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Home » News » A Night at the Allies4Art Fundraiser Featuring “A Sense of Place, A Portrait of Mark Messersmith”

A Night at the Allies4Art Fundraiser Featuring “A Sense of Place, A Portrait of Mark Messersmith”

Published December 2, 2014

On Thursday, November 6, Allies4Art (A4A) held a fundraiser to support awards and conference travel for students at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts. Department of Art Development Officer, Jessica Comas was kind enough to provide us with a review of the evening:


Mark Painting

Mark Painting

“’Scenes from a Cracker Ecology’ focused on the art of environmental painter Mark Messersmith, who serves on FSU’s Art faculty since 1985. When Messersmith moved to northern Florida in 1985, he was struck by a Panhandle wilderness that was foreign to his childhood experience of lawns and squirrels in St. Louis. In his lushly-colored paintings, Messersmith creates dense narratives packed with animals, plants, and insects that express his concern for the shrinking world they inhabit. His work is represented in the collections of the Tyler Museum of Art (Texas), Appleton Museum of Art (FL), Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art (FL), and Huntsville Museum of Art (AL). In 2006, he was awarded the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in Painting.”


“Our evening began with food and wine carefully selected by A4A Committee Members David Gilchrist, Joe Johnson and Andy Welch. Guests had the opportunity to get familiar with the work of environmental painter Mark Messersmith through a slideshow of more than 50 of his works and get up close with his large-scale ‘Spring Twilight.’”

painting detail2

A detail of Messersmith’s painting

“Guests moved into a lecture hall to view a film produced by Art Education Professor Tom Anderson and Environmentalist Barry Fraser about Mark Messersmith’s method and subject, called ‘A Sense of Place, A Portrait of Mark Messersmith.’ The film follows Messersmith’s process of painting ‘Spring Twilight,’ one of his 6’ x 6’ magic realist canvases. The supporting story-line is framed in cutaways that explore Messersmith’s education and life history, and his university teaching, as well as documenting one of his major exhibitions. While Mark paints, he talks about his purposes, techniques, strategies and influences.”


“Film-makers Anderson and Fraser and artist Mark Messersmith joined our guests for a rousing conversation on how art is used to communicate a message about our changing environment.”


“Special thanks to Allies4Art Committee Members Bonnie Davis, David Gilchrist, Joe Johnson, Meredith McKinney, Julie Walker and Andy Welch and to our event sponsor FSU Museum of Fine Arts.”


Make sure you save the date for FSU Allies4Art upcoming events!


Thursday, January 15

A Conversation with the Artists

Artists represented in our annual Faculty Show will discuss their work at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts.


Saturday, April 25

Paint Around Gala

Join FSU Friends of Dance and Allies4Art for a unique event at the breath-taking William Johnston Building in the center of FSU’s campus. Dine and drink while nationally-known artists paint a live sculpture created by our Dance students from various vantage points. Get up close to the paintings, but watch out for a twist! Every 10 minutes, we shake things up by shifting artists to complete their neighbor’s work. This fun, energetic evening raises significant dollars for students scholarships in our top-ranked School of Dance and Art and Art Education Departments.

For more information or to discuss sponsorship or purchase tickets, contact the College’s Director of Development Jessica Comas at or (850) 645-0701.

We would like to extend thanks to Jessica Comas for taking the time to provide us with this review. We look forward to the upcoming A4A events in the spring!