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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009 8 years ago

Long Exposure

by: Heidi Kurpiela Contributing Writer

Ed Kashi’s freshly unpacked exhibit is already changing the energy inside the Longboat Key Center for the Arts. Black frames, 2-by-3 feet in diameter, labeled with sticky Post-It notes and scattered like dominos across the quiet, whitewashed room, are hard to ignore, even before they’re hung.

Images of 80-year-old newlyweds, wrinkled rodeo cowboys and saggy-bottomed exotic dancers have filled the newly renovated Durante Gallery with a heartwarming buoyancy, while less Hallmark-esque portraits of geriatric prisoners and diapered nursing-home patients serve to remind viewers of the humbling reality of old age.

“It’s kind of pervasive,” says Dean Arscott, a 23-year-old Ringling College of Art and Design graduate and part-time Arts Center employee, tasked with hanging much of the show. “When I look at the photos I see mortality.”

“Aging in America,” Kashi’s collection of 70 black-and-white photographs, is the result of his eight years of fieldwork with his wife, Julie Winokur, a journalist and filmmaker.

This fall, the Longboat Key Center for the Arts will host the traveling exhibit in addition to a series of related programs, lectures and events. The project, which began as an assignment for The New York Times magazine in the mid-1990s, culminated in 2003 with a 256-page book and award-winning MSNBC television special.

The work took on an even deeper meaning in 2004, when Kashi and Winokur relocated their family from San Francisco to Montclair, N.J., to care for Winokur’s elderly father, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Says Kashi: “It was through the intimate experiences and first-hand knowledge we gained witnessing other people’s aging experiences that I realized the importance of honoring our elders, caring for them in their times of need, the sobering reality of my own aging process and the beauty and fears (that come with) the cycle of life.”

if you go

“Aging in America: Challenging our Attitudes” opens with a free reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, at the Longboat Key Center for the Arts, 6860 Longboat Drive S. Photojournalist Ed Kashi will give a lecture from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4. For tickets or more information, call 383-2345.


The Arts Center will offer a series of programs through Dec. 3 that will revolve around Kashi’s aging theme, including an exhibition of local artists over the age of 62. Participating artists include Nat Krate, Frank Creaturo, Herbie Rose, Gale Fulton-Ross, sculptor Dennis Kowal, singer Lillette Jenkins-Wisner, designer Robert Bacon, playwright Jack Gilhooley and photographers Jean Germaine and Dr. Charles Reich.

“We’re using the focus of Kashi’s work to provide a thought-provoking series of programming,” says Marlene Hauck, the Arts Center’s exhibitions-and-events coordinator. “I see it as an exhibition of the creative spirit as we get older.”

Events include
Cabaret Night: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, featuring blues/jazz singer Lillette Jenkins-Wisner.

The Creative Life with Elizabeth Van Riper: 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, featuring composer Francis Schwartz, potter Justin Spring and artists Nat Krate and Gale Fulton-Ross.

Ageless Creativity Recognition Reception: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, with awards presented by Dr. Larry Thompson, president of Ringling College of Art and Design.

Ageless Creativity Jam Session:
6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, featuring Don Scalette, Don Mikiten, Scott Blum and Bruce Wallace.   


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