photo: David Shankweiler
I visited Karl Flammer Ford in Tarpon Springs, Florida a while back on business and decided to photograph this Ford GT I’ve been loving for two or three years. The very-low mileage Ford GT belongs to Karl Flammer and is one of a little over four thousand production models built. Inspired by the legendary Ford GT-40’s of the 1960’s, the GT was sold in 2005 and 2006 after being released as a prototype show car to celebrate the 2004 centennial of Ford.
above: Supercharged 550 horsepower v-8 under glass
photo: David Shankweiler
The Ford GT’s 5.4-liter modular, mid-mounted v-8 engine features a Lysholm twin-screw supercharger, all-aluminum block and heads, double overhead cams and 4 valves per cylinder, generating 550 horsepower. An early 2004 test by Car and Driver reported a 0-60 time of 3.3 seconds and a top speed of over 200 mph - street legal off the showroom floor. Besides not being able to bring home groceries, expect average gas mileage of around 14 mpg.
Aside from a familiar resemblance to the GT-40, the GT’s construction shares little in common with the historic racer. What I find to be the most interesting of the high-tech methods employed to build the GT is the use of superplasticity to manufacture highly stressed pieces with complex shapes, like the GT’s chassis/frame units. Superplasticity is used to heat titanium alloys, stainless steel alloys and aluminum alloys to the consistency of hot plastic for thermoforming, blow forming and vacuum forming with inert gasses.
photo: David Shankweiler
Historical Footnote: The original Ford GT-40 program from the 1960’s came about as a result of Henry Ford II’s attempt to purchase the Ferrari car company in Maranello, Italy. What appeared to be a marriage made in heaven of the small performance manufacturer and the mighty Ford Motor Company, suddenly ended with Enzo Ferrari walking out of the deal. Enraged, Ford spent several years and millions of dollars to build a homologated sports car that would beat Ferrari at its’ own game. The late Carroll Shelby was brought in to help develop the GT40, beginning with performance testing of the prototype. Shelby and his team of hotrodders and mechanics developed the car into a winner. Eventually the Ford Motor Company won the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1966, with a 1-2-3 finish. This vindication for Ford became a run of four consecutive winning years, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969. This history is conveyed in the movie Ford vs. Ferrari.
Public Arts Master Plan Provides for Care and Conservation of Public Art
The recently completed restoration of Bounce, the colorful steel sculpture outside the Dunedin Community Center, is a result of a well-conceived Public Arts Master Plan by the City’s Arts and Culture Committee, City Commission and City Staff. The City of Dunedin Public Art Consultant, Elizabeth Brincklow, reports that the sculpture has been thoroughly repaired, sanded and repainted for the first time since it was installed in 2008.
Bounce is one of many large outdoor installations exhibited in private collections and public spaces around the world created by the late Sonoma County, California sculptor Robert Ellison. Ellison passed away in 2012. Architect Rod Collman of sdg Architecture, Dunedin, designed the Dunedin Community Center and was on the selection committee when Ellison’s work was selected in 2007.
above left: Bounce receiving a thorough washing before sanding and repairs
above right: Areas of rust are repaired and sealed
(photos: Elizabeth Brincklow)
“We sent out a call for artists and got a lot of very nice entries,” said Collman. “But Wow! I was taken aback with this proposed installation from an artist in California. It reflected a recreational overtone with a bouncing ball theme that tied in so well with the Community Center yet was still beautifully abstract. Despite the excellence of other entries, it was easy to get a consensus on Ellison’s proposal. There is no question about the quality of the piece we got,” said Collman.
“We want our town to look its best and the City of Dunedin, long recognizing the value of public art, has been great to work with,” said Brincklow. “I have been honored to act as the Public Art Consultant on this project since 2017 and to author the City of Dunedin’s Public Art Master Plan, approved by the City Commission in 2018.”
above: Thaddeus Root, Principal and co-owner of St. Cate Fine Arts, sanding an element of Bounce
below left: Bounce in primer ready for color
below right: First layers of color being applied
(photos: Elizabeth Brincklow)
The plan evaluates new and appropriate projects and gifts of art, creates a balance in terms of what styles and media are incorporated and includes conservation of artworks. From plaques and markers to murals and sculptures, the City of Dunedin currently offers 21+ publicly accessible works of art.
Christine Renc Carter, Curator at the Leepa Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, worked with Brincklow to complete nine condition reports on existing public art in the City to establish a funding and bidding process to care for the artworks. After reviewing possible art conservation services to care for Dunedin’s public art, the City Commission chose St. Cate Fine Arts. The firm works with a wide range of art media at a high level of professionalism – and they are local. The firm’s two principals, Desmond Clark and Thaddeus Root, offer over 40 years of combined experience in all aspects of fine art management of art collections for museums, private galleries and institutions, as well as corporate and private collectors.
above left: Desmond Clark, Principal and co-owner of St. Cate Fine Arts, applying first layers of color
above right: First coats of color for Bounce going on
(photos: Elizabeth Brincklow)
“Just the search for Ellison’s California studio assistants to find information about the original colors for Bounce was a challenge,” said Brincklow. “When we reached them, they were so pleased to discover the work was going to be restored to perfect condition. Ultimately, the St. Cate team was able to formulate the correct color match. St. Cate has also completed cleaning and maintenance work on several other public art pieces in Dunedin.”
