Florida Humanities Speakers Directory

2021 Florida Humanities Speakers Directory

Engaging Speakers, Compelling Topics, and Thought-provoking Discussions

Welcome to the Florida Humanities’ Speakers Directory, a curated collection of the Sunshine State’s best and brightest experts, scholars, journalists, folklorists and more, poised to bring engaging presentations and conversations right to your local community.

Florida Humanities is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Partnering with nonprofit organizations across the state, Florida Humanities funds a wide variety of grants and public programming that explores Florida’s rich history and culture.

How to use this directory:

Using this directory, organizations can connect with these experts to bring a wide variety of compelling humanities programming to their community.  Speakers can engage the public is several ways:

Florida Talks

Speakers may be asked to give a program for one of our Florida Talks partners. Florida Talks offers nonprofit organizations an easy, inexpensive way to host informative and thought-provoking presentations across the state.

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Community Project Grants

Speakers may be contacted to participate as a scholar, presenter, or panelist for a Florida Humanities-funded Community Project Grant. These grants support a variety of humanities programming based on the specific needs of a community.

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Museum on Main Street

Speakers may be asked to give a program that complements the theme of one of our Museum on Main Street exhibits. These exhibits travel to small and underserved communities and explore a variety of humanities topics.

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Please Note: Speakers on this directory have agreed to a capped speaking fee of no more than $300 for a Florida Humanities-funded event. This fee does not include travel, so be sure to discuss those details as you plan your event.

2021 Speakers Directory

Back to all programs » Visual Arts
Photo of Kevin Boldenow Kevin Boldenow Photographer

Contact the Speaker

Contact Number:
561-722-2715

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

Download Speaker Listing

About the speaker

Kevin Boldenow’s life-long passion for photography began the moment he picked up his parents’ Brownie camera. Since that time, Kevin has built a career as a professional photographer specializing in 35mm, medium format, and digital landscape and figurative imagery. In addition to his native Michigan, Kevin has lived in five states, including Texas, New Jersey, and Virginia, before moving to Florida in 1996.

Programs Available

Vanishing Florida – A Visual and Literal Story of Florida’s Lost Wilderness and History

Through the use of historical information, poetry, and famous quotes, Boldenow captures Florida’s diminishing wilderness both visually and literally. It’s part of his current project and exhibits titled “Vanishing Florida – A Visual and Literal Story of Florida’s Lost Wilderness and History.”

Photo of Sharon Koskoff Sharon Koskoff Mural Artist, Preservationist, Educator and Designer

Contact the Speaker

Contact Number:
561-699-7899

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

Download Speaker Listing

About the speaker

A full-time mural artist, designer, author, educator and preservationist, Koskoff enjoys creating large-scale, community-based art in public places. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Delray Beach, Florida, in 1985. As an architectural historian and president of the Art Deco Society of the Palm Beaches, Koskoff wrote her first book, Art Deco of the Palm Beaches for Arcadia Publishing. Her most recent book, Murals of the Palm Beaches is winner of two Silver Medals; one in Visual Arts from the Florida Book Awards and one in Education from the Florida Authors & Publishers Association. Koskoff teaches Mixed Media Collage for the Creative Arts School at Old School Square in Delray Beach.

Programs Available

Art Deco Architecture of the Palm Beaches

Learn about Art Deco style and architecture found in South Florida. Dozens of Art Deco architectural treasures have been discovered and identified in Palm Beach County. Learn about history, culture and understand how reflection of the past can help us move into the future. Other Art Deco presentations can include highlights from Miami, New York, Buenos Aires, Toronto, Egypt, France, and more.

Confessions of a Public Mural Artist

Sharon Koskoff is a pioneer of public art and has painted over 350 murals in Palm Beach County public schools and other public spaces. Discover creativity found in Twentieth-Century WPA style murals through the present. Explore how recent graffiti-styled “street art” murals are adorning our neighborhoods in Florida and bringing us into the future.

Habana Deco: Art and Architecture of Cuba

Take a visual journey with Sharon Koskoff from her recent excursion to Havana, during the 14th Annual Art Deco World Congress. The city of Havana is home to an endless treasure trove of art, Art Deco architecture and culture; however, the infrastructure is poor with everything at risk. Compare our South Florida architecture and society to that of our closest international neighbor, Cuba.

Photo of Mallory O’Connor Mallory O’Connor Scholar

Contact the Speaker

Contact Number:
352-466-3711

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

Download Speaker Listing

About the speaker

Mallory O’Connor is a writer, an art historian, and a musician. She holds degrees in art, art history, and American history from Ohio University. For twenty years she taught art history at the University of Florida and at Santa Fe College. During this time, she also wrote hundreds of magazine articles and critical essays, and curated numerous exhibitions for museums and galleries. She is the author of two non-fiction books, Lost Cities of the Ancient Southeast and Florida’s American Heritage River, both published by the University Press of Florida.

