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This weekend’s highlight- at the Colburn School: Met Opera Auditions Western Region Finals

zipper-concert-hallMetropolitan Opera National Council


Sunday, January 12, 2020 1 P.M.


200 S. Grand Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90012

TICKETS – Reserve Seating — $40

To order tickets please contact Molly Siefert

email:  phone: 626.437.5944

The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions is a program designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers.

Notable past winners include: Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Deborah Voigt, and Sondra Radvanovsky

Photography  © 2018 Leticia Marie Sanchez


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Review: “Egypt’s Lost Cities” at the Reagan Library- MUST-SEE exhibit

 Review: “Egypt’s Lost Cities”

Uncovering an archaeological mystery

at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

On View Until April 12, 2020


Leticia Marie Sanchez

The exhibit “Egypt’s Lost Cities” is intriguing for many reasons. Firstly, the exhibit takes the viewer on a journey to see the forgotten ancient cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, which were discovered by mathematician-economist Franck Goddio and his team of underwater archaeologists. Secondly, the blockbuster exhibition at the Reagan Library contains an astonishing treasure trove of more than 200 artifacts, including gold coins, bronze vessels, jewelry, ceramics, statues of Cleopatra III, and Ptolemy XII as a Sphinx. The works are exceptionally intact, despite having been buried under the sea for more than two thousand years. Prior to the founding of Alexandria in 331 B.C. the harbor of Thonis-Heracleion controlled all the trade into Egypt and was the Venice of its time.

In addition to the abundance of objects unearthed by his team. Franck Guido’s discovery answered a question that had mystified Egyptologists for ages. What was Thonis-Heracleion? The archaeological material demonstrated that Heracleion and Thonis were in fact one and the same city, but with two different names; Heracleion being the name of the city for the Greeks and Thonis for the Egyptians. Before Guido’s work solved the mystery, the cities’ names had only been rarely seen: on inscriptions found on land by archaeologists or in ancient classic texts.  For instance, the Greek historian Herodotus (5th Century BC) mentioned the city as the spot where the famous hero Herakles once set foot. The exhibition brings to light a civilization that time forgot.

What is remarkable is that the discovery is less than five percent of the treasures pertaining to Thonis-Heracleion that remain buried in the ocean. One can only imagine the world of splendor that lies beneath the sea. The exhibit is truly a time capsule of a civilization that had long been forgotten.

Another Lost Cities Photo

Photo:  © 2019 Leticia Marie Sanchez 



The bust of the colossal statue of Hapy has been strapped with webbings before being cautiously raised out of the water of Aboukir bay, Egypt Photo: Christoph Gerigk

© Franck Goddio / Hilti






Heracleion Queen resaved

Cleopatra III. Bust of the black stone queen set up underwater. Heracleion. Ptolemaic Period, granodiorite, H. 220 cm. National Museum, Alexandria. SCA 283. IEASM Excavations.
Photo: Christoph Gerigk © Franck Goddio / Hilt Foundation


ALEX JD 049 copy 2








Ptolemy XII as a Sphinx

Archeologist eye to eye to with a sphinx

underwater. Granodiorite. H. 70, L 150 cm. 1st c. BC. National Museum, Alexandria (SCA 450) Alexandria Eastern Harbour. IEASM Excavation. The treatment of the face is characteristic of royal effigies blending the Pharaonic traditions with the Hellenistic portrait style. This Sphinx could be a portrait of the father of Cleopatra VII, the “great” Cleopatra, Ptolemy XII Auletes Neos
Dionysos. Photos: Jérôme Delafosse©Franck Goddio/Hilt



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The 120K Banana At Art Basel Miami


Leticia Marie Sanchez

Has the Contemporary Art world Gone bananas?

At Art Basel Miami this week, a banana duct-taped to a wall sold for $120,000.

Entitled “Comedian,” the piece was created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.

Then, someone ate the banana. Artist David Datuna devoured the banana before being escorted away by security guards.

However, according to Lucien Terras, the director of museum relations for Galerie Perrotin, which represented the work, Datuna’s action did not devalue the work. Teras stated. “He did not destroy the art work. The banana is the idea.”

