four exhibits designed to present an array of work gathered to reflect a broad, though singular theme, Intergalactic features an all-media invitational. Artists from around the world take visitors out of this world. Extraterrestrials, black holes, lunar landscapes, celestial bodies … what lies beyond this earthly realm – or not? Either way, the sky’s not the limit for artists David Choi, Denis Gaston, Tsuneaki Hiramatsu, Shane Hoffman, Violet Hopkins, Masumi Kataoka, Andy Kehoe, Scott Listfield, Beili Liu, Sim Luttin, Timothy McMahon, Leah Pecoraro, Rene Rickabaugh, Isabell Schaupp, Sondra Sherman, Christel van der Laan and Marek Wyszomirski.
• Beam Me Up, running Sept. 7 through Oct. 14. Houston-based video and photographic team Hillerbrand and Magsamen share contemporary interpretations of parenthood and family. It is “life as we do not know it” in Beam Me Up.
• My Favorite Martian, running Sept. 7 through Oct. 14. My Favorite Martian invites DFAC students, members and friends to reveal their inner aliens.
• Blast Off, running Sept. 7 through Aug. 17, 2013. In Blast Off: The Final Frontier, the David L. Mason Children’s Art Museum casts its gaze to the stars with a trip to outer space for the entire family. An exhibit of work from DFAC Summer Camp artists shares the same name, but occupies its own space in the Kokolakis Family Youth Gallery.
NASA astronaut lands at DFAC
Pinellas County’s own NASA astronaut Nicole Passonno Stott has been cleared for landing at the DFAC Kids’ Art Fest on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 10 a.m.
Stott will be on hand to present awards for the space-themed Blast Off exhibit in the Kokolakis Family Youth Gallery. She also will be giving a presentation at 11:45 a.m. and then signing autographs from 1 to 2 p.m.
According to biographical data provided by NASA, Stott joined NASA in 1988 at the Kennedy Space Center as an operations engineer in the Orbiter Processing Facility.
Stott worked in a variety of positions within NASA Shuttle Processing, bearing titles such as Vehicle Operations Engineer, NASA Convoy Commander and Shuttle Flow Director. Eventually, she became a member of the Space Station Hardware Integration Office and relocated to Huntington Beach, Calif.
In 1998, she joined the Johnson Space Center team in Houston, Texas, as a member of the NASA Aircraft Operations Division.
In 2000, Stott was selected as a mission specialist. Following completion of astronaut candidate training, she was assigned several technical duties and worked as a support astronaut for the Expedition 10 crew.
Stott completed her first long duration space flight as a Flight Engineer on the ISS Expeditions 20 and 21 crews in 2009. She traveled to the International Space Station on the Space Shuttle Discovery with the crew of STS-128. While aboard the station, she performed one spacewalk, participated in the first track and capture of the Japanese cargo vehicle HTV, took part in the installation of the new treadmill and conducted a wide variety of science and research activities. She returned on the Space Shuttle Atlantis with the crew of STS-129.
Stott also was a crewmember aboard STS-133 in 2011, which was the 39th and final mission for Space Shuttle Discovery.
Stott’s scheduled appearance at this year’s DFAC Kids’ Art Fest has generated excitement for both festival planners and potential attendees. The annual one-day festival is co-sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Dunedin.
“We’ve worked with Kiwanis for many years with this art festival,” said Todd Still, director of youth education at DFAC. “This year, with all the buzz about the Mars landing and having Nicole Stott in addition to our tremendous group of presentation partners is going to make for a very festive event.”
This year’s Blast Off: The Final Frontier theme led to a natural fit with the Star Wars troopers of the 501st, who will be on-hand to keep the peace. Dance and Circus Acts of Tampa Bay will be making a return appearance at DFAC and putting on and incredible aerial display.
Bones South, a bay area trombone group under the direction of Tom Drick, will present two space-inspired medleys, in addition to other spirited musical offerings.
“We have all the great hands-on activities that always accompany a new installation in the children’s museum inside DFAC,” said George Ann Bissett, DFAC’s executive director. “With DFAC’s Sterling Society bringing in a real astronaut, who has actually walked in space, it just adds a tremendous amount of other-worldly fun to what is always a tremendously festive event.”
“First we had the timely landing on Mars,” said Catherine Bergmann in a press release promoting the new exhibits. Bergmann is DFAC’s curator and director of adult education. “Now we have the visits of not only NASA Astronaut Nicole Stott from Houston, but also the artistic team of Hillerbrand and Magsamen, who hail from the Space City, also. It truly is like the stars are aligning, which is in itself maybe an all too appropriate phrase in this case.”
In a further stroke of kismet for DFAC, the team of Hillerbrand and Magsamen – whose work is showcased in the Beam Me Up exhibition – will be featured in an upcoming September story in the New York Times.
Stephan Hillerbrand and Mary Magsamen – as well as artists from DFAC’s Intergalactic exhibition – will take part in the Artist Talk on Friday, Sept. 7, during the opening reception.
“Hillerbrand and Magsamen’s videos, photographs and installations reinterpret the people, activities and objects of their everyday life and engage the edge between the heroic and tragic,” according to the artists’ website. “They navigate perceptions of identity, emotion and family within a uniquely American subjectivity.”
Hillerbrand and Magsamen live and work in Houston. Magsamen is the curator for the micro-cinema The Aurora Picture Show. Hillerbrand teaches in the University of Houston Digital Media Program. Their work has been featured in film festivals, galleries and museums internationally.
DFAC galleries are open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. Gallery admissions is free. DLM Children’s Art Museum admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and free for DFAC members and children age 2 and younger.