Acclaimed Sculptor Kicks Off Ringling College’s Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA "ARTmuse" Program in January

  • Rating: No Rating

Internationally renowned sculptor Patrick Dougherty weaves large-scale architectural forms from trees, twigs, vines, and other natural materials. This January, the artist will spend three weeks in Sarasota creating one of his unique sculptures on the grounds of the historic Sarasota High School and future home of the Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA.

Renowned sculptor Patrick Dougherty will be arriving in Sarasota on January 7 to kick off SMOA's 2013 “ARTmuse” program. The artist, whose monumental sculptures made of trees, twigs, vines, and other natural materials are world-acclaimed, will build a site-specific installation on the grounds of the historic Sarasota High School, which will become the future home of the Sarasota Museum of Art/ SMOA.

Wendy G. Surkis, president of Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA, a division of Ringling College of Art and Design, says the public will have many opportunities to view the artist at work—and watch his creation unfold and evolve. She encourages people to stop by the high school to see the work in progress.

“This is a remarkable opportunity for our community,” says Surkis. “Patrick has exhibited his work around the world; we're thrilled that he is coming here for SMOA. It’s an example of the fresh ideas SMOA will be bringing to Sarasota." Surkis adds that it's "pure joy to watch his creations come alive as he bends, twists and cajoles tree branches into large, dreamlike architectural forms that invite people to explore, wonder and wander through his amazing environments."

Born in Oklahoma in 1945, Patrick Dougherty was raised in North Carolina and studied art history and sculpture at the University of North Carolina. Combining his carpentry skills with his love of nature, Dougherty began to learn more about primitive techniques of building and to experiment with tree saplings as construction material. In 1982, his first work, "Maple Body Wrap," was included in the North Carolina Biennial Artists’ Exhibition, sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of Art. His work quickly evolved from single pieces on conventional pedestals to monumental scale environmental works, which required saplings by the truckloads. Over the last 30 years, he has built over 240 of these works, and become internationally acclaimed. Dougherty has received numerous awards, including the 2011 Factor Prize for Southern Art, North Carolina Artist Fellowship Award, Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, Henry Moore Foundation Fellowship, Japan-US Creative Arts Fellowship, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Princeton Architectural Press published a major book, "Stickwork," about the artist and his work in 2009. For more information about Patrick Dougherty, visit

SMOA will be Sarasota’s first art museum devoted to modern and contemporary art. It's slated to be a dynamic destination for exhibiting innovative visual art of the 20th and 21st centuries. The museum will interweave exhibitions, educational programs and community outreach initiatives to engage a diverse audience and serve as a stimulating hub for creative discovery and discourse. Together, Ringling College and SMOA will transform the former Sarasota High School, a landmark building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, into nearly 60,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 110-seat, multi-purpose auditorium, sculpture court, indoor/outdoor café, classrooms and studios, educational resource and meeting spaces. According to Surkis, this new use is history-making in its own right.

“The building will regain its stature as one of the area’s most significant and recognizable structures," she says. "The reinvention of this building, which includes a glass structure, iconic in its modernity, invokes the past, the present and the future. The rebirth of the high school is exhilarating."

SMOA’s ARTmuse programs bring renowned artists and museum professionals to our region. According to Surkis, "They share their creative journey and impart a deep understanding of who they are, what they do and how they do it." Surkis adds that these distinguished visitors give the public, “unique and meaningful learning experiences in an up-close-and-personal setting. Our enlightening programs provide Sarasota art enthusiasts a sense of what’s to come once SMOA is up and running.”

Previous visiting artists have included Lesley Dill, Janet Echelman, Judy Pfaff and Seth Randal. This year's Patrick Dougherty corporate sponsor is PNC Wealth Management.

"As Sarasota's first museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art, the Sarasota Museum of Art will captivate and inspire countless imaginations," says R. Scott Collins, senior vice president, wealth director of PNC Wealth Management. "In addition, it will be a significant economic driver for Sarasota County. This magical blend of visual beauty, artistic inspiration, and economic acceleration piqued our interest at PNC Wealth Management, and we are very proud of our role as the leading corporate sponsor of SMOA."

Dougherty will participate in SMOA's 2013 “ARTmuse” program, January 7-26, 2013. A celebratory first event, the "SMOA Inaugural Bash," is Sunday, January 20, 2013, 6 p.m.-10 p.m., on the grounds of the historic Sarasota High School. The public is invited to meet the artist, enjoy libations and cuisine from The Sarasota-Manatee Originals, and enjoy the stirring sounds of Tampa's premier dance band, Ace Factor. Tickets start at $125. For tickets and more information about this event, call 941-309-0118 and specify SMOA Inaugural Bash. For information about sponsorship and benefactor opportunities, contact Mary Lee Richey at 941-309-4732.

For more information about Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA visit or call Wendy G. Surkis at 941-309-7662.

About Sarasota Museum of Art
Sarasota’s first museum of modern and contemporary art will be a dynamic destination for exhibiting innovative and compelling visual art of the 20th and 21st centuries. A vital part of Sarasota’s rich cultural legacy, the museum will interweave exhibitions, educational programs and community outreach initiatives to engage a diverse audience and serve as a stimulating hub for creative discovery and discourse. For more information, visit

About Ringling College
Ringling College of Art and Design is a private, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering the Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in 13 disciplines: Advertising Design, Computer Animation, Digital Film-making, Fine Arts, Game Art & Design, Graphic & Interactive Communication, Illustration, Interior Design, Motion Design, Painting, Photography & Digital Imaging, Printmaking, and Sculpture, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Business of Art & Design. Located in Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the picturesque 48-acre campus now includes more than 110 buildings, and enrolls nearly 1,400 76 students from 42 states and 53 countries. It is recognized as being among the best and most innovative visual arts colleges in the United States as well as a leader in the use of technology in the arts.

Photo captions: More high-res images available upon request

 "Close Ties" by Patrick Dougherty; Scottish Basketmakers Circle, Dingwall, Scotland; photo by Fin Macrae
 Patrick Dougherty with his sculpture "Ruaille Buaille (Highjinx)" in County Offaly, Ireland; photo by James Fraher

Views: 471


You need to be a member of to add comments!


Community created by

© 2020   Created by - Sarasota.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service