Opening reception for all four exhibits is
Thursday, May 25, 5-7 p.m.

(Sarasota, FL) Art Center Sarasota’s 2016-2017 exhibition season, entitled “Common Ground,” continues with four new exhibits. “The Third Entity: Works by Amy Ernst and Amy Ragus,” in Gallery One, features works on paper, including collaborative pieces created specifically for this show. “MASHterpieces,” in Gallery Two, features donated art from Goodwill Manasota transformed into new masterpieces by 10 area businesses. “Nocturnal Melodies,” in Gallery Three, is a group exhibition showcasing the otherworldly, fairy tale narratives of four artists. “Unlimited Potential,” in Gallery Four, is a members-only, all-media, all-subject juried exhibition juried by Joseph Melançon, a nationally acclaimed painter and instructor. The opening reception for all four exhibits is Thursday, May 25, 5-7 p.m. Art Center Sarasota is located at 707 N. Tamiami Trail, in Sarasota. For more information, call 941-365-2032 or visit

“The Third Entity” investigates the shared methods and subjects of Amy Ernst and Amy Ragus, two artists who work primarily in collage. Their works on paper include Ragus’ digital photo collages and Ernst’s monoprints and paper collage, as well as collaborative pieces created specifically for this exhibit. “Both artists use methods that place separate pieces of imagery, texture, or pattern in a simultaneous image,” says Sarah Viviana Valdez, Art Center Sarasota’s exhibition coordinator. “This layering creates unexpected tensions that transport the imagery into the realm of the surreal. They’re open to the fluidity of random combinations.” Valdez adds that the artists have been good friends since the 1970s. Amy Ernst, a Sarasota resident, is the fourth generation of artists in her family; her great-grandfather Philip was a portrait painter; her grandfather Max was a surrealist master; and her father, Jimmy Ernst, was a leading abstract painter. Ernst makes a unique contribution to this profound family legacy with collages and monoprints. The artist notes that she works from within: “The imagery flows through meditative inspiration. Almost like automatic writing, it becomes and then begins to breathe life once the image is created.  When I’m asked how long it takes for me to complete a work, I answer ‘a lifetime and a moment.’”  Amy Ragus’ photocollages have been exhibited in one-person and group exhibits in the U.S. and abroad. Trained as a painter at Wellesley College (BA) and Columbia University (MFA), she turned to photography in the 1980s. She describes herself as, “a painter who uses photo fragments as brushstrokes on a larger field.” Ragus is a three-time MacDowell Fellow and has been an artist-in-residence at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood and other venues around the country. Most of the collages in this exhibit were shot in and around locations in Sarasota County.

MASHterpieces” is the fourth installment of a popular collaboration between Art Center Sarasota and Goodwill Manasota. In this incarnation, 10 area businesses, working in teams, will create their own Mashterpieces from re-purposed materials. After contributing $500 to Goodwill, the participating companies will be given a voucher for up to five items at a Goodwill Bargain Barn. Teams can also use as many recycled items from their own offices as they like. Artist advisors will also offer their suggestions and expertise. “Challenging businesses to use teamwork to create a piece of re-purposed art is something that hasn’t been done before,” says Art Center Sarasota’s executive director Lisa Berger. “I’m looking forward to seeing the results and the excitement the pieces will stir up in the bidding during the auction.” The auction and reception takes place on Thursday, June 8, 6-8 p.m., at the Art Center. Community members can bid on the resulting works of art.

Nocturnal Melodies” is a multimedia group exhibition featuring the fairy tale narratives of four artists: Nathan Freda, Sooky Kim, Yanuary Narravo and Cheryl Webber (Jujmo). “There’s a common theme running through all of their works,” says Valdez, the exhibit curator, which is that each artist creates characters for a story that departs from mundane reality. The narratives can be about a trauma, a memory, an accident, or pure imagination. Their tales are styled with a naive approach, similar to a child’s imagination, where objects can seem bigger, more saturated in color, and fuller in texture than they really are. These artists use these secondary realities to process personal experiences. Collectively, their works create a journey with no end and no beginning—a mysterious and ambiguous installation that pulls the viewer inside a dream.”

Unlimited Potential,” in Gallery Four, is an Art Center Sarasota members-only, all-media, all-subject juried exhibition juried by Joseph Melançon, a nationally acclaimed painter and instructor.

2016-2017 Season: A Quick Glance

Cycle 6 (July 6-August 11) features “Florida’s Finest,” an all-media, all-subject, juried exhibition highlighting the talented artists of the Sunshine State, in all galleries.

Cycle 7 (August 24-September 29) features a solo exhibit entitled “World Without Men” by Lowell Gilbertson; a solo exhibit by Carol Prusa; an exhibit TBD in gallery 3; and “Line, Form and Color,” an open, peer-juried exhibit.

For more information about Art Center Sarasota, call 941-365-2032 or visit

About Art Center Sarasota 

Art Center Sarasota was the first arts and cultural institution in Sarasota. It was founded in 1926 as the “Sarasota Art Association” by Marcia Rader, the art supervisor for the Sarasota County schools district. In the early years, the group met monthly and sponsored exhibits in rented facilities. The Association was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1943 and has been in its current location in the Sarasota Bayfront Cultural District since 1949. Art Center Sarasota is now a membership-based organization that offers curated and juried exhibitions, adult and youth education programs, outreach initiatives for underserved youth, and culturally related public programming. Art Center Sarasota’s mission is to inspire individual creative expression, nurture artistic talent and provide the community with accessible and diverse visual art opportunities.

Art Center Sarasota

707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236

Phone: 941-365-2032 § Fax: 941-366-0585


Gallery Hours:

Free admission

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Closed Sunday