Florida Keys Council of the Arts: Connections Project Islamorada Opening Reception February 16th

FLORIDA KEYS — As well as being connected by the iconic Overseas Highway, the 125-mile-long Florida Keys island chain also is connected by a vibrant community of artists. From now through May 8, art lovers can view a 24-foot mural featuring the work of close to 400 creative spirits during a series of six exhibitions throughout the Keys. “The Connections Project: A Mosaic of the Keys” comprises nearly 400 individual canvases measuring 6 inches square that were provided to artists and arts-minded local residents. Their resultant works — produced in mediums ranging from oils and watercolor to photography, mixed media and quilting — showcase subjects including birds and sea life, palms and waterfront scenes, abstract visions and local landmarks.

The mural’s ‘road show’ tour from Key Largo to Key West celebrates the longstanding connection between the community and local cultural initiatives,” said Elizabeth Young, executive director of the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, which spearheaded the project. The next opening reception is February 16 at the Roberto Russell Gallery at Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty, located at 81888 Overseas Highway in Islamorada, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The mural then moves to Marathon’s Royal Furniture, 6001 Overseas Highway, for a March 1-15 showcase, followed by an exhibit March 16 through April 4 at Big Pine’s Artists in Paradise Gallery, 221 Key Deer Blvd. in the Winn-Dixie Shopping Center. It takes center stage April 5-25 at Key West’s Royal Furniture, 3326 N. Roosevelt Blvd., before ending its tour April 26 through May 8 at Key West’s Gato Building, the headquarters of the arts council at 1100 Simonton St. A 5:30-7:30 p.m. free-admission reception is scheduled on the mural’s first day at each location.

After viewing the unique installation, art lovers can add pieces of it to their collection. Patrons can make a $50 donation for one individual canvas or a $125 donation for three at any reception or online at keysarts.com. Each donor will receive a randomly selected piece of the mosaic by mail with an artist statement providing insight into the work. Proceeds from the Connections Project benefit Keys artists and arts organizations through arts council grants. To participate in the Connections Project, or for more information: keysarts.com or 305-295-4369