The restored Bounce sculpture can be seen at the entrance to the Dunedin Community Center at 1920 Pinehurst Rd, Dunedin, FL 34698.
(photo: David Shankweiler)
Elizabeth Brincklow Arts, LLC focuses on enhancing the goals of their clients -- artists, arts businesses and organizations, governments and schools -- to create vibrant communities through a portfolio of arts consulting services.
Elizabeth Brincklow has developed a strong reputation as an arts leader in the Tampa Bay region and beyond. Experience allows her the strategic vantage point from which to approach each client’s goals and challenges, providing the necessary alignment for long-term success.
.above and below: Celebration Closeup: (photo by Elizabeth Brincklow)
The City of Dunedin is celebrating the first project to be completed under the Public Art Master Plan (PAMP) adopted by the City in 2018. Celebration features a PSTA (Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority) donated bus shelter downtown at Main and Douglas, creatively enhanced by acclaimed artist Catherine Woods. The functional artwork is located across from Pioneer Park, a popular place for a variety of community activities.
“We have been in a years-long pursuit to create a public art master plan, find a credentialed art administrator and the necessary public funds to support making Dunedin an arts and culture destination,” said Jackie Nigro, chair of the City’s Arts & Culture Advisory Committee. “This project is a joint venture between PSTA, the First Methodist Church and the City of Dunedin Economic Development Department. The selection committee chose nationally known artist, Catherine Woods, to perform the bus shelter’s transformation into this charming work. We were most pleased when Catherine applied for the project and even more so when she was selected by the panel.” said Nigro.
"I was very pleased to partner on this artistic project and hope it brings a smile to the faces of our residents and visitors," stated Robert Ironsmith, Director of the Economic Development Department."
below: Celebration - exploring final designs, disc placement, mounting options and color, (photo by Catherine Woods)
The Arts & Culture Advisory Committee recommended, and the City Commission chose Elizabeth Brincklow of Elizabeth Brincklow Arts, LLC, as their Public Art Consultant in 2017. The Dunedin resident has a strong reputation as an arts leader in the Tampa Bay Region and authored the City of Dunedin’s Public Art Master Plan. In accordance with the Public Art Master Plan, artworks are funded by a percentage of new development projects, by way of public private partnerships, acquired as gifts from individuals, foundations and other sources including departmental budgets. Dunedin counts 21+ existing public artworks from small works to large-scale murals and sculptures.
below left: Rivet test. (photo by Catherine Woods)
center: Celebration template test fit. (photo by Catherine Woods)
right: Celebration cut metal. (photo by Catherine Woods)
below: Celebration fabrications at the paint shop. (photo by Catherine Woods)
“The challenge was to enhance an existing downtown bus shelter to make a statement about Dunedin,” said Brincklow. “The design problem was for Catherine Woods to solve, which she did to our delight. The elements are metal discs created in the spirit of Celebration. Each piece has cutout icons– water, a sailboat, orange slices, bicycle wheels, a thistle, and a puppy – all celebrating things Dunedin is known for.”
Additional features include circle shapes in the concrete floor of the shelter that repel water, echoing the art and making a dramatic appearance when it rains. St. Cate Fine Arts, a local fine arts collection management and preservation team, did the final installation of pieces and lighting.
Catherine Woods’ company, C Glass Studio, is based in St. Petersburg. Her large-scale public artworks in steel and glass, often as tall as 24 feet, can be seen throughout the greater Tampa Bay area and nation wide. Her favorite mediums for making art are stainless steel, aluminum, glass and tile.
“I saw the call for artists from the City of Dunedin and applied,” said Woods. “They wanted something to celebrate downtown, a joyful addition. When we were installing the pieces, people were so friendly and curious. The whole project was fun, happy, like a cheerful party all the time.”
Nigro says the success of the Celebration project prepares the Public Art Program for four upcoming projects of larger scale. However, as the program moves forward during the Coronavirus pandemic, Dunedin City Manager Jennifer K. Bramley believes the little bus shelter offers something extra.
"It is perfect!” said Bramley. “Who would have thought when the project started that we would need it to boost our spirits during this difficult time.”
sonder n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own...
(photos courtesy sdg Architecture/Shorelines Design Group)
Dunedin’s new Sonder Social Club is a prime example of a project that demonstrates the collaborative relationship between sdg Architecture / Shorelines Design Group (Commercial Architecture and Custom Residential and Interior Design respectively) and the Client Team.