 You can buy a single banana for 20 cents.

 You can buy Duct Tape for $4.99

But apparently, foolishness is priceless.

Call me old fashioned, but I just don’t get the a-peel, pun intended!

For the Full Story please read:


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The Christmas fruitcake fiasco: Puccini versus Toscanini

In the spirit of the season Cultural Cocktail Hour will share a holiday favorite!

In her revealing book, Secret Lives of the Great Composers, Elizabeth Lundy described a fruity fiasco between two rivals: opera composers, Giacomo Puccini and conductor Arturo Toscanini:

“During the years of Puccini and Toscanini’s feud, they had very little contact- except for one Christmastime incident. That year Puccini forgot to remove the conductor’s name from the list of friends to whom he sent the traditional Italian holiday gift, a pannetone cake.

When Puccini realized his error, he sent Toscanini a telegram reading:



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Review- Hope Springs Eternal: “Manet and Modern Beauty at the Getty Center”

Many more florals

Édouard Manet French, 1832 – 1883 Flowers in a Crystal Vase, about 1882 Oil on canvas Unframed: 32.7 × 24.5 cm (12 7/8 × 9 5/8 in.) National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection,1970.17.37 Image courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington EX.2019.3.100

 Hope Springs Eternal: 

 Manet and Modern Beauty

at the Getty Center


   Leticia Marie Sanchez


October 8, 2019 to January 12, 2020

Manet and Modern Beauty at the Getty Center is a MUST-SEE exhibit, not only due to the abundant works on view and the insight into the later style of groundbreaking artist Édouard Manet, but also due to the overwhelmingly inspiring perspective into the life of an artist who never gave up hope, painting some of his most exquisite works during his final days.

Curated by Getty curators Scott Allen and Emily Beeny and Gloria Groom, chair of European Painting and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago, this is the first major museum exhibition to focus on Manet’s late work. Co-organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago,  the large-scale exhibition features more than ninety paintings and drawings.

According to Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, “Manet is a titan of modern art, but most art historical narratives about his achievement focus on his early and mid-career work, Many of his later paintings are of extraordinary beauty, executed at the height of his artistic prowess- despite the fact that he was already afflicted with the illness that would lead to his early death.”

Here are some highlights to give you new insights into this seminal artist:

  1. Manet as Dandy:  Henri Fantin-Latour’s portrait of Édouard ManetDandy

Although Manet has been hailed by many as the Father of Modernism and his earlier avant-garde works including Olympia and  Le Déjeuner Sur L’Herbe sent shockwaves through the French art establishment, this portrait is a reminder that Manet did not view himself as a marginalized iconoclast. This depiction of him as a dandy and social creature illustrates the fact that Manet wanted to be accepted by prominent society and, in fact, craved the approval of the French Salon, which had rejected him for so many years. Fantin-Latour’s portrait depicts Manet as an sophisticated figure of fashion. In fact, Manet never exhibited his works with the rebellious Impressionists. The eventual acceptance of his artistic merits by the Salon in his later years was a personal coup for him.

Henri Fantin-Latour French, 1836 – 1904 Portrait of Édouard Manet, 1867 Oil on canvas Unframed: 117.5 × 90 cm (46 1/4 × 35 7/16 in.) The Art Institute of Chicago, Stickney Fund, 1905.207 EX.2019.3.58


2. Portrait of Antonin Proust

Monsieur Proust

Antonin Proust was a politically influential figure who helped Manet to garner acceptance by the art establishment of his time.  He and Manet met in art school and became friends. Proust, however, took a different career path, becoming a politician and eventually holding the position of Minister of Fine Arts. Because of Proust’s advocacy, Manet was made a member of the  prestigious Legion of Honor in 1881. Proust also wrote Manet’s memoirs so it is only fitting that Manet painted this portrait of one of his artistic champions.

