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Lighthouse of Manasota brings painting to life

Art in the Dark had a surprise guest, Ashley Gruters is expecting a little one, Bruce Rodgers is retiring and more this week.

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  • | 6:20 a.m. April 17, 2019
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Real-life Renaissance 

 A replica of “Louise Élisabeth, Madame la Princesse de Conti, as Venus” by Noel Nicolas Coypel (1731, oil on canvas).
A replica of “Louise Élisabeth, Madame la Princesse de Conti, as Venus” by Noel Nicolas Coypel (1731, oil on canvas).

Lighthouse of Manasota’s Art in the Dark had guests use all their senses to bring an 18th century French painting to life April 13 at Michael’s On East — really, really to life. The painting used was “Louise Élisabeth, Madame la Princesse de Conti, as Venus” by Noel Nicolas Coypel (1731, oil on canvas).

The organization partnered with The Ringling to bring in a model to portray the woman. Local actress Olivia Osol took photos with guests throughout the cocktail hour in a dress made by Paula Peasley Ninestein. In addition, Osol wore a triple-strand bracelet of Akoya pearls, custom made by Belinda Coffrin of Coffrin Jewelers in replica of the bracelet worn by Louise Élisabeth in the painting. The bracelet sold in the live auction for $1,000.

Ana Juarez, Olivia Osol and Katie Nickel

As the name suggests, The Ringling later spoke to guests about how to view a painting as someone with vision impairment would — without use of their sight. They played music and paired it with the painting, as well as felt objects such as roses and a strand of pearls that reflect the painting.

Director's design

Art Center Sarasota Executive Director Lisa Berger can’t take a back seat when it comes to creating fashion — so she didn’t. 

Patra Jordan and Lisa Berger
Patra Jordan and Lisa Berger

The Beaux Arts Ball featured local designers in its runway fashion show April 12 at Art Ovation Hotel, including Berger herself. Her design, “L’Ananas” was inspired by both the pineapples growing in her backyard and the theme of the evening, “kaleidoscopes.” The dress was made out of last year’s Beaux Arts Ball silicone wristbands, craft foam and zip ties.

Her model, local fashionista Patra Jordan, definitely did the dress justice when she strutted down the runway and received well-deserved applause.

An Egg-citing arrival 

Ashley and Tim Gruters are awaiting the upcoming holiday a little more than usual this year.

Their third baby, baby Jagger as they have affectionately named the little one, is expected to arrive April 21.

Photo by Jovanna Gomez Morgan
Photo by Jovanna Gomez Morgan

In celebration, Ashley’s friend Leigh Daley hosted a tropical beach fiesta in her home on Siesta Key. However, unlike her babies before, guests didn’t know whether baby Jagger is a girl or boy, so they guessed the baby’s sex based on what color they wore to the party. Ashley, who made sure to wear her best blue dress to the party, was happy to take a backseat from her daily grind of party planning to be the star of the show instead (and be pampered by her best girlfriends all day).


To greener pastures ... Hermitage Artist Retreat’s Bruce Rodgers celebrated his last Greenfield Prize Award Dinner as executive director April 14 at Michael’s On East. Bruce has been running Hermitage for the last 14 years. He helped create the Greenfield Prize in 2008 alongside Bob Greenfield and Debra Jacobs. Bruce says he and Lisa Rubinstein are ready for retirement. Blind disobedience ... Emcee Joey Panek played the protective dad April 12 at Art Center Sarasota’s Beaux Arts Ball when guests got on stage for the costume contest. The stage lights were so blinding down the runway, he urged contestants not to walk the full way down. Most models went rouge and walked, but a few ended up tripping at some point. Thankfully to Joey’s relief, no models or guests were hurt in the show.


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