MUSEUM TO LAUNCH FIRST SUMMER ART SERIES TO SHOWCASE BEAUTY OF THE NATURAL WORLD

THREE-MONTH SERIES TO FEATURE SPECIAL EXHIBITS BY LOCAL ARTISTS; FREE FIRST FRIDAY RECEPTIONS WITH ARTISTS IN JULY, AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER

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Building on the popularity of The Art of Nature annual spring exhibit, the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History announces its inaugural Summer Art Series featuring three local artists whose work reflects the beauty and diversity of nature on California’s Central Coast. The three-month series that starts in July will include free First Friday receptions from 5-8 p.m. to be attended by the featured artists from each month.

Sponsored by Santa Cruz City Arts and Museum members Gayle and Joe Ortiz, the Summer Art Series will feature Marlene Mirassou (July), Sandra Cherk (August) and Stephanie Martin (September). Access to the Summer Art Series exhibits will be included in general admission to the Museum. Admission to the Museum and artist receptions are free on First Fridays.

“We know from our annual science illustration exhibit how much our community loves both art and nature,” said Liz Broughton, who curated the new series as the Museum’s Visitor Services Manager. “We’re excited to offer our gallery space to these three talented artists who, through their work, deepen our appreciation of the beautiful wonders surrounding us.”

Mirassou’s show, “Light Through the Leaves,” features cyanotype images of plants native to the forested upper reaches of Branciforte Creek near her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

These camera-less images show the light that passes through or is blocked by plants’ leaves.

In addition to attending the First Friday reception on July 7, Mirassou will lead a cyanotype workshop at 10 a.m. July 8 at the Museum. The cost is $20 for adults, $15 for children, with $5 off for Museum members. Pre-registration is recommended at santacruzmuseum.org.

For her show, “Our Coastal California,” Santa Cruz painter Sandra Cherk uses soft pastels to capture scenery from the local shoreline, foothills, mountains and forests. A veteran of the Arts Council Santa Cruz County’s annual Open Studios tour, Cherk often paints from photographs and also enjoys depicting plants and architecture. Cherk’s First Friday reception will be Aug. 4. Martin’s art celebrates the exquisite design and diversity of California’s flora and avifauna.

After observing subjects in the field or sketching specimens in museums, the Santa Cruz artist creates intaglio etchings that bring dead birds to life through a graceful blend of science and art. Martin’s show is called “The Art of Wonder,” and her First Friday reception will be Sept. 1.


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