Primarily a cocktail bar, Sonder also offers a creative, high quality selection of cocktail-flattering culinary delights. The new destination is the latest visionary effort from Zach and Christina Feinstein who are known for the popular Dunedin restaurants Black Pearl and the Living Room on Main.
above: Retro glamour, yet distinctly modern
In a glowing article about Sonder Social Club in the Wednesday, October 23, 2019 Tampa Bay Times, Food Critic Helen Freund praised the excellent cocktails and food, and rated the atmosphere a 10, a high compliment for the sdg Architecture/Shorelines Design Group team.
“Olive banquettes line the room, sitting beneath a ceiling of blond wood paneling – lots of retro glamour yet still distinctly modern… That’s just one of many intriguing design gems at Dunedin’s new cocktail lounge,” said Freund. “Part of the appeal lies in the versatility that this space allows for.”
“The bathrooms alone are worth a trip to Sonder Social Club. Disguised as a bookcase, the burnt sienna shelves are lined with weathered volumes of the classics, vases and other knickknacks. Give that shelf a little nudge and you’re on your way to the loo.”
above: Sonder Social Club entry and outdoor seating on Douglas Ave
above: Beautiful bookcases hide a speakeasy style entry to bathrooms
Rod Collman, President of sdg Architecture, is pleased with the collaborative effort between their two firms - the lead for the project came directly to Rich Badders, President of Shorelines Design Group, the residential firm of sdg Architecture/Shorelines Design Group.
“I managed sales and design, and was the main contact for the client,” said Badders. “I did some of the drafting, then delegated jobs to the drafting team in a team spirit we have between our two firms. For Sonder specifically, I oversaw the design and facilitation of construction drawings in conjunction with Senior Draftsman John Benton.”
Badders worked with the owners and interior designer on the bar, a key visual feature of Sonder Social Club. Its curving shape embraces and softens the wall of bottles in the corner of the building while providing patrons a social view of others seated at the bar. Benton also worked directly with the Sonder team on the bookshelves, a wonderful and ingenious part of the ambiance and function of the space.
Collman was proud to be the firm’s architect to make the final review of the team’s drawings and place the seal for permitting. “The Sonder Social Club project is great example of how a collaboration effort can be successful by working as a team with a project’s owner and their design professionals. Construction was done by Nelson Construction of Palm Harbor with their fine in-house craftsmen," said Collman.
above: Intimate and social bar and the best cocktails in town
“The spaces we design should be stimulating and relaxing for customers,” he said. “In this case, a bar or kitchen should be an enhancement to the efficiency and creativity of the bartender or the chef. Making a bathroom fun can be a memorable part of the customer experience. It is often the case that the people we meet are ‘as vivid and complex’ as we are. Our clients know what they want, and our expertise is to take their vision and turn it into reality.”
Rewritten from the original post at sdgfl.com with permission from Rod Collman, President of sdg Architecture.
Every cohousing community is unique. Of utmost importance is a sharing, sustainable community where neighbors own their property and spend time together from a front porch, a community meeting or a potluck dinner at the common house. It is a place created for close relationships in a community or neighborhood where everyone can know each other and share with one another. Environmental and energy conservation are often key concerns.
According to Rod Collman, President of sdg Architecture in Dunedin, Florida, keeping a community small allows the opportunity for everyone to know each other. It can be rural or urban, multi-generational or seniors only. The type of architecture could be single-family homes or multi-family, multi-story buildings. How do we start a cohousing community?
Karen Gimnig, Associate Director of Cohousing Association of the United States, suggests a more affordable type of building to make it easier to buy into an urban community.
Single-Family vs. Multi-Family Architecture
“In Berlin and other cities in Europe, mixed-use retail residential is more a way of life,” said Karen. “I think that our culture is moving in that direction. But such developments in our cities tend to be expensive with larger units. When cohousing groups form that want to build single family homes, they often give up on affordability in order to get it built. $400,000 for a home is pretty typical. We can build smaller.”
The spirit of sharing can offer cost-saving architectural possibilities. As in the example above, advantages can be found by sharing walls or building multi-story. Whether small single-family units or multi-family units, designing for shared laundry and kitchen facilities could be shared or located in the common house, further opening space in a small home.
“Modern trends lean toward sustainability and greater density,” said Karen. “You can build ten 4000 square foot houses or forty 1000 square foot houses instead. The model cohousing community has about 30 units, so developers don’t get the economy of scale of more typical residential developments. The answer can be in building several (perhaps eight) nearby communities under the same permit. Some communities have changed their ordinances to suit cohousing,” said Karen.
Planning and Building the Community
“The biggest barriers are zoning and density issues,” said Rod Collman. “The only options we currently have for cohousing are properties zoned for multi-family. If you have large acreage zoned residential/agricultural or residential rezoned to multi-family to create cohousing, it could accommodate a modest common house, two automobiles per unit (generally a requirement) and 4 or 5 units per acre. Connecting walls and stacking can offer greater density resulting in more units in the same space. The first thing a cohousing group must do is establish a relationship with their jurisdiction’s planning staff to identify obstacles and encourage ideas to create solutions.”
