‘Winds of Change’ exhibit recalls the arrival of Spanish sails to Florida’s shores


Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 12:07 p.m.

Visitors to Gainesville art spaces will need to gaze upward to appreciate the latest expression of the state's Spanish roots.

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Tim Elverston positions a kite as a part of the “Winds of Change” exhibit at the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville on Monday. Multiple kites and kite art will be on display through September.

Lee Ferinden/Correspondent

Facts

If you go

What: “Winds of Change,” an art exhibit at three venues, part of Viva Florida 500 events celebrating the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon's discovery of Florida
When/Where:

  • 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 15, Harn Museum of Art, 3259 Hull Road

  • 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 24-Aug. 17, UF Health Cancer Center, 2033 Mowery Road

  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 27-Sept. 26 (tentative), UF New Engineering Building, 1064 Center Drive

Admission: Free

The hand-dyed, handmade silk kites, created by Gainesville artists Tim Elverston and Ruth Whiting, are part of "Winds of Change," a public exhibit at three different venues at the University of Florida.

The exhibit commemorates Viva Florida 500, the anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon's discovery of Florida 500 years ago.

The kites are a metaphor for the Spanish sails, said Lucinda Lavelli, dean of the UF College of Fine Arts.

"When you think about the ships coming over, you think of all the sails," she said. "They look more like comets streaming across the sky."

They're kites, but Tim Elverston, owner of WindFire Designs — a company that produces kites, jewelry and painting, among other items — focuses more on their artistic value.

"They're flying color is what they are," he said. "When you fly a kite, you kind of feel like you're touching the sky."

Because they are fragile and made out of silk, they will be hung inside the Harn Museum of Art, the UF Health Cancer Center and the UF New Engineering Building.

Each of the locations also will have photographs of the exhibit, Elverston said.

About 13 to 25 kites will be installed at each location, depending on the space, he said.

"We're not just hanging them to display them," he said. "It's as if they're flying through the space."

Kites were installed at the Harn on Monday.

The exhibit opened Tuesday and will be open until Sept. 15.

"You walk in and you feel the lightness of the kites," said Amy Vigilante, director of university galleries at UF. "I think people are going to love this."

A "Winds of Change" lecture takes place at 6:30 p.m. July 11 at the Harn, where Elverston and Whiting will discuss the artistic aspects of the installation.

The installation at the cancer center takes place Sunday and runs from June 24 to Aug. 17.

In the Gallery/Resource Center, 2-D art will be displayed through July 26.

This 2-D art will include paintings and photographs of the kites that have been all over the world, including France, Italy and the U.S.

Elverston said Whiting paints from memory.

"She's a really good painter. To her, the kites are a lot like painting," Vigilante said. "The air in the space is like the canvas, and the kites are like the paint. She really approaches it that way."

The exhibit at the UF New Engineering Building is tentatively scheduled for June 27 through Sept. 26.

A lecture in collaboration with Dan Dickrell, a UF College of Engineering faculty member, is in the works for incoming UF engineering students.

Elverston said this talk will be about the technical aspects of flight and its relation to kites.

"The designs come out of rules that we observe from things we've done before," he said. "We really do focus on originality in our design."

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