Édouard Manet 2. French, 1832 – 1883 Portrait of Antonin Proust, 1880

Oil on canvas Unframed: 129.5 × 95.9 cm (51 × 37 3/4 in.) Toledo Museum of Art, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1925.108 Photo: Richard Goodbody Inc., New York EX.2019.3.98



3. Mr. Eugène Pertuiset, the Lion Hunter

Manet hunter

This painting is a Must-See for humorous purposes. Manet had been denied a medal by the Salon for so many years. It was completely ironic that it was this shocking, somewhat unpalatable image that first garnered him the respect which had eluded him for so many years.

Édouard Manet, French, 1832 – 1883 Mr. Eugène Pertuiset, the Lion Hunter, 1881 Oil on canvas Unframed: 150.5 × 171.5 cm (59 1/4 × 67 1/2 in.) Collection Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand, Gift Gastão Vidigal and Geremia Lunardelli, 1950 MASP.00079 Photo: João Musa EX.2019.3.6





Manet Woman Reading

4. Woman Reading

This beautiful work is a highlight of the exhibit for many reasons. Firstly, upon close observation, can see can see what curator Emily Beeny aptly described as the “peripatetic brushstrokes.” But secondly, this work appears, on first glance, to take place at an outdoor café; yet, the inexplicable winter coat in the summery outdoor garden setting is the first clue that there is artifice involved and that this scene was actually staged in Manet’s studio. Why? In his later years, Manet had difficult walking and eventually had his leg amputated, which led to his demise. This painting underscores his tenacity to continue his art, despite significant physical challenges. Édouard Manet French, 1832 – 1883 Woman Reading, about 1880-1881 Oil on canvas Unframed: 61.2 × 50.7 cm (24 1/8 × 19 15/16 in.) The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection, 1933.435 EX.2019.3.55



5. Jeanne (Spring) and Autumn

Jeanne at Getty

These two companion works are a cornerstones of the exhibit. According to Scott Allan, Associate Curator of Paintings at the Getty Museum, “Jeanne was an unalloyed critical success for Manet, making it a rare exception in a career dogged by scandal, controversy, and disappointment.” This image of youthful springtime, which appears effortless was actually worked on painstakingly by Manet. The female subject has the perfect upturned nose that was idealized in fashionable French society at the time. Step closer to the painting at the exhibit, and you will see a patch of pale green in the background of the subject’s profile. This green patch illustrates that Manet meticulously worked and re-worked her profile until it attained the level of perfection that he desired.

Autumn Getty

Jeanne and Autumn ( the latter of which hails from Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nancy ) have not been viewed together in forty years. The subject of Autumn, Méry Laurent, was a fashion maven of her era and her robe was furnished by Proust himself. Unfortunately, Manet passed away before he was able to complete all four of the seasons.

Édouard Manet French, 1832 – 1883 Jeanne (Spring), 1881  Oil on canvas Unframed: 74X 51.5 cm (29 1/8 x 20 1/4 in) Framed: (8.7 X 75.9 X 9.2 cm (38 7/8 X 29 7/8 X 3 5/8 in). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Accession No. 2014.62

Édouard Manet French, 1832 – 1883 Autumn (Méry Laurent), 1881 or 1882. Oil on canvas Unframed: 72 × 51.5 cm (28 3/8 × 20 1/4 in.). Musée des beaux-arts, Nancy Photo: P. Mignot EX.2019.3.18

6. Hope Springs Eternal: Bouquets painted in Manet’s last days

These effulgent bouquets were painted in the last year of Manet’s life and evince his tenacity to paint exuberant beauty despite physical suffering.  According to Emily Beeny, associate curator of drawings at the Getty Museum, these flowers were “the last fireworks of his dying days”

Moss Rose

Édouard Manet French, 1832 – 1883

Moss Roses in a Vase, about 1882

Oil on canvas Unframed: 55.9 × 34.6 cm (22 × 13 5/8 in.) Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA EX.2019.3.102

Walking through the exhibit, I was struck by Manet’s determination in the face of intense medical challenges. When he could no longer physically walk to the café, he brought the café to his studio, staging lively works there. When he was dying, he painted the most breathtaking florals of his career. Even more than his formidable talent, I was inspired by Manet’s spirit of resilience.  We are all the better for it and fortunate to gaze upon works by an artist who never gave up.