Collman sees exciting potential in the many areas seeing urban redevelopment in Pinellas County, the most densely populated county in Florida. “This example of an urban building in a downtown setting might feature 15 small units, a mix of 6 studio, six one-bedroom and three two-bedroom on 3 levels (parking plus three stories), said Collman. “The third floor eliminates the three studio units for an open area with outdoor seating, dining and cooking. This area could remain enclosed for a common room for the use of all residents. The rooftop could be potentially accessible and available for solar power or a community garden, offering sustainability in energy and shared food resources.”
“This example of urban living is sought after by many aging baby boomers and millennials alike. Small cities like Dunedin and Safety Harbor, and larger cities like St. Petersburg could make ideal sites for this kind of cohousing due to downtown revitalization and availability of restaurants, entertainment, museums and galleries.
“If anyone could sell it, St. Petersburg could sell it,” said Collman.
Once you have a core group of people who want to start a community, how do you market the project? How does a developer know if building a cohousing project is going to be successful?
Architect Katie McCamant leads Cohousing Solutions and cowrote the cohousing “bible” Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities, with Architect Chuck Durrett, introducing the housing model to the U.S.in 1994. It is the “must-have” book for cohousers, or anyone interested in more people-friendly neighborhoods.
“If you want to start a new community, your first step is to form a group of would-be cohousers,” stated McCamant on the Cohousing Solutions website. “It can seem daunting at first when it’s just you and a few friends who’re interested, but most successful cohousing projects begin with just a few burning souls and motivation!” Her community building checklist is paraphrased below.
Group Formation - Find your founding core group of neighbors and begin planning.
Project Feasibility - Site qualities, cost to build homes, other risks: will a property work for your group?
Site Search & Acquisition – Research feasibility and negotiate the purchase terms.
Building Your Development Budget and Setting up your Homeowners Association (HOA) - Research competitive mortgages, management documents, policies, and budgets from other cohousing project HOA’s and engage with a cohousing professional. Raise investment from your member base and others.
Finding Your Professional Team - A successful long-term partnership will require finding a development partner who understands your business model to arrive at an appropriate sharing of risk. Engage with a cohousing professional to guide you through the entire process.
Design Programming - Your architect should be receptive to the needs of the group when designing the neighborhood and its homes and should fully understand the uses of common houses.
Marketing - What kind of group is desired? Who are they, where are they, where will the community be built? Begin by utilizing your core group’s social media to connect with others. A marketing professional and /or a cohousing professional may be the most efficient way to build a marketing program to find potential group members.
“Don’t market the buildings. Sell the relationships,” said Karen Gimnig. “The longer people live in cohousing the more collaborative they become. 40 or 50 people in a close, collaborative community have a great life and if we could arrive at that model, these projects would sell out faster than we could build them. In my wildest dreams, 10% of our population could be living in cohousing communities. I think for most people who have lived ten years or more in a cohousing community, it has changed them in more ways than they could have imagined – in a really good way.”
above: Test driver and racer Ken Richards in 1953 with the record breaking MVC 575
I have long been a British car and motorcycle geek. In my youth, I learned to turn wrenches on my ‘67 Austin Healey Sprite that provided many great memories. There were also a couple of derelict sports cars that looked like potential production racers (imagined through the lens of many beers), two BSA motorcycles and a ’76 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle that I still own. My cousin in law Steve Martin in Asheville, NC, recently sent some images of his Triumph TR6, included here (along with my Austin Healey), that was purchased from my friend and beer partner Jim Goodwin around 1979. Also shown are photos of my '67 Austin Healey Sprite, the car that still appears in the occasional dream in the back of the now non-existent family garage. I nearly bought the Triumph from Jim myself but was dissuaded by a potential job offer that would move me from Atlanta to St. Petersburg, Florida.
top left: 1986 photographs of aforementioned six cylinder Triumph TR6 still owned by cousin Steve
above left: 1973 photographs of my 1-liter '67 Austin Healey, small and slow but beloved by a few young ladies
OK, Back to the subject. Several months ago, Steve spiked my interest in Triumphs when he sent me some images of a legendary car named MVC 575. This was the pre-production TR2 that set a world speed record in 1953 for 2-liter production automobiles at 125 miles per hour. This speed, difficult for many 2-liter automobiles today, was accomplished at the motorway at Jabbeke, Belgium, on a highway occasionally closed off in one direction for speed testing.
According to Andrew English in his Missing link: MVC 575 may be the most significant car that Triumph ever built (www.hagerty.com)... “There aren’t many bits of early Triumph TR history left these days. Considering the genesis of the Standard Triumph range of sports cars—from TRs to Spitfires, Stags, and GT6s—we have little to point at and say, “That’s the start of it all.” So the lovely, geranium-green, speed machine known as MVC 575 is an important car merely in its role as a prototype TR2 and speed record breaker.”
However, like the recent discovery of a rare and previously unknown portrait of Mary Queen of Scots beneath a later painting of a Scottish nobleman, there’s more to the 1953 record-breaking prototype TR2 than meets the eye.”
What lurked under the sleek bonnet of this automobile? There was a 90 horsepower Standard Vanguard tractor engine that gave 36 miles per gallon of gas, the same engine that would be installed in the TR2 production cars. It had a small windscreen in place of a windshield (a factory option), a metal tonneau cover over the cockpit except for the driver’s seat and rear wheel spats, all to increase airflow and decrease drag. Otherwise, MVC 575 was a standard TR2. The left-hand drive spoke to Standard Triumph’s hopes in the sports car markets of the United States and Europe.
Test driver Ken Richardson was sent to Jabbeke on May 20, 1953, accompanied by Sir John Black, chairman and majority shareholder of Standard Triumph, timing officials and the press corps. The roadway was reserved for that day only and problems with the car or the weather could have spoiled it all. Despite ice on the road early that morning, and an oil leak under the car caused by a careless breather tube installation, Richardson set the record; with no driver seat in the car.
Richardson’s Jabbeke record run may be his greatest claim to fame, but he was a recognized test driver, and sports car and endurance racer. He did, in fact, compete once at the World Championship level when, as an engineer and the main development driver for the BRM V16 grand prix car, he qualified the car in 10th place for the 1951 Italian Grand Prix. However, he was disqualified for not possessing the appropriate license confirming the experience necessary for World Championship racing.
MVC 575 was sold in 1956, was modified over time and ultimately languished for many years. It was purchased in parts by Glen Hewitt, founder of Protek Engineering in Wallingford, Oxfordshire in 2015. Founded in 1986, Protek is a restoration specialist in TR2 through TR8 and many other makes of sports cars. After an 18-month restoration, the record breaking TR2 was reintroduced to the motoring world and honored in an exhibition at the opulent Royal Automobile Club in London.
top and above; the restored Triumph TR2 MVC 575 honored in the rotunda of the Royal Automobile Museum in London
Sixty-six years ago, MVC 575 and Ken Richardson ignited a successful start to sales of the Triumph TR2 and the popularity of Triumph automobiles for the next quarter century. Considered the poor man’s Jaguar, The TR2 and TR3 became competitive with the MGA’s and big Austin Healey 100’s of the 50’s and early ‘60’s. Truly, the Jabbeke Triumph was maybe the most significant car that Triumph ever built.
If you came this far, you might like British sports cars so see the gallery images at... www.protek-engineering.co.uk.
MVC 575 images above are borrowed from unknown sources. If there is any copyright infringement on any of the images, please let me know and I will remove them.
Dunedin Fine Art Center Uses Non-Traditional Arts Programming to Generate Students, Revenue and Partnerships
above: Guest chefs demonstrate culinary techniques to students
(photo courtesy Dunedin Fine Art Center)
Architect and client Rod Collman, President of sdg Architecture, has played a major role in the design of the Dunedin Fine Art Center’s facilities in Dunedin, Florida since its beginnings in the mid ‘70’s and through several major expansions and renovations. The Center has a history of dedicated studio spaces with customized equipment and engineering for a variety of art media: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, jewelry, ceramics, fiber arts and much more. These programs have all grown out of smaller, grass roots programs. Some successful classes that have been offered, such as creative writing, have strayed outside of the strict definition of visual arts. The idea for a Food Arts program at the Dunedin Fine Art Center was new and required careful research and study to prove its viability.
“The Strategic Plan called for non-traditional arts programming to attract new students and revenue,” said Ken Hannon, Vice President and COO. “There was concern that ‘food as art’ wasn’t part of our mission. However, there were those who thought it was the next great step for the organization, given the ongoing popularity of creative cooking online and on television. The University of Tampa reached out to us with their program for helping non-profits to develop programming, add revenues and develop a business plan.”
Hannon’s thesis project with the University of Tampa was a marketing study to measure the potential of a culinary arts program at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, an idea in which some DFAC members had expressed interest and offered support. Data was required to assure the program was a fit. The results confirmed the program’s viability and several supporters stepped forward to help fund the construction and outfitting of the studio, part of the build-out of the second floor of the west end of the art center.
top: Students get an up close and personal teaching from the guest chef
(photo courtesy Dunedin Fine Art Center)
above: View from the prep and cooking stations toward the Chef's station and video screens (photo David Shankweiler)
“We realized that we were not experts in the planning of a first-class culinary teaching facility and program,” said Collman. “We enlisted the help of Ted Barber of Theodore Barber & Company in Clearwater. The company has consulted and designed on an international level for restaurants, bars and commercial kitchens for hotels, resorts, convention centers, sports facilities, casinos and more. Additionally, the construction of a utility-intense studio in a continuously occupied building, with daytime and evening classes, presented serious challenges.”
