University galleries open season with “‘Under the Florida Sun: South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship Exhibition’”

The university opened its galleries to 12 South Florida artists who were awarded a grant from the South Florida Cultural Consortium due to their interpretation of what Florida has to offer.


Photo by Kizzy Azcarate. Artwork Zoraye Cyrus “Killer Community”

Kizzy Azcarate, Contributing Writer

It’s the early afternoon on Sept. 16 of the “Under the Florida Sun” exhibition and Paris Valladares, the gallery assistant at the Ritter Art Gallery, is sitting at her desk surrounded by fluorescent acrylic paint from Harumi Abe’s painting “Fern Forest 2” and distorted wind sounds from Carla Forte video art, “Hurricane.”

The atmosphere in the Ritter Art Gallery was intimate and dim, with specified spotlights on the hidden gems of Florida held inside.

This is the seventh time FAU has worked with the South Florida Cultural Consortium to put on an exhibition like this one since 2001. Within the Ritter Art Gallery and the Schmidt Center Gallery, are South Florida artists who were awarded a $7,500 or $15,000 grant from The South Florida Cultural Consortium.

The artists’ work in the “Under the Florida Sun” exhibition is meant to showcase a Florida that is privy to visitors or media depiction.

“You’re always seeing things through a tourist lens, so all these artists really do dive deep into specific cultures and communities,” said Valladares. 

Throughout the exhibition, you’ll see art that highlights the artist’s life whether it transports you to Colombia or Japan.

“They did a great job at bringing their own identities into where they live, so I think they can bring pieces of themselves to Florida,” said Valladares.

Racquel Sherlock, an onlooker at the Ritter Art Gallery, said she was walking around after work when she decided to go in.

When asked how she felt about the artists’ take on Florida, she said, “It’s refreshing for a change, where art is concerned. Florida has such a wide variety of things, not just Disney, so I think it’s really cool that they stepped out of the box.”

At the Schmidt Center Gallery, a continuation of pieces that Mikhaile Solomon curated for the exhibition canvas the high ceiling white walls.

With new media artist Sasha Wortzel’s “Shoreline (Sunrise)” video installation projected on the back wall and photographer Francisco Maśo’s “Notation System for Dissenting Bodies in Oppressive Social Spaces” photographs inviting you to the center of the room, Schmidt Center Gallery allows for the space to intrigue its spectators.

Ashley Uttley, the galleries coordinator, said, “Because we have such a large space, the curator was able to bring in these beautiful large paintings that fill the room. As well as the back wall with those videos that deal with nature.”

Due to COVID-19, Uttley hopes that this exhibition will invite more students, art ​​connoisseurs, and intrigued individuals to visit in person.

“Under the Florida Sun ” will be open from Sept. 16 to Oct. 30 Tuesday through Friday from 1 pm  to 4 pm and Saturday from 1 pm to 5 pm. Admission is free to the public, as well as students.

Kizzy Azcarate is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, tweet her @Kizzy_kinz or [email protected]