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Review: By Day and by Night: Paris in the Belle Époque- A MUST SEE Exhibit at the Norton Simon


The darkness and light of LA Belle Époque at the Norton Simon Museum

October 4, 2019-March 2, 2020


Leticia Marie Sanchez

La Belle Époque, which means the “beautiful age,” evokes thoughts of frothy, light-hearted spectacle: can can dancers, entertainment posters, cabarets, bistros, and electrifying nights at the theater during France’s Gilded Age. However, the Norton Simon Museum’s exhibit By Day & by Night: Paris in the Belle Époque reveals the deeper psychological dimensions beneath the glittering surface: the dichotomy between dynamic crowds and a sense of isolation, between affluent patrons and an often despairing working class, and between a frenzied pace and moments of pause. This vast exhibit includes works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Édouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Edgar Degas, and Pablo Picasso.

The exhibit was expertly curated by Norton Simon Acting Chief Curator Emily Talbot whose curation revealed a nuanced and profound portrait of La Belle Époque while also depicting the stylistic developments of the period. Talbot organized the exhibit into three compelling suites: the street scenes of Pierre Bonnard which alternated between the melancholy and the dynamic, the entertainment culture of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Édouard Vuillard’s serene domestic interiors.

Here are a few highlights of this MUST-SEE exhibit:

  1. Pierre Bonnard’s House in the CourtyardPierre Bonnard

In this work, Bonnard aligned the window with the margins of paper, creating a sense of loneliness and voyeurism. The window evokes isolation, reminding us that that not everyone partook of the festivities of La Belle Époque.

Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867-1947) 

House in the Courtyard from the portfolio Some Aspects of Life in Paris, 1895-96, published in 1899. Lithograph. 21 X 16 in. Norton Simon Art Foundation





2. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec At the Cirque, Fernando, Rider on a White Horse

In this piece, I was struck by how Toulouse-Lautrec conveyed the velocity and motion of a circus rider. The focal point, the three-dimensional female rider, is captured in a vortex of pause, while the world swirls around her, the horse’s galloping speed evoked by the intense effect of Toulouse-Lautrec’s brushstrokes. Even more astounding is the fact that Toulouse- Lautrec painted this incredible work on cardboard! 

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864-1901), At the Cirque, Fernando, Rider on a White Horse, 1887-1888, Pastel and drained oil on board; 23 5/8 X 31 1/4 in. Norton Simon Art Foundation


Picasso Moulin Rouge

3. The Moulin Rouge by Pablo Picasso 

Pablo Picasso’s The Moulin Rouge is a rarely seen work with a mysterious figure in a whimsical hat. She boldly looks out at the viewer. Who is she? A courtesan? A prostitute? Is a mirror separating her from the other couple? Is she literally and figuratively divided from the fashionably dressed couple due to her potential role of moral impropriety? Picasso’s work embodies the playful spirit of the age. It illustrates fact that a disparate group of insiders and outsiders comprised the complex society of the Belle Époque era.The Moulin Rouge” Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) 1901, China ink on paper, 12 3/4 X 19 1/2 in. Norton Simon Art Foundation


Degas Women Ironing

4. Edgar Degas’ Women Ironing

Not everyone during La Belle Époque was indulging in cafe society or evenings at the opera. The painting depicts the suffocating plight of female laundresses whose employers plied with bottles of wine in an attempt to make them endure their 12-hour shifts. The exhausted female figure on the left has a look of despair, her facial expression calling to mind the desperation in Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Stylistically, these figures have moved away from representational art, in the sense that painting during this era used to evoke rather than to depict. For instance, Degas skillfully rendered the image of steam to give us a sense for the daily life of the laundresses. Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917) Women Ironing, c. 1875-76; reworked c. 1882-86 Oil on canvas; 32 1/4 X 29 3/4 in. Norton Simon Art Foundati

5. Louis Anquetin’s Portrait of a Woman Versus Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s The Streetwalker  Comparing and contrasting two disparate renditions of prostitutes underscores the humanity with which Toulouse- Lautrec imbued his work. The works by Anquetin and Toulouse-Lautrec are displayed side by side in the exhibit, allowing one to see the immense differences in the two depictions, one rendered coarsely and the other sensitively.


