â€śReal generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the presentâ€ťÂ - Albert Camus
Miamiâ€™s people are out there moving the world in all directions. Conde Contemporary Gallery is bringing to our attention a new philanthropic venture that could have a lasting effect on future generations of art patrons worldwide.
Stacy Conde, director of Miamiâ€™s Conde Contemporary Gallery and CCPS: Conde Contemporary Project Space, is lending a hand to ensure the superior artwork connected to the Uffizi Gallery and its history, continues on.
The Uffizi Gallery, located in Florence, Italy was an integral factor on my very first foray into European travel, treasures and secrets of that magical world, parting a veil into an important and colorful past. It was a time long ago and far away, but the impression never left me.
Executive Director of Friends of the Uffizi Gallery (FoUG), Lisa Marie Browne, was in Miami in late June giving a talk at Condeâ€™s Miracle Mile location, discussing FoUGâ€™s current restoration project, The Valois Tapestries, which were commissioned by Catherine De Medici, Queen of France in the 1500s. Friends of the Uffizi Gallery is the U.S. sister organization of â€śAmici degli Uffizi" in Italy, connecting in the dedication to raising funds and contributing to â€śsafeguarding and growth of the Uffizi Gallery.â€ť
This particular day at the Condeâ€™s Miracle Mile gallery, Laney Lewis spoke informatively of preservation efforts on the tapestries. Lewis is with the Fine Arts Conservancy (considered one of the worldâ€™s finest for art restoration and conservation) in West Palm Beach with husband and founder/director, Gordon A. Lewis Jr., who also serves on the Friendsâ€™ advisory board.
As FoUG is celebrating a tenth anniversary of satisfying work in 2016, it is a good time to highlight the organizationâ€™s accomplishments to date and offer the opportunity to become acquainted with a wider sphere of influence. A range of activities await the membership in FoUG. Members are afforded the chance to visit the Uffizi in Florence. As Director Lisa Marie Browne explained, â€śWhat makes FoUG successful is that they come '(to Florence) for a week and the Uffizi hosts the members and donors to show them what will be be done next."
"Itâ€™s such a pleasure spearheading the organization here. We put together our first weekend in 2008 (and every two years since) with the people from Palm Beach and sent a group to Florence for $5,000 and above members."
"In October 2016 we will have our fifth weekend â€¦ and one night in the Uffizi Gallery with a concert. It will be open to members who happen to be in town, they can buy an all day private tour, the concert and then dine at the Pitti Palace, dining like the Medicis did. This will be open to Lippi Membership which is $500, then $500 for the day event.â€ť
And the FoUG background?
LMB: â€śIt all started with a dream. They (Amici degli Uffizi) came from Italy and told us about the start of their organization in 1993. Northern Trust was willing to support us here, from the beginning, but ideas came from the group.â€ťâ€śItâ€™s been unbelievable whatâ€™s been accomplished in the short ten years,â€ť speaker and founding member Lewis interjected.
LMB: â€śOne of the things that I truly believe makes us successful is the president of the organizations, Contessa Maria Vittoria Colonna Rimbotti and the vice president Emanuele Guerra come to the United States in February, every year, and for one week we host our members and donors and we show them everything weâ€™ve accomplished and present what we would like to do next.â€ť
To become a member, visit the Friends of the Uffizi Gallery web site for details on the organization.
What does this entail you may ask? Allow me enlighten.
Friends of the Uffizi takes membership from far and wide.
As a member you would be eligible to meet and dine with the president of the organizations, Contessa Maria Vittoria Colonna Rimbotti, who is a descendant of an ancient Roman family that includes Pope Clemente V who was the great rebuilder of Rome during his reign of 1417 - 1431. The satisfaction of having a hand in restoring the unparalleled artwork of this great gallery is something to contemplate.
You can start with their Lecture Series on Sept. 25: Art Conversations VI, Boca Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real Boca Raton, FL 33432.
The Uffizi was officially opened as a gallery in 1769; it was the palace of the Medici family. In 1993 a car bomb exploded in the street next to the Uffizi and blew a hole in the side of the gallery destroying three priceless artworks and badly damaging others.
I asked Conde how she came to be involved with the Friends of the Uffizi Gallery:
SC: "Lisa Marie and I met a few years ago in the Decorative Crafts showroom at the DCOTA. She was there speaking about the Friends of the Uffizi Gallery. I remember being genuinely excited to learn of something so important, on a world heritage level, coming out of South Florida. Couple that with the warmth and graciousness of Lisa Marie as a person, I had no choice but to get involved.â€ť
â€śAnyone who has been to our gallery in the Gables wouldn't be surprised that I'm a huge fan of classical, figurative art with an obvious appreciation of technique. It goes without saying really, that restoration and preservation of works like The Valois Tapestries would be an effort near and dear to my heart.â€ť
Conde Contemporary consists of a gallery on Miracle Mile and a project space on SW 8th Street specializing in emerging and mid career artists with emphasis on contemporary Cuban art. Its current exhibition at the project space consists of all women artists concentrating in the fiber arts called â€śTalking to Hear Our Threads Rattle." With Condeâ€™s current interest in the Valois Tapestries, it is an interesting continuation of subject, taking an historic art form and bringing moments of the present into focus.
SC: "Our primary location, Conde Contemporary, 204 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, is where we exhibit our core group of gallery artists. We're dedicated to exhibiting work that is strong, by technically adept artists across a range of styles and disciplines, with a focus on contemporary Cuban art. Our Coral Gables location also serves as a salon style meeting place, devoid of pretense, where the free exchange of ideas is encouraged, and the emperor is kept fully clothed.
CCPS:Â Conde Contemporary Project Space (CCPS) in Little Havana, 1007 SW 8th Street, allows us freedom, experimentation and academic exploration of the arts via performance, site specific installations, lectures, film and anything else we find interesting."
- â€śTalking to Hear Our Heads Rattleâ€ť speaks to the futility of work, traditionally women's work, work which is never done.
Opening Friday, July 1.
- A Conversation With the Artists, moderated by Stacy Conde,
Friday, July 8, 7 to 9 p.m.
Closing Friday, July 29, 7 to 9 p.m.
Conde Contemporary Project Space (CCPS),
1007 SW 8 Street, Little Havana.
- â€śPresence of /Absence of: Thread and Fibers as Oath, Oppressor and Ornamentâ€ť
A talk by Kara Acettola of Little Sage Books,
Thursday, July 21, 7 to 9 p.m.
- â€śA Conversation with the Artistsâ€ť
Moderated by Stacy Conde,
Friday, July 29, 7 to 9 p.m.
Conde Contemporary info:Â www.condecontemporary.com.
Friends of the Uffizi Gallery (FoUG):Â www.friendsoftheuffizigallery.org.