The University of North Florida Lufrano Intercultural Gallery and Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, a cultural institute of UNF, will present the “Lost Springs” project in a series of exhibitions and events, beginning Thursday, Sept. 14, and running through Sunday, Dec. 31. The “Lost Springs” chronicles the tragic demise of the iconic springs of the Ocklawaha River in North Central Florida.
The UNF Lufrano Intercultural Gallery, located in the Student Union, Building 58E, on the second floor, will present the exhibition “Lost Springs of the Ocklawaha,” a collaboration between Gainesville painter/activist Margaret Ross Tolbert and St. Augustine-based environmental filmmaker Matt Keene.
“I’ve known Margaret Tolbert for many years and am thrilled to be mounting these exhibitions,” said UNF Gallery of Art Coordinator Jim Draper, who is curating the “Lost Springs” exhibition at UNF and MOCA. “This is a great example of an artist using their work to engage an audience in conversation about specific issues.”
This multimedia exhibition features images, sculpture and film of Cannon Springs and Tobacco Patch Springs created by various artists, including Tolbert, Keene, Karen Chadwick, Mark Long and others. The opening reception will be 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, in the Gallery and the exhibit will run through Tuesday, Oct. 24.
Tolbert is a tireless crusader who uses a brush as a weapon to fight for the rights of springs. In 1971, the ill-conceived Army Corps of Engineers project, the Cross Florida Barge Canal, was suspended by executive order, leaving the beautiful Ocklawaha River strangled by the Kirkpatrick Dam in Putnam County.
Every four years, the gates of the dam are opened for a few months, and the Ocklawaha is allowed to run free. During the low water, Tolbert paddles into these mysterious hidden places with her canvases and paints. “Lost Springs” memorialize the temporary emergence of Ocklawaha’s hidden springs.
There will also be an exhibition in the UNF Gallery at MOCA. “Margaret Ross Tolbert: Lost Springs” kicks off Saturday, Sept. 23, and runs through Sunday, Dec. 31.
“Tolbert’s investigation of the ‘Lost Springs’ promises to provide transformational opportunities, such as dialogues and accompanying programs, around this thought-provoking topic,” said MOCA Director Caitlín Doherty.
A reception will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24, in the UNF Gallery at MOCA, and a special premiere of an accompanying film by Tolbert and Keene will take place at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. in MOCA’s Theater.
A screening of the film will also take place at 7 p.m. both Thursday, Sept. 28, and Tuesday, Oct. 3, and again at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, all in the Student Union Auditorium, Student Union, Building 58W, Room 2704, on the UNF campus.
In the documentary “Lost Springs,” Keene follows Tolbert as she experiences springs normally inaccessible due to the Kirkpatrick Dam in Putnam County. The film explores themes of loss, wonder and experience in nature as it follows the course of a drawdown of the dam’s pool, which happens every three or more years, exposing a submerged world normally hidden below the high waters of the dam.
Additionally, there will be a panel discussion featuring Tolbert and Keene, in conjunction with the UNF Environmental Center, about the springs from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, at the MOCA Theater.
All events are free and open to the public. Images and cutlines of Tolbert’s work on display at MOCA and at UNF are available here. Draper and Tolbert are both available for interviews.
MOCA Jacksonville serves the community and its visitors through its mission to promote the discovery, knowledge, and advancement of the art, artists, and ideas of our time. For more information, including hours of operation, admission prices, and upcoming exhibitions and programs, visit mocajacksonville.unf.edu or call (904) 366-6911.
UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.