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The Colorful Life of Georgia O’Keeffe

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To kick off Women’s History Month, Nan Colton will present “The Colorful Life of Georgia O’Keeffe,” Friday, Mar. 5 at 10 a.m., as the next presentation of Academia Hernando.

Unlike most of her contemporaries, Georgia’s training and most of her subject matter were purely American.  O’Keeffe’s way of living and expressing what she saw was out of the ordinary. She is known to have stated: “If only people were trees…I might like them better.”  She was an original artist, an unconventional beauty, and a person of nonconforming taste in dress and behavior. Her independence and professionalism created the path for the “new woman.” Georgia was devoted to creating imagery that expressed what she called “the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it.”

Set to bring O’Keeffe’s story to the Academia Hernando stage will be Nan Colton, an award-winning playwright, director, storyteller, actress, and teaching performing artist who has performed and lectured professionally on stages throughout South Africa, Great Britain, and the United States. “Nan’s entrepreneurial spirit created Solo Productions in 1995, and she has committed her talents to create and present theatrical solo performances and workshops that are interactive, educative, and entertaining in museums, art galleries, schools, universities, and at conferences throughout the country,” read an event bio. “Locally, she has been the Performing Artist-in-Residence at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg for 25 years, having researched, produced, and performed over 45 vastly different original scripts (historically accurate or humorously fictitious) characters written to explain the art and the exhibitions.”

Colton’s 5 historical character project entitled “Upstairs/Downstairs” at Tampa Bay Hotel (Henry Plant Museum) earned national recognition with an Award of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History. And Colton won the Pinellas Arts Council’s prestigious Artist of the Year 2000 – Friends of the Arts Award. Colton has appeared at venues across Tampa Bay as Catherine the Great, Miep Gies, and Agatha Christie; and on March 5, she will introduce a legend of the arts field to audiences at Academia Hernando.

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Colton credits the above Georgia O’Keeffe quotes to a book by Barbara Buhler Lynes, O’Keeffe, Stieglitz and the Critics, 1916-1929, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1989. Colton makes for an ideal Academia Hernando presenter, says board member Sharon Printz. “Nan Colton is fabulous, and well known locally for her Coffee Talks at The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg,” she said. “She takes people and subjects in the art world–and she becomes them.”

The Colorful Life of Georgia O’Keeffe is the final Academia Hernando presentation of the Spring 2021 season–which will culminate with A Mystery Excursion Friday, March 12.

“The artistic brilliance of Georgia O’Keeffe revolutionized modern art in both her time and in the present,” Colton wrote. “With her painting, she vividly portrayed the power and emotion of objects and nature. She died at the age of 99, leaving behind a vast body of work uniquely expressive of her singular vision of life.”

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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