January 8, 2001

Art gallery to display work of Jekyll Island artist

The Valdosta State University Art Department invites the public to attend the opening reception and exhibit of artist Rosario Russell Fiore, Jan. 16, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the VSU Art Gallery (located in the Fine Arts Building). The exhibit will be on display until Feb. 11.

Fiore began sculpting and drawing as a young boy and gained his formal art training in New York at the National Academy of Design, the Beaux Arts Institute of Fine Arts and the Mechanic Institute.

Throughout the 1930's, Fiore worked with the Works Progress Administration and sculpted historic figures for The Smithsonian, the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Before his death in 1994 Fiore donated his collection of sculptures to the Friends of Historic Jekyll Island, Inc.

According to Hollis Barnett, VSU professor of Art, within Fiore's donation were more than 28 molds that Fiore had designed but not cast into sculptures.

Barnett brought the molds to VSU for art students to cast and complete. The students bronzed the molds, some of which were in as many as 17 individual pieces. "We had no idea what was inside," Barnett said. "When you look into the mold it looks like a big hole."

The experience provided the students with the chance to work with a mold or design that was unfamiliar to them and see it completed as a bronze sculpture, Barnett said.

The sculptures are now part of the permanent display of Fiore's work at the Mistletoe Cottage, Jekyll Island, and bear both Fiore's name as well as the student who completed the sculpture.

The VSU Art Gallery is open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m to 4 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, please contact the Art Department at 229-333-5835.

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