As director of the Thomas Center Gallery, the primary cultural center of the City of Gainesville from 1984-1994 and the Santa Fe College Art Gallery from 1994-1999, Professor O’Connor organized numerous exhibitions including highly successful shows on Florida art and history.

Programs Available

Before Bartram: Artist-Naturalist Mark Catesby

Mark Catesby surveyed Florida sixty-two years before William Bartram. This lecture is an overview of the over 200 watercolors and drawings which, along with field notes and hundreds of preserved specimens constituted one of the earliest and certainly one of the most comprehensive systematic studies of the flora and fauna of southeastern North America.

Billy’s Wonderful Performances: The Art and Science of William Bartram

This lecture explores the art of William Bartram and especially the images that are based on his travels in the Southeast between 1765 and 1775. Working under often extreme conditions, undeterred by raging rivers, wild beasts, exotic diseases, and hostile natives, Bartram covered thousands of miles throughout the Southeast and drew, painted and described hundreds of plants and animals, and provided maps and field notes that formed the basis for America’s natural history.

Strangers in a Strange Land: Picturing Florida’s History through Art

“Look” for Florida in this lecture of the many eccentric images that tell the story of our state. Strangers in a Strange Land explores Florida’s art history and rich visual mythology. These images span centuries of time and attest to both the vivid imagination of the artists and the equally flamboyant narratives centered on our state.

Photo of Sandra Starr Sandra Starr Scholar, Researcher, Art Historian, Curator

Contact the Speaker

Contact Number:
703-801-7281

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

Download Speaker Listing

About the speaker

Her interest in the history of Florida, and the art and history of the American Indians of the Western Hemisphere, led her to the Smithsonian Institution where she assisted in planning the grand opening of the National Museum of the
American Indian.

Programs Available

Indians at the Post Office:
Murals as Public Art: A 21st- Century-Look at New Deal-era Post Office Murals

In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal had sponsored several art programs to help get people back to work and to restore confidence in a nation facing 25 percent unemployment. His intent was to install public art in federal buildings, intended to “help boost the morale of people suffering the effects of the Great Depression.” Fine art murals are on the walls of more than 700 post offices nationwide, usually above the postmaster’s office door. Fine art originals depicting scenes of the history of that town or the state. Standing frozen in time, post office murals hold on their surfaces, visual, autobiographic essays of how America saw itself, considered its minorities, and presented its heroes as the Nation moved from a rural to an industrialized society.

Beauty from the Ashes:
American Indian Art as Witness to American History

There is a certain feeling one has about an object imbued with both beauty and history: a pot used, a moccasin worn, a doll carried. The art of the American Indian not only expresses the creativity and purpose of the makers, but also contains an aura that transports us to critical periods in North American Indian and American history when native artists chose to continue to create beautiful things that would survive their lives of chaos, displacement, and poverty. If an object could speak, it might say: “That which did not kill me made me stronger.” When I approach an object, I know that each component material brings with it a different historical reference—all bound together into another form—by hands that were continually witnessing community manipulation, daily loss, betrayal, and random acts of aggression.

The Pre-Columbian Bird-man:
Ancient Art History as Evidence of a Sacred Bird-Man Deity of Maize Agriculture

This presentation follows Ms. Starr’s 17-year investigation into the meaning of a 2000-year-old golden diadem unearthed at a burial site in the Pacific Coastal area of Paracas, Peru. The diadem depicted a man with wings. Her research has taken her on a virtual journey north from Peru and Bolivia following visual clues into the Pre-Columbian art history of South and Central America, Mexico, the rim of the Gulf, and north along rivers to as far as the Lakes Region of North America. Evidence of such a Bird Man was also found in Florida and the Caribbean resulting in the gathering of images of over 900 objects created by ancient indigenous peoples depicting a singular flying deity of agriculture. Contemporary Indigenous peoples still revere him as an iconic part of their celebrations and ceremonies. Her investigation is ongoing.

Turbans, Wigs, Crowns, and Authority:
Headwear and Power in American Indian History

The Florida Museum of Natural History holds in its collections an example of contemporary Seminole male headwear referred to as a turban. At first glance, it appears to be a simply made device of colored cotton fabric wrapped around a cardboard form, then encircled by a metal band as a crown-like decoration. The turban is adorned with a feather. But its simplicity belies a vast depth of storied historic and even prehistoric implications. Its value as a signