Alumni Showcased in Hand Art Center Exhibitions

Dylaney R. Sabino ’23 poses in front of a panel for A Yellow Rose Project. Photography by Grant Wolf

It’s a busy season at the Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center, with paintings, poetry and audiovisual projects — many produced by Stetson alumni. 

Alumni are literally bringing the walls to life. 

Alongside faculty and guests artists, five of them highlight the diverse talent of Stetson’s student body. 

Collectively, the Hand’s Fall 2023 calendar features poetry by Ciara Hendrix’ 12 (Community Health and Preventative Medicine double major); sound art by Dylaney R. Sabino ’23 (Digital Art); sound and film art by Dominic Addonizio ’23 (Digital Art); a recent body of work by Mario Saponaro ’23 (Studio Art and Art History, minor in Music); and exhibition management by Lily Paternoster ’23 (Art History). 

“Cuerpo-Territorio: Reverberations of Belonging” features a connection between Hendrix and guest artist Sharene Mullings. “Ritual,” one of the paintings Mullings is exhibiting, is “a reaction to [For the Times I Buried Myself & Forgot I was a Seed], a poem by Ciara about self-care rituals related to the Yoruba goddess Oshun, who favors sunflowers, the color yellow and fresh water.” The pair did not foresee the eventual link to Stetson, where both the painting and the poem are on view until Oct. 11. 

Exhibition manager Lily Paternoster and Mario Saponaro at the Hand Art Center Reception, Sept. 7, 2023. 

In the Libby Gallery, a digital installation of A Yellow Rose Project is accompanied by a site-specific soundscape by Sabino and Addonizio. Conceived in response to the centennial of the ratification of the 19th amendment, “A Yellow Rose Project” (until Oct. 11) showcases photography by more than 100 women from across the United States. Presented as a brisk-moving slideshow, the sequence of images is compelling and genuinely moving. They provide brief insights into the inner lives of complete strangers considering their place in political history.

The already touching photography is further elevated by a soundscape developed by Sabino and Addonizio. “The purpose of our project,” they state, “is to examine the concept of advocacy through the exploration of polarity.” This manifests in the soundscape as harmonious natural sounds interwoven with synthetic distortions. Wind blowing and birds chirping gives way to a rising electronic tone that sounds like science fiction technology. The soundscape is all at once melancholic and uplifting, contemplative and soothing, nostalgic and forward-looking. “A Yellow Rose” and the soundscape blend seamlessly to create an incredibly meditative experience asking to consider so much history and personal struggle all at once.  

“The Artist’s Labor: Oscar Bluemner and Mario Saponaro” expands alumni involvement to both art and exhibition management. Curator Katya Kudryavtseva, PhD, collaborated with Saponaro and Paternoster to jointly install an exhibition that transformed the space into a visually intriguing environment. Immediately upon entering the gallery, visitors contemplate vibrant scenes painted directly on the wall. The exhibition juxtaposes artwork by modernist artist Oscar Bluemner (1867-1938) and Saponaro to examine the inner logic of their creative process. 

The exhibit features Mario Saponaro: The Process, a documentary where the artist explains: “With my process I always try my best to refine the story that I am trying to tell, so that I can best speak without the words to do so.” Also produced by Addonizio, the documentary engages commentary, sketches and materials to discuss art production. On view until Dec. 7, the exhibition conveys the intellectual process of both Bluemner and Saponaro to emphasize the thoughtfulness and meticulousness behind their final products.  

At A Glance

Cuerpo-territorio: Reverberations of Belonging (on view until Oct. 11) 

Curator: Dr. Natália Marques da Silva

Featuring: Noelle McCleaf, Justin Quaid Grubb, Bryan Carson, Rajni Shankar-Brown, Eve Payor, Nathan Wolek, Terri Witek, Leah Sandler, Martha Underriner, Matt Roberts, Sharene Mullings, Dylaney R. Sabino and Dominic Addonizio

A Yellow Rose Project (on view until Oct. 11) 

Project co-founders: Meg Griffiths and Frances Jakubek 

The Artist’s Labor: Oscar Bluemner and Mario Saponaro (on view until Dec. 7) 

Curator: Dr. Katya Kudryavtseva 

Exhibition Manager: Lily Paternoster 

Featuring: Works by Oscar Bluemner (1867-1938) from the Vera Bluemner Kouba Collection and Mario Saponaro  

Note: Sponsored in part by the State of Florida through the Division of Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

– Amarige Champion and Grant Wolf