This afternoon, we visisted Sarasota's Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy,
The only disappointment is that 35mm and other cameras … other than cell phone cameras … are prohibited, making taking pictures in often highly contrast lightting a challenge.
Founder, Curator and President of Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy, Inc. began her education in Kentucky with an Associate of Science in Nursing and Emergency Medical Care, followed many years later, by a Master of Science in nursing from the University of South Florida. She loved helping people and the excitement of Emergency Room nursing as well as being an RN/EMT/Paramedic. One dark night, while volunteering for the Jessamine County Rescue Squad in Kentucky, she and her partner were called to the scene of a small airplane crash. All 5 people were dead. There was no one to assist. It changed her life forever. The next day, as she scratched out shadows and images of the plane crash, she soon felt her spirits lift. At age 32, she found a whole new direction in life through the process of making art.
She earned a Bachelor of Art from Eastern Kentucky University in 1981, moved to Florida in 1984, and earned a Bachelor of Fine Art from Ringling College of Art & Design in 1991. As a student, she visited many renown art museums and soon realized that women's artwork and humorous art were under represented. It just didn't seem fair. "If I could change one thing in my lifetime, this would be it!" The seeds of change were planted.
She loved going to outdoor art shows and discovered a variety of American artists with fresh, colorful, creative and upbeat ideas. There was a sense of freedom and pride in their work. They were true small business entrepreneurs. An artist herself, Ms. Lee, thought it would be fun someday to bring all these people together to display their work for everyone to see.
Family tragedy struck in 1994 when her father had a stroke. She spent the next 10 years involved with her parent's medical care. During this emotionally difficult time, she realized how important it was to get a short respite of 1 or 2 hours, looking at plants, talking with friends, and visiting museums to continue this care. It was also apparent that many of her Baby Boomer friends were tackling these same issues. We all have parents. By 2004, both Mom and Dad passed.
"Initially, I wanted to create a friendly environment where people, especially adults, could relax and forget their problems even if only for a brief moment, to slow down, smell the roses, and enjoy the present." It has become a Smiley Place.
As you exit your car in th eparking lot, you are confronted with some of the excellent, entertaining and brightly painted sculptures …
Once inside the museum … whose collection is predominatly from local artists … is changed every summer.
Among the hundreds of items on display, there was only one with a political bent … a urinal high on the wall in the Men's room with a photo of Jane Fonda's Hanoi Jane" picture serving as a target.
The interior patio and garden area was also filled with more fun and interesting sculptures.
Two surprisingly comfortable benches made of welded horseshoes
And, even American Nauturalist William Beebe's original Bathysphere
Walls: 1” thick Cast Steel
Window: 3” thick Fused Quartz
Weight: 2.25 tons
Entrance Hatch: 400 lbs.
Cable Length: 3,000 feet
Cable Weight: 1.35 tons
Period orf Use: 1930-34
Deepest Descent: 3,028 feet in 1934 (a depth record not broken until 1949)
There is no way anyone could get either of us in this device … even when welded to a permanent stand!
While we have no "bucket list" we are continually amazed about the number of things to do and places to visit just in west central Florida.