Fall art installment opening reception


First Presbyterian Church, located at 520 Royal Palm Boulevard in Vero Beach, will present an opening reception for the Fall Art Installation at the Galleries at First Pres on Sunday, October 11, 2020, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Featured local artists include Jemal Hayes, Suze Lavender, and Maciek von Ato. Tours will be available with an opportunity to meet the artists in attendance. The art galleries are located in the Gietz Music Suite, the Lobby of the Center for Christian Life, and the E. T. Smith Lounge. Bottled water will be provided. Please be aware that the CDC recommended social distancing and safety protocols will be in place for the health and safety of all in attendance. Face masks are required to attend.

During this opening reception, we will also celebrate the appointment of our new curator for the Galleries, Pamela Schwartz. Pamela Schwartz is best known for her thought-provoking work exploring human emotion using acrylic and glazing techniques on canvas. “My work reflects my passion and love for God,” she states. “All of humanity longs to discover their purpose in this life. My purpose is to help you examine yours.” Pamela received her art degree from Humboldt State University in California. She is a mother of three and teaches 3rd grade in Indian River County.

Jemal Hayes

Jemal Hayes was born in Vero Beach FL. He attended Vero Beach High School, then Indian River State College for graphic design. As a child, he would receive postcards and letters from his dad, who spent much of his childhood in prison. The cards would have these amazing colorful artworks. He was in awe and he would draw and sketch on the letters that he sent back to him. During high school, poetry and drawing became Jemal’s first venture into Entrepreneurship. He wrote poetry and sketched drawings for guys to give to their girlfriends. He started “Mr. J’s Video Productions” in 2002 capturing video footage for friends and family, and quickly progressed to still life photography. The business name has since transformed to “Mr. J’s Media Productions”. He has been in business now for over 14 years primarily focused on photography, creating moving art, video production, and graphic design. In addition, he transfers old film, video, and photography to digital media. Jemal married his high school sweetheart, Simmone, in 1996, and they have 5 children. “I believe my work is my ministry,” Jemal said. “I have to have some kind of relationship with the subject, feel some kind of emotional tug at my heart or mind so that I can share what I see.” His style, though often recognizable, changes to suit the subject or issue he hopes to portray. Using bright colors against skin tones, he engages the feeling of awe-inspiring stories on canvas. among figures of African women dancing or working in step with each other.

By Suze Lavender

Suze Lavender was born and raised on the south shore of Long Island, NY. Her two loves were always Art and the Sea. She loves to draw and paint moments to release emotions. Although she has never been formally trained in Art, except for the odd class in a variety of different mediums, her art shows a natural talent and beauty that exhibits a deep love and the heart and soul she puts into her work. Since meeting and studying under Frits Van Eeden in the last five years, she feels that he has opened up a window of what could be. Suze’s art now has the energy, emotion, color, and passion that she’s always strived to put on canvas. Suze says, “I have been an artist my entire life, but I have had no formal training until recently. I knew I had so much to say and had no idea how to transfer my thoughts onto canvas. There was a time when I viewed photographic and detailed production as the epitome of artistry. Gratefully, that is no longer the case. My New York upbringing is especially present in my cityscapes, and I’ve discovered how to communicate my ideas emotionally through textures, color choice, and subject. I’ve yet to travel the world however my paintings have created a world for me.”

Maciek von Ato received a Master’s Degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland, and soon began exhibiting his work throughout Western Europe. He later traveled halfway around the world to Australia and continued to paint as he also founded a successful graphic design/illustration firm. A decade later, he was lured by the fast pace and creative energy of New York City for some time but eventually settled in the Philadelphia area where he established himself as a successful painter/sculptor for 18 years. After taking a brief hiatus to solve health issues, Maciek von Ato is currently living in Vero Beach, Florida, and taking the next step in his creative journey. This visual experience spanning three continents has given Maciek von Ato a creative edge, resulting in an innovative style, a unique viewpoint, and versatility in all media, primarily oils, and gouaches. His work is found in private collections throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States.

The Galleries at First Pres feature a wide variety of works by local artists, on rotation quarterly throughout the year. The Galleries are located throughout the campus of First Presbyterian Church, 520 Royal Palm Boulevard, Vero Beach; they are open for viewing from 12pm to 3pm, Monday through Thursday. Guided tours are available Wednesdays between 3pm and 5pm. Admission is free and open to the community.

For more information, please contact Ginger Lagemann, Music and Arts Administrator, at (772) 562-9088 or ginger@firstpresvero.org.

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