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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Jul. 28, 2010 7 years ago

Sarasota's fYfE founders put up their dukes

by: Heidi Kurpiela Contributing Writer

First, let’s start with the name: fYfE. What does it mean?

Pronounced “fife” and written in half uppercase and half lowercase letters, fYfE is an acronym that stands for: for Your fantastical Enjoyment.

It’s a collaborative art/music project created by Zach Gilliland and Amanda Landesberg, a 20-something Bradenton Beach couple that met four years ago while working as housekeepers at a lodge in Yellowstone National Park.

Landesberg is a New College graduate who works at Exit Art at the Charthouse, on Longboat Key. Gilliland is an artist and native New Yorker who works as the chief exhibitions coordinator at Art Center Sarasota.

Together they planned fYfE’s first major event, an inaugural Art Brawl, in conjunction with this month’s Vinyl Music Festival, at Art Center Sarasota. The “brawl” included live music by eight different DJs and live art by Chris Lundy, Javier Rodriguez and Nick Sirotich.

The purpose of the event?

To watch artists compete with one another in an audience-judged environment punctuated by good music and a healthy rivalry.

“I’m in love with live art,” Landesberg says. “It’s the same way I feel about watching a band. It just eats right through me.”

Underground, competitive live-art movements are popping up in cities across Europe and the United States. Gilliland stumbled upon the concept last summer while surfing the Internet.

In Dublin, the battles are called Secret Wars, and they’ve become so successful that budding artists see it as a way to market their work and hone their craft.

This spring a competitive live-art battle helped kick off New York City’s International Artexpo on the Hudson River.

“I saw it as something this town could use,” Gilliland says. “You throw an artist in front of a crowd and ask him to work, while people around him cheer and yell. It would spice up Sarasota’s art scene.”

They’ve already begun securing artists for Art Brawl 2, which will take place Aug. 21, at the Cock & Bull Pub, and include seven artists and two bands.

This couple is currently looking for an emcee to help keep the crowd revved throughout the course of the brawl.

“Kind of like a boxing match,” Gilliland says. “Get the crowd excited and keep ’em there.”

Landesberg sees fYfE’s art brawls as a way to draw more artists out of their studios. Eventually, she’d like to expand the project to include artists from other cities.

“I could see a Sarasota versus St. Petersburg brawl, or an Orlando versus Tampa brawl,” says Landesberg. “We’re thinking in broader terms, but, for now, we’re focusing on perfecting one event.”

This mentality is precisely why people should pay attention to fYfE.

“We work well together,” Gilliland says. “Amanda keeps me in check. I want to do everything at once right now … ”

“And I’m like, ‘Let’s revisit it in the morning,’” Landesberg chirps.

calling all artists
If you’re interested in participating in Art Brawl 2 Aug. 21, at the Cock & Bull Pub, 975 Cattleman Road, e-mail [email protected]. For more information on fYfE, visit

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