“Don’t miss the forest for the trees,” the old proverb goes, and for the next month, Key West is going to be an incredible forest, so don’t miss it. Highlighting one of the world’s greatest natural elements, wood, The Studios of Key West, along with local artists and galleries, have come together for a month-long celebration of all things wood. This March is the “Tom Majors: Tribute to Wood Event,” which will be happening all over the island, featuring exhibitions, tours, talks and workshops, and the organizers have carved out a spectacular event.
The event marks the beginning of the Tom Majors Fund at The Studios, thanks to his daughter Angela Majors and wife Linda Downs. They started the endowment to remember the spirit of Majors, a former World War II bomber who found joy in crafting and wood sculpture during his retirement.
Starting Thursday, March 7, The Studios will kick it off with the opening reception called “With the Grain,” a group exhibition of local and national wood artists curated by Helen Harrison, with Fran Silverman.
“The show focuses on different approaches using wood as an art form,” said sculptor, Helen Harrison of Harrison Gallery, “elevating awareness and raising the standard of appreciation in Key West.” Harrison is curating 19 artists, 10 national and nine local, displaying their work. “It includes the ‘who’s who’ in the field of wood art, having works in the permanent collections of museums including the Philadelphia Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum, and the Museum of Arts & Design.”
Other participating galleries throughout the month will be Frangipani Gallery, Florida Keys Council of the Arts, Fast Buck At Home, Gallery on Greene, Harrison Gallery, Key West Art and Historical Society, Key West Tropical Forest andBotanical Garden and Lucky Street Gallery.
Aside from seeing beautifully crafted works of art, get to know more about working with wood through studio demonstrations with Mike “Katfish” Karash, creating cigar box guitars, or head to wooden boat builder Tom Noeker’s Stock Island studio, where he creates “Cuban Yo Yos” (for fishing) withCuban mahogany. Also on Stock Island, visit Jimmy Wray Studios, for a “Full Circle Wood” demonstration, and tour various neighboring sculpture studios.
Lastly, don’t miss local sculptor W. Perry Arnold’s newly carved wood throne at Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, a work created from a stump of champion black olive, felled by Hurricane Irma. Arnold spent the past two months cutting, so the next time a lady hurricane blows through, she will know where to park it. More information is at www.tskw.org or www.keywestwoodart.com for all events.
Tom Majors Tribute to Wood Schedule
“As an island community, Key West enjoys a particular closeness to nature, in all its beauty and occasional peril. Palm trees and banyans define our look, cypress groves protect us, and hardwoods remind us of long gone tropical hammocks.”
– The Studios of Key West