Suzanne Ryan, Big Black Dog Studio

“I grew up in a multi-generational home with the mantra, “waste not, want not.” Recycling, re-using and re-purposing is a lifestyle for me, and I am very happy to be able to create sculptures using cast-off items and turning them into things that make people smile. Adopting a “second hand” pet comes naturally to me and speaks to certain fundamentals that define me as a person. I was raised to fix things, not throw them away. I look for the value in that which was discarded by someone else. I take the time to polish away the tarnish and uncover hidden beauty most people can’t be bothered to work that hard to find. I’m not just referring to the inanimate materials I use in my artwork.

I also strive to not judge animals or people on their appearance or on behaviors learned from the way life has treated them. Although not always reciprocated, if I weren’t willing to look past the superficial, I would risk missing what only time and effort could reveal to be treasured relationships built on trust, acceptance and sincere friendship.

My gifting is first and foremost as an encourager and empowerer of others. I try to put that into each custom pet sculpture, into every upcycled piece of furniture, and into each painting and design I create. I also hope it comes through in everything that I do.”

Previous Art in The Lobby

Maria Ortiz-Haynes is originally from Paterson, New Jersey and is a proud resident of Tampa’s Ybor City. She is a self-taught mosaic artist.After a trip to Cuba (her mother’s birthplace) in 2013, she was inspired by the brightly colored art work she observed there. Her work is flavored by her family’s roots from Havana to Key West to Ybor City.Her signature work is unlike traditional mosaics and brings a vibrancy and complexity to her unique style of using hand-cut pieces of stained glass of different sizes and bright, bold colors that blend to create an overall fluid, painted effect. She invites you into her mosaic scenes to examine more closely what makes up the bigger picture –to explore all the hand-cut pieces that make the whole. Her work has been exhibited at The Straz Center for the Performing Arts,Ruth Eckerd Hall, Glazer Children’s Museum, Art Center Manatee, The Morean Art Center, Carrollwood Cultural Center, Old Hyde Park Art Center and is included in several private collections.

Robyn Crosa was born in Miami, Florida. Her parents were high school sweethearts and went to school in Miami Fl. Her mother’s family immigrated to the U. S. from Lebanon and her father’s family were immigrants from Cuba. Robyn spent her early childhood living in the Bay area. She moved to Atlanta with her family when she was nine years old, and lived in the Greater Atlanta area for most of her life. After taking a life changing trip to visit her relatives in Cuba she realized that her family was the most important thing in the world to her. Recently, she decided to move back to Florida to be closer to family. She currently resides in Saint Petersburg, Florida and is enjoying the tropical sunshine and the ocean breeze that she considers to be home. She is a multi- talented artist and entertainer. The artist considers herself a Renaissance woman. She is also a devotee of the Great Mother Goddess. Her work encompasses a variety of different disciplines and mediums. She ties her work together with the common theme of her worship of the divine feminine. The artist believes that creative work is a form of worship and sacred ritual to the Great Mother Goddess of Nature. The artist has worked in Atlanta as an singer, songwriter, actress dancer, and visual artist. She was also the Official Fortune Teller for Historic Oakland Cemetery. Her Gourdgeous Goddess Dolls have been featured as back ground art for the set of the Atlanta filmed TV show, “The Originals.” The artist’s style is folk art that is inspired by the works of indigenous people, as well as self taught folk artists such as Howard Finster, whose work was most notably on the cover of a “Talking Heads” album and Xavior Roberts who is the originator of the “Cabbage Patch Kids”. Like these well known Georgia folk artists the artist is mostly self-taught. She creates her doll sculptures based on the natural shape of the wood and then embellishes them with wood burning techniques as well as acrylic paint and glued objects. Her first gourds were created as self portraits because she saw a basket of gourds on a table in an old country shop and it looked to her to be like the gourds were herself and her mother and sisters sitting together. This gave her the idea to personify them and take advantage of the natural feminine shape. Her work has received an Honorable Mention in the school wide Dean’s Art Award Contest in the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State University. She has also received a first place ribbon, a second place ribbon, and three third place ribbons at the Georgia Gourd Festival in Griffin, GA. Most recently they have been displayed at the Salvador Dalí Museum Holiday Art Show in Saint Petersburg, FL; and at the Carrollwood Cultural Center in Tampa. She was also the winner of the Emerging Artist Grant for the Florida CraftArt Festival in 2020

Our first play of the season was accompanied by a lobby gallery featuring the work of Rose Marie Prins in an exhibit titled “A Leaf In The Wind”. This exhibit is part of an artistic and personal journey that partners with the book of the same name featuring poems by her son, Jaro Majer.

The poems express the heartfelt yearning of a young man’s search for the Truth and the artwork is part of the artist’s search for acceptance in the loss of her only child.