Louis Anquetin renders the prostitute as nothing more than a caricature. She leers at the viewer, her body offered in a vulgar fashion. Her face is depicted as graceless, and her intrinsic worth is reduced to her impossibly gargantuan breasts. Louis Anquetin (French, 1861-1932) Portait of a Woman, 1891 Pastel on Paper 24 3/4 X 20 in. Norton Simon Art Foundation

TL Streetwalker

On the other hand, Toulouse-Lautrec’s The Streetwalker is a compassionate portrait of a woman in a brothel. Despite having been born an aristocrat, Toulouse-Lautrec showed great empathy for those living at the margins of society. Perhaps his own physical impairment caused him to view those those often thought of as outcasts with compassion. This portrait of a prostitute is intimate; Toulouse-Lautrec depicts her in a moment of pause. This reflective moment is Toulouse-Lautrec’s way of telling his viewer that his subject is someone worth our gaze. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864-1901) The Streetwalker, 1892-1894 Oil on cardboard. 29 3/4 X 19 1/8 in. Norton Simon Art Foundation

Every time I step into an exhibition at the Norton Simon Museum, I am astonished by the collecting foresight of Norton Simon, who amassed a treasure trove. With the exception of six loans from LACMA, the abundant works filling the three galleries of By Day & by Night: Paris in the Belle Époque- from Pablo Picasso’s bronze Head of a Jester to George-Pierre Seurat’s Stone Breakers to Edgar Degas’ Women Ironing- the paintings, drawings, prints, lithographs, and photographs all pertained to the massive collection of Norton Simon. Thanks to his collecting tenacity, I was able to travel back in time to the Belle Époque delving into the lightness and darkness of the era.

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Shakespeare’s observation on Summer…

“Summer’s lease

 hath all too short a date”

- William Shakespeare-

Photos Taken in Montauk, New York

(Well Hello there Montauk, where have you been all my life?) 

All photography ©2019 Leticia Marie Sanchez

sunset at gossmans

Montauk Sunset 3







Montauk Sunset 2

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Snapshot of Manhattan, August 2019 with the words of Walt Whitman 1867

Manhattan PhotoGive me faces and streets — give me these phantoms incessant and endless along the trottoirs!

Give me interminable eyes…

Give me such shows —

give me the streets of Manhattan!

Walt Whitman, 1867


All photography ©2019 Leticia Marie Sanchez

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The Sherry-Netherland: A welcome dose of Beauty and Civility

 Review: The Sherry-Netherland

A welcome dose of Beauty and Civility in Manhattan


 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Sherry Netherland Clock

Amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City is a place that embodies civility at its finest: The Sherry-Netherland. If you find yourself lost, a sidewalk clock on Fifth Avenue bearing the hotel’s name lets you that you have arrived.

The resplendent lobby ceiling harkens back to the Vatican. In fact, the artist who created the ceiling, Joseph Aruta found inspiration for his glorious mural in Raphael’s frescoes in the Vatican Palace.

More ceiling sherry


ceiling sherry netherland

Many of the details of this gilded building, including the walls, mosaic floors, and panels inside the elevator were originally part of the Vanderbilt mansion. White-gloved attendants lead you to the elevator, squiring you to your room where fresh flowers await. The joyful white flowers are accompanied by handwritten welcome note from the hotel management and a box of Louis Sherry Chocolates. This confectionary detail evokes the hotel’s history, as the hotel was named for Louis Sherry, a Gilded Age businessman and candy maker, whose company acquired the hotel. The Netherland component of the hotel’s name harkens back to its original name, the New Netherland. (The Dutch Republic had named a portion of the East Coast “The New Netherland,” and its capital was New Amsterdam, located at the southern tip of Manhattan.)The detail of the flowers and chocolates underscores perhaps the most memorable detail of the Sherry-Netherland: the graciousness of its first rate staff.

