Ringling College's Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA Seeks Volunteers to Assist Renowned Sculptor Patrick Dougherty

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Ringling College's Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA is seeking volunteers to assist Sculptor Patrick Dougherty for three weeks in January creating one of his unique sculptures on the grounds of the historic Sarasota High School. More than 100 volunteers are needed to assist the artist in gathering materials for and constructing his installation. Volunteer docents are also needed.

Patrick Dougherty with his sculpture "Ruaille Buaille (Highjinx)" in County Offaly, Ireland; photo by James Fraher

Patrick often works with more than 100 volunteers to complete these sculptures. This opportunity affords volunteers a rare glimpse into the creative process.

Wendy G. Surkis, president of Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA, a division of Ringling College of Art and Design, announced that the organization seeks a team of volunteers to assist renowned sculptor, Patrick Dougherty, January 7-26, 2013. Dougherty will create a site-specific installation on the grounds of the historic Sarasota High School (the future home of Ringling College’s Sarasota Museum of Art/ SMOA), as part of SMOA's 2013 “ARTmuse” program.

The artist often works with more than 100 volunteers during his installation process to gather and weave the truckloads of sticks and other natural materials that are needed to create his signature sculptures. Volunteers work in four-hour sessions. SMOA also seeks volunteers to serve as docents during the program. Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older. For more information and details on volunteer requirements, send an email to smoa(at)ringling(dot)edu.

Surkis, president of Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA, explains that SMOA is excited about engaging the community in this endeavor. "Patrick often works with more than 100 volunteers to complete these sculptures," she says. "This opportunity affords volunteers a rare glimpse into the creative process." She explains that Dougherty's designs involve weaving and binding sapling branches together to form flowing patterns and maze-like structures that visitors can walk through. "Patrick's wonderfully imaginative installations are temporal works made from trees, twigs, vines, and other natural materials from the area."

Surkis adds that SMOA will offer special docent training to inform volunteer docents about the artist, his work and his mission in Sarasota. "The educational aspect to this project is very vital," she says. "We want to offer everyone who comes to the site the opportunity to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of Patrick's work. We're looking for energetic people who are passionate about art and who enjoy engaging and inspiring others."

Surkis says the public will have many opportunities to view the artist at work and watch his creation unfold and evolve during the three weeks he's here. "Patrick arrives at the site of each new installation with no preconceptions as to what he will create," she says. "This will be a remarkable learning opportunity for all of us." She encourages people to stop by the high school to see the work in progress. “It's a pure joy to watch his creations come alive as he bends, twists and cajoles tree branches into large, dreamlike architectural forms that invite people to explore, wonder and wander through his amazing environments."

Combining his carpentry skills with his love of nature, Dougherty began using primitive building techniques and experimenting with tree saplings as construction material. Starting in 1980 with small works fashioned in his backyard, he quickly moved to monumental installations requiring truckloads of sticks. To date he has built more than 230 of these massive sculptures around the world.

SMOA’s ARTmuse program brings renowned artists and museum professionals to our region. According to SMOA president, Wendy Surkis, "The artists share their creative journey and impart a deep understanding of who they are, what they do and how they do it." Surkis adds that Dougherty's site-specific piece on the grounds of the high school, ""will be an inspired addition to this site and further identify the site as an art and learning destination. It will also give the community a glimpse of the fascinating art that they can look forward to as SMOA comes alive on Tamiami Trail."

People interested in volunteering for the 2013 ARTmuse program should send an email to smoa(at)ringling(dot)edu. For more information about Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA, visit http://www.sarasotamuseumofart.org, or call Wendy G. Surkis at 941-309-7662.

About Sarasota Museum of Art
Sarasota’s first museum of modern and contemporary art will be a dynamic destination for exhibiting innovative and compelling visual art of the 20th and 21st centuries. A vital part of Sarasota’s rich cultural legacy, the museum will interweave exhibitions, educational programs and community outreach initiatives to engage a diverse audience and serve as a stimulating hub for creative discovery and discourse. For more information, visit http://www.sarasotamuseumofart.org.

About Ringling College
Ringling College of Art and Design is a private, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering the Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in 13 disciplines: Advertising Design, Computer Animation, Digital Film-making, Fine Arts, Game Art & Design, Graphic & Interactive Communication, Illustration, Interior Design, Motion Design, Painting, Photography & Digital Imaging, Printmaking, and Sculpture, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Business of Art & Design. Located in Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the picturesque 48-acre campus now includes more than 110 buildings, and enrolls nearly 1,400 76 students from 42 states and 53 countries. It is recognized as being among the best and most innovative visual arts colleges in the United States as well as a leader in the use of technology in the arts.

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Christine Meeker Lange
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