“We learned that new electric service to the building was required to handle the demands of the cooking and washing equipment planned. The studio on the first floor below the food arts studio had to be abandoned during the construction process to provide access to powerlines, gas lines, and water and waste piping within the first-floor overhead space. This presented programming challenges and noise concerns for the other studio activities. Fortunately, when the building was built in 2015, the Food Arts Committee already had a vision. The studio size was pre-determined in advance so that no walls had to be moved, saving time and money, and reducing noise and mess. The work was mostly confined to the two effected studio areas,” said Collman.
above left: Gas range and oven at the Chef's station
above right: View from the Chef's station to the discussion and dining tables and prep and cooking stations
(photos David Shankweiler)
The new studio includes a chef’s station with commercial range and oven, overhead cameras and two 80” monitors for demonstrations and video production. The most unique feature of the facility is the six mobile workstations for students, powered with 220-volt overhead reels, that move on castors. The custom-built units include electric range tops, large preparation surfaces, storage and a built-in exhaust system that takes the place of overhead hoods. Household convection ovens also keep learning within the realm of home cooking. Program and facility comply with all Health Department standards.
Basic build-out was $400,000 and equipment was $130,000, all paid for by donors. This investment needed an ambitious and well thought out program to provide classes that would attract those new students to the center, stimulate partnerships in the community and create opportunities for the center’s current programs to share new ideas.
“The Food Arts program has great potential to build partnerships on a variety of levels,” said Hannon. “It fits in so many ways with what we are currently doing. DFAC’s Sterling Society has successfully conducted numerous art travel tours and we believe travel trips featuring food have great potential. The studio’s serving dishes, bowls and cups were made by our students in our ceramics program. Our fiber arts program can potentially provide creative textiles for use in dining and cooking. Our offsite knife forging program can make creative tools for cooking and dining. Food is the oldest still life subject in the world! Photography featuring the visual appeal of food presentation can link our photography program in creating imagery for exhibitions.”
above left and right: A first class culinary studio requires a first class scullery
below: Closeup of one of the six mobile prep and cooking stations for students with cooktop, prep and storage areas, and self-contained exhaust systems
(photos David Shankweiler)
According to Hannon, Chip Wiener, food photographer and critic for Creative Loafing, will be offering Chip’s Tips, a series of short ideas about improving food photography. The tips might come in the form of print cards and videos. Another offsite outreach opportunity is to partner with the non-profit Dunedin Community Garden, where students can learn how to select fresh organic produce for the kitchen. Such community partnerships can lead to mutual benefits for everyone involved. Restaurant chefs are critical to the mix.
“Chefs Cricket and Jason Borajkiewicz from The Restorative, an award-winning Dunedin restaurant, offered a recent class at the Food Arts studio in Sous Vide (cooking meat sealed in bags in boiling water before searing). This provided an opportunity for meeting people who are interested in great food. Those people get new cooking ideas and an introduction to the restaurant and the chefs. It’s a win-win for everyone,” said Hannon. The Restorative was named Creative Loafing’s Critic's Choice Best of the Bay (BOTB) 2017 Best Chefs; Critic's Choice BOTB 2017 Best New Restaurant; Critic's Choice BOTB 2018 Best Restaurant; among other Tampa Bay area awards.
Dedicated studios have elevated the center’s level of teaching. According to Hannon, the well-equipped Jewelry Making studio “…is perhaps the best this side of the Mississippi”. But the Food Art studio is in league with the best culinary teaching facilities anywhere. And for the art center, it offers something different.
“Everyone is comfortable in the kitchen,” said Hannon. “The Food Arts program builds a sense of camaraderie through the shared experience of chefs demonstrating and everyone learning, cooking and sitting down to eat. In the long-standing reputation of the center as a community hub, the kitchen could become the heart of DFAC.”
An extensive schedule of weekly classes can be found on DFAC’s website for creating the food of other cultures and for pot recipes, soups, vegetables, baked goods, creative chicken and more on a weekly basis.
Go to www.dfac.org.
(photo David Shankweiler)
The Dunedin History Museum held an early October Ribbon Cutting to celebrate their ten-month expansion and renovation project of the museum. Rod Collman of sdg Architecture, Dunedin, was the Architect who created a very challenging design to give the museum the best possible function and preservation. He chose two highly regarded Dunedin professionals to help oversee the project. Museum Executive Director Vinnie Luisi was very happy with the team and the result.
