The St. James City Civic Association held their first May Day event last Thursday. The focus of the event was to hang a piece of public art by local artist Rachi Farrow entitled "CONNECTIONS."
Rachi Farrow is a Vermont-based artist whose work is currently on display at the Christine Price Gallery in Vermont. She describes her art as, "I make art with stuff instead of throwing stuff away. It's how I recycle. At first I gathered flotsam and jetsam from roadsides, beaches, Dumpsters, trash cans, etc. I see something I can use, I take it to my studio.
According to Sharon Astle, "There is a whole story behind "Connections. The board of directors paid an individual to inspect our building to prioritize much needed repairs. He suggested we start by painting the buildings to reseal them against moisture. And because there are so many creative and clever people at the St. James City Civic Association, they took this 'problem' and made lemons into lemon aid. "
Rachi Farrow and her “CONNECTIONS” artwork, now hanging at the St. James City Civic Association.
She continued, "One of the first things they did was to email artist Rachi Farrow and asked the question, 'What can we do to make this place of destination into a village?' Farrow thought about it and decided that painting each building a different tropical color was the answer. This started the process of bringing the painting 'Connections' to the Saint James City Civic Association."
"It was in 1999 that I was asked to paint a sign for a business called the Golden Palms Resort in St. James City," Farrow said. "They said look at our sign and create something for us. When it was finished, the painting 'CONNECTIONS,' ended up being 4 feet by 8 feet. Once they saw it they decided not to buy it. It was so big I didn't know what to do with it so my friend Connie had a store three doors down from my studio and she named her place Connie's Connections and that's how the painting got its name."
Farrow continued, "She wanted to hang it on her business and so the painting stayed there, Connie and her husband moved up north and have since passed away. Then the building was sold and the painting just stayed there for years. This year two organizations asked for the painting simultaneously: The Calusa Land Trust and the St. James City Civic Association."
An arrangement was made where the Calusa Land Trust was offered another painting and "CONNECTIONS" would be hung at the St. James City Civic Association. Everyone at the event was asked to bring their glass of champagne and step out to the Ward lanai. Photos were taken of Farrow and her painting and everyone raised their glasses to toast the artist and the paintings new home.
"SJCCA is all about community and continuity," Farrow said. "It's the life center of St. James City. I cannot imagine living here without it. It ranks No. 1 in importance in my SJC life. Numbers 2 and 3 are the Eagles and Roy's Fish House. I'd be so sad if I lost any of these things. Since Connie and Tom have both passed, I feel the rehanging of the picture also memorializes the two of them. It is very special, and I'm very honored. And happy."
St. James City Civic Association is at Fourth Avenue and Lemon Street. Visit sjccapi.org, or like us on Facebook.