Shared thoughts, words and deeds 

Shared thoughts, words and deeds
RS 21
Through July 13
Maitland Art Center
231 W. Packwood Ave.
$3; 407-539-2181

The story behind RS 21 the exhibit gets really deep. First, there's the rich history of the Maitland Art Center, first established in 1930s as the Research Studio (as in "RS") by the late visionary André Smith. Imagine his high teas, with a view across Lake Sybelia and atended by Zora Neale Hurston, Annie Russell and other artistic mavens of the time.

Then there are the very bright artists of the RS 21 collective who have created their own personal art installations as a part of the elite collaboration. Art and the Subconscious is Smith's book that inspired and guided the artists to difference ends, and this is the second outing for RS 21, following the debut in February at Orlando Museum of Art. The top-notch catalog for RS 21 ($15) tells all and is a marvelous way of re-introducing the relevance of Maitland Art Center, as well as introducing the artists: Stephen Carey, Kelledy Francis, Pat Greene, Brigan Gresh & Andrew White, Martha Lent, Kyle, Dina Mack, Sergio Mora, Richard Reep, Doug Rhodehamel, Nathan Selikoff, Kim Walz and historian Egberto Almenas.

Last Friday's opening (May 29) wove a non-visual magic when the art was opened to the public for study and celebration; strips of frayed white fabric loosely divided connecting halls and rooms for a deep-within sensation. And, perhaps along with André, there were other intangible energies at play in the intimate spaces, like inspiration.

There has been a clean sweep of sorts at the center, since longtime executive director Gerry Shepp stepped down in January and a replacement yet to be chosen. On that note, the piece titled "A Conversation With André" by artist-in-residence Kyle (also the caretaker at MAC) includes a video of Kyle discussing his scares while "living" with Smith's presence on the property, a situation Shepp was not always comfortable discussing, we discover.

There's one gallery walk planned for this weekend, moderated by Almenas (2 p.m. Saturday, June 6, at Maitland Art Center; $3), and if you're yearning for something very different, you won't be disappointed.

Also go to the Culture 2 Go blog at to connect to videos and other visual captures of the experiment.

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