Even within the sober confines of a municipal government building, having a splash of color on the walls can make a huge difference. For past eight months, visitors entering Brooksville City Hall have been missing something they've been accustomed to seeing for nearly a dozen years: vivid paintings, alluring sculpture and finely rendered crafts. Extensive renovations to the building's roof and air-conditioning system necessitated closing the building's public art gallery.
But now that the construction dust has settled, it's time to bring back the art, says City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha.
City Hall's 2012 Summer Art Exhibit kicks off Monday with works by four local and regional painters, plus a display of pieces created by the Masaryktown Pine Needle Group. In addition, the exhibit will feature semi-permanent displays by groups including the Spring Hill Camera Club, the Hernando Quilters' Guild, the Suncoast Ship Model Society, as well as selections of poetry from Just Poets.
"Having the art back brings a good feeling for us," Norman-Vacha said. "People tell us all that time that they've missed it."
Opened in 1998, the art venue boasts the distinction of being Hernando County's longest-running public gallery, showcasing works by most of the area's notable painters and sculptors. On occasion, the gallery has featured exhibits by celebrated artists such as the late historical painter Tony Caparello, collage artist Kurt Holyoke and the original Florida landscape artists, the noted Highwaymen.
"We have so many wonderful artists living in our area that people know about and want to see their work," Norman-Vacha said. "It's been a good calling card for the city."
Without a permanent director for more than a year, Norman-Vacha said her limited operating budget has made it tough to attract someone with the organizational skills needed for the job. But with the right person at the helm, she believes the gallery could become financially self-sufficient.
"I would like to see someone with some creative ideas who knows how to market an event," Norman-Vacha said. "The (Florida) Blueberry Festival showed that people will come downtown for art and music. I think that art holds a lot of untapped potential for bringing visitors to Brooksville."
The art exhibit runs through Nov. 2.
An artists reception is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 11. Refreshments will be provided by the Junior Service League of Brooksville and the Hernando County Arts Council. The public is invited.
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or [email protected]