I was intrigued to discover that the Sherry-Netherland is also home to private residences. The hotel staff is equally attentive to its residents and hotel guests.

Lenny Sherry Netherland Julian

On my first stay at the Sherry, when my son was 2 years-old, Lenny, one of the bell captains, greeted him with an adorable toy giraffe and book, which Julian Giraffe Sherry Netherlandmade his day.









Rabbit Sheery


Then, on this visit two years later, when my son was 4 years-old, Pedro, one of the elevator attendants, kindly entertained my son in the splendid Vanderbilt elevator by making rabbit ears on the shadows of the elevator wall. He, then showed my son the figure of a rabbit etched into the wall of the lobby. The staff at the hotel’s world class restaurant, Harry Cipriani, is also superb.  Moreover, one of the drivers at the Sherry-Netherland, George, drove us to JFK on what proved to be my smoothest drive to the airport ever.

The elegance and refinement of the Sherry-Netherland building make it exceptional and the warm, gracious staff make it unforgettable.

golden ceiling sherry

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Review: Ugo Rondinone’s Buoyant “Sunny Days” at Guild Hall East Hampton

Ugo Rondinone’s “Sunny Days” at Guild Hall, East Hampton

August 10-October 14. 2019


Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

Guild Hall Gala

Photo Left: Cultural Cocktail Hour Editor-In-Chief Leticia Marie Sanchez at the Guild Hall Summer GalaSunny Days








Guild Hall entrance

Photo Above: Tree-lined Main Street

in East Hampton

site of the Guild Hall Summer Gala

On summer nights in August, the Hamptons social season is in full swing, and the vibrant Summer Gala on August 9th at Guild Hall was no exception. The festivities marked the opening night of Ugo Rondinone’s “Sunny Days,” an exhibit which proved a balm for the soul.

Rondinone is a Swiss born, New York-based contemporary mixed-media artist who works with sculpture, painting, video, sound, and photography. ”Sunny Days” is comprised of three parts: paintings, sculptures, and a poignant, heartwarming gallery showcasing art made by children. The narrative thread linking all three components is the buoyant symbol of the sun.


Guild Gala 2

Firstly, Guild Hall’s Woodhouse Gallery contains a series of sun paintings. In these works artist Ugo Rondinone cleverly conveyed the dizzying effect of attempting to view the solar form with the naked eye. Rondinone spray painted canvases with soft concentric yellow rings. Inside the Woodhouse Gallery, I spoke with Guild Hall Executive Director Andrea Grover about the effective, disorienting nature of looking upon Rondinone’s creative work which mimics the act of gazing upon the sun itself.  Grover observed that these paintings by Rondinone are “Mesmerizing. The paintings convey the impossibility of looking directly into the sun.”


Guild Gala

Secondly, in Guild Hall’s Moran Gallery, one can view a series of sun sculptures created by Rondonine who cast vine branches in aluminum and then gilded them. The slim golden orbs symbolize the life cycle.  This metaphor in the gallery is two-fold: vines bear fruit each year on a rhythmic cycle which evokes the overarching theme of the exhibit: the sun which makes its own cyclical trek through the universe.



The third component of “Sunny Days” proved emotionally uplifting. I cannot recall an exhibit of late in which an artist generously shared his space with school children, which is precisely what Rondonine did here. He invited children to fashion their own representations of the sun in an exhibit entitled “Your Age and my Age and the Age of the Sun.” On the bright, colorful wall one can view Smiling Suns, Setting Suns, Rising Suns, Red Suns, Seaside Suns, Suns Wearing Shades, a seemingly infinite panorama of buoyant suns. These works on watercolor and paper were made by children from Leuven, Oaxaca, and Long Island. I found myself magnetically drawn back to this room again and again, revisiting it many times during the course of the evening, for an infusion of spirit healing warmth. The exhibit at Guild Hall bestows us with Sunny Days for the mind, heart, and soul.


Guild Gala WallGala Wall




gala gold










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