“When we applied for the grant from the State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs, the panel’s greatest concern was historic preservation,” said Luisi. “The train station that is now our museum was built in 1924 by the Atlantic Coast Railroad. I shared my concerns and vision for the expansion with Rod Collman, President of sdg Architecture, and he understood. He set about designing a gift shop and new entryway that added only three walls with no noticeable difference in the design of the building. The fourth wall inside the gift shop is the exterior east wall of the station with the original windows, roof and Dunedin railroad sign under the new roof structure.”
above left: new walls and floor going up to create the entry, reception and gift shop area
above right: interior under construction with east wall of the original building
(photos courtesy sdg Architecture)
above left: Northeast corner of train depot before addition construction. Bronze sculptures by Randolph Rose. (photo courtesy City of Dunedin)
above right: Completed entrance, reception area and gift shop
(photo: David Shankweiler)
above left: Completed addition and entrance to museum
above right: Remodeled exhibit spaces and exhibit displays
above: Detailed look at the new roof section blending in and embracing the original historic train depot
(photo: David Shankweiler)
Collman said that this was one of the most difficult expansions of his career, despite the small size of the project. “The challenge was truly saving the existing building - the need for detail was extreme,” said Collman. “When we first met to talk about ideas for the expansion, what we ended up doing wasn’t my first idea. It was well known Dunedin architect Dan Massaro who said, “we want to leave this overlay inside the building”. I did a drawing of what we proposed, and Vinnie and the Board of Directors of the museum said “Yes, that is what we are looking for!” Designing in such a manner to wrap around and enclose the old structure was complicated, but necessary to preserve the original building and make it look original on the outside. That exterior wall built in 1924 is the first artifact you see when you come in.”
Team members included Dan Massaro, Project Manager, and Terry Hodge, President of Terbo Group contractors. “Dan played the role of Owner’s Representative to oversee the project,” said Collman. “He came to Dunedin from Chicago in 1973 and in 1985 he started his own business, Massaro and Associates, Inc. He was my partner for five years. Terry Hodge is the President of Terbo Group contractors. As General Manager of construction, Terry made sure everything was completed on time and within budget.”
“The result was these three guys working together,” said Luisi. “It was a dream team. The City Commissioners and staff were so confident in the project’s planning and management, they rarely needed to check or supervise our progress. They had it covered.”
above: Bas relief sculpture honoring the role of the railroad in the history of Florida and Dunedin, Sculpture by artist Jerry Karlik, St. Petersburg
(photo: David Shankweiler)
Luisi is proud of the new level of presentation in the museum’s exhibits. Because of the funding that became available for showcasing the museum’s collection and the objects borrowed for temporary exhibits, the design, fixtures and layout of the galleries, the museum is more visually and physically sophisticated than ever before. The City of Dunedin allocated $400,000 with half of that earmarked for the extension of the project for exhibits and completion and outfitting of gallery space. The State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs allocated $400,000 and the museum raised $60,000 in private funding to supplement exhibits.
“We are showcasing 150 years of Dunedin History, and the ancient history of the native people who lived in the area. Our exhibits now include videos and interactive monitors as well as traditional artifacts to better bring history alive. This gives us the opportunity to attract more school groups for more programs suited to them,” said Luisi.
above: East facing side of the Dunedin History Museum and the Pinellas Trail, once the rail bed of the Atlantic Coast Railroad
(photo: David Shankweiler)
Collman calls this a ‘Legacy Project’. “I’ve had the pleasure of working on other such projects like the Dunedin Fine Art Center, the Dunedin Community Center and the Largo Public Library,” he said. “The Dunedin History Museum is carefully planned to honor and celebrate the history and public of the past, present and future. I’m very happy with what we were able to do to provide future generations of visitors and school children with such a wonderful resource and tribute to our city.
The non-profit 501(c)(3) Dunedin History Museum was established in 1970 in the town’s train station, built in 1924. The museum contains approximately 2,000 artifacts, 2,500 photographs, and a library containing 200 volumes of local and Florida history.
Architect Rod Collman sold his share of Collman and Karsky Architecture, the firm he worked for over 50-years, four years ago. In 2014, he and Gary Badders of Shorelines Design Group established sdg Architecture in Dunedin, FL. He specializes in municipal, public, museum, sports complexes and a variety of types of commercial buildings.
Whether a work of art or music, a sporting event or a stunning landscape, all good things are best experienced in person, engaging the senses. But we can’t always be in the presence of the rarest automobiles. This 1935 Bugatti 57S Competition Coupe Aerolithe pictured here was at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art’s Dream Cars exhibition several years ago.
There was only one Aerolithe ever built – aside from this meticulous re-creation (as opposed to a replica). The original prototype was created by Ettore Bugatti for the London and Paris Automobile Shows of 1935. Bugatti was an engineer who was one of a family of artists from the Alsace-Lorraine area of eastern France. His father created highly regarded Art Nouveau furniture, his brother was a renowned sculptor of animals and his son, Jean became an accomplished automobile designer. Bugatti manufactured his expensive, highly technical (mechanically and aerodynamically) and visually magnificent machines for the road and the racetrack from 1911 to 1939.
The one of-a-kind Aerolithe was perhaps the most daring and beautiful automobiles of the era. Based on one of the company’s 57S chassis, it featured a 3.3 liter double overhead cam, straight-8 non-supercharged engine, and a body created from a magnesium and aluminum alloy called Electron. Long used in the aircraft industry, magnesium is extremely strong and lightweight but does not bend like aluminum or steel. It can be carefully formed at around 800 degrees Fahrenheit and explodes into flame at 1400 degrees. (The term “mag wheel” originally referred to racing wheels made of magnesium). Unfortunately, the car disappeared sometime before the outset of World War II and was never seen again. It was highly experimental for Bugatti in the mid-thirties to attempt the forms of such a sculptural shape as the 1935 car in magnesium, and equally so for David Grainger and the Guild of Automotive Restorers in Bradford, Ontario, who built the car you see here.
Although it is a complete re-creation of the 1935 car, it qualifies as “original” because its’ chassis is an exact duplicate or the original 57S used to build the show car. It is the earliest of these chassis/frame assemblies to be built and it carries the manufacturer’s matching numbers for four out of five components – the frame, engine, transmission and rear end. The “Electron” magnesium bodywork had to be built from scratch, based on the few usable photographs in existence of the 1935 car. According to Grainger in a U-Tube video from Jay Leno’s Garage, he stopped keeping a count on time spent for the body after about 7000 man-hours. Rediscovering shaping and welding techniques used for the body pieces on the original car, Grainger’s crew riveted the roof and fenders together through the “spines” running over the tops of them, rather than opting for an all-aluminum body that could have been completely welded. The visual oddity of the riveted spines of the original Aerolithe took hold as a styling detail and reappeared in the Bugatti Atlantic models of the late ‘30’s based on the same chassis, despite the Atlantics being bodied with aluminum, making the spines unnecessary. The tires were even unique to the original Aerolithe, requiring the creation of tooling to make them for the modern re-creation. All these factors led the vehicle to be accepted by official Bugatti groups worldwide as the only existing 1935 Competition Coupe Aerolithe.
How fortunate that the public could enjoy this automobile and its story, and other history-changing automobiles from the past, in galleries normally reserved for the exploration of more traditional art. This is why I love museums.
I was drawn to a talk at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, maybe because it involved ceramics and a book signing, and a chance to see an old friend or colleague – and I wasn’t somewhere else as I often am on a Friday. I didn’t know Jennifer McCurdy, although I am aware of her work, but we both seemed familiar to each other when we met. As it turned out, it was an evening well spent as I came away from it with a refreshing reminder of what the arts are truly about – and a book!
Jennifer McCurdy has been selling her porcelain in art shows and galleries for the last thirty-five years, and her work is included in the collections of several institutions, including the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC, the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY, and the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, CA. She maintains a studio in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts.
above: porcelain sculpture, Jennifer McCurdy
Jennifer was in town to conduct a ceramics workshop at the art center, “Testing the Limits of Porcelain in Thrown, Altered, and Carved Sculptures”, teaching some of her techniques for creating the beautiful works for which she is known. Rather than attempting to describe her work, I will let the images speak for themselves. But the work was only part of the talk, as she was promoting a book that is the collaboration of two sisters working in two very different art forms, porcelain pottery and poetry. Her sister, Wendy Mulhern is a poet. The introduction of Vessels – A Conversation In Porcelain and Poetry addresses “the indescribable bond in being sisters – commonalities sometimes obvious to everyone else that sisters barely notice, shared experiences and perspectives no one else knows about”. It eloquently expresses how their two divergent expressions of art, pottery and poetry, both symbolize vessels, or “containers to hold and display what is most precious about life”.
above left: an appreciative gathering of advanced potters hear Jennifer McCurdy read her sister's poetry.
above right: Jennifer McCurdy demonstrating her techniques for cutting and carving 'leather hard' clay - photo courtesy of Bailey Gallery
above: porcelain pottery sculpture with gold leaf, Jennifer McCurdy
Well known potter Glenn Woods (Pottery Boys, San Antonio, FL) introduced Jennifer McCurdy and spoke eloquently of his impressions of the book. He suggested that one should select a poem by Wendy to read each day, to discuss, and to find personal meaning in the words while absorbing the imagery of the clay works. The first 150 pages, titled Part One: The Collaboration, alternate with a poem and a porcelain work, each drawing on the energy of the other. Jennifer selected several of her sister’s poems for a reading, talking between poems about their relationship. A latter part of the book, Part Two: Evolution and Process, offers Intimate thoughts from Jennifer and Wendy about their art. I use the word intimate because the insight is as much about creativity and association as technical process, defining their relationship and similarities as artists and further clarifying their respective mediums, pottery and poetry, as the building of vessels. The book is beautifully photographed and produced. Wendy Mulhern designed it for print herself. You can find it on Amazon, at the Dunedin Fine Art Center and elsewhere.
I shouldn’t paraphrase a poet, but here is the first stanza of Wendy Mulhern’s poem If It Is Art. Just a few words in four lines that leave so much to think about.
If it is art
it will build on everything
that came before it,
and it will add something-