Impact at the Sarasota Art Museum

Arts & Culture

Pictured: Michelle Lopez's installation piece "House of Cards" currently at SAM is part of the Impact exhibition.

The Sarasota Art Museum (SAM) is all about pushing the boundaries of contemporary art. The Hermitage Artist Retreat is all about providing a creative haven for contemporary artists of all disciplines. Since both organizations reside in Sarasota County, it only made sense that they would eventually collaborate. What couldn’t be anticipated, however, is just how special a collaboration this would be.

This weekend is the last chance to see Impact: Contemporary Artists at the Hermitage Artist Retreat at SAM. The exhibit, which spans the museum’s entire second floor highlights the work of 10 U.S.-based artists. Although these artists differ widely in their respective mediums–installation, video, printmaking, conceptual drawings and more–all 10 share one commonality: they have all attended artist residencies at the Hermitage Artist Retreat’s beachfront campus.

“The museum and the Hermitage have a long standing collaborative relationship. Because we both work for and support contemporary artists, it was only natural that we would expand our partnership to include an exhibition,” says Virginia Shearer, Executive Director of SAM. “Being that the Hermitage has this 20 plus year history of working with emerging, mid-career and blue chip contemporary artists, there were many many different artists that we dreamed about working with. We realized in order to really highlight and give emphasis to individual artists we’d have to narrow it down for a proper show.”

The show purposely highlights a diverse range of artists that operate not only in different mediums, but come from differing life experiences. Iconic African-American artists like Trenton Doyle Hancock and Sanford Biggers share the space with other artists such as Syrian-American Diana Al-Hadid or Peruvian sculptor Kukuli Velarde. Also featured in Impact is long-time Sarasota artist and former Ringling College of Art and Design professor John Sims, who passed away in 2022. “Jon moved here in the late 1990s to work as a professor at Ringling College in math and time-based media. He was an incredible personality, amazingly visionary, but also was really true to focusing on being a Black northerner living in the South. For more than 20 years he really explored that in his work as a conceptual artist, working in installation, video, painting and drawing,” says Shearer.

March 10 to July 7, 2024, Sarasota Art Museum, 1001 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 941-309-4300.


Pictured: Michelle Lopez's installation piece "House of Cards" currently at SAM is part of the Impact exhibition.

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