Exhibit features local artists in county building’s rotunda

Art in Public Spaces program takes artwork to the people


The rotunda of the St. Johns County Administration Building has been transformed into an art gallery for “Outside the Box,” an exhibition of works by 20 local artists.

Hosted by the St. Johns Cultural Council and ArtBox, this Art in Public Spaces exhibit features paintings, photography and wood sculpture.

This is not the first Art in Public Spaces exhibit, but previous ones were limited to a single featured artist. This exhibit is the first time an entire gallery has been represented.

“It was quite an undertaking,” said Lisa Myers, one of the ArtBox owners. “My business partner, Laura O’Neal, did all the curating. And it’s all artists here at ArtBox.”

In addition to Myers and O’Neal, artists whose works are represented are: Mel Bashore, Kathryn Carlyle, Charles Edelman, RoAnn Elias, Joyce Hutchinson, Deane Kellogg, Don Kight, Deborah Lightfield, James Macdonald, Patrick Madden, Mare Martelli, Harry McCormick, Anna Miller, Kirsten Miller, Susan Thomas Novy, Michele Renaud, Jim Rivers and Ken Vallario.

In addition, four of the artists have painted large-scale canvases specifically for the exhibit to represent and showcase the beauty of the county. These works, measuring six-by-10 feet, hang around the top tier of the rotunda.

Here’s a look at these featured paintings:

  • Don Kight’s “Early Marley Morning” emphasizes a series of swirls reminiscent of the surf. He calls his style “abstract expressionism mixed with prehistoric pop art.” He has decades of freelance experience creating works that include murals, portraits and graphic design.
  • Patrick Madden’s “Matanzas” depicts the local coastline. The name suggests that it is set on the Intracoastal Waterway. Madden has been an artist, master shaper and surfer for more than 40 years. He has shaped more than 10,000 boards since 1980 and founded Madden Surfboards, where he makes custom-painted and inlaid boards.
  • Lisa Myers’ “Emergence” is a dynamic swirl of blues highlighted in red that grow from a point of origin to fulfillment across the canvas. Myers studied art history at Old Dominion University, where she learned how abstract impressionists like Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko approached the canvas.
  • Ken Vallario’s “Full Moon Marsh” depicts the grasses and waters of the marsh at night. Originally from New England, the landscape painter now lives in St. Augustine. Inspired by American realists Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper, he paints coastal scenes with a crisp edge and contemporary sensibility.

“That’s the largest thing I’ve ever painted,” said Myers about “Emergence.” “It was so much fun.”

She said the show has generated interest in the gallery, and vice versa.

“It’s been a good fit,” she said.

She added that anyone who missed the exhibit at the county administration building can find work by the same artists at ArtBox.

“It’s a constant show in here,” she said.

The exhibit is supported with funding from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the St. Johns County Cultural Council.

Visitors can see the exhibit between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at the administration building located at 500 San Sebastian View. It is on display through April 29.

ArtBox is a gallery located at 137 King St., St. Augustine. Though it was closed briefly last year for the pandemic, it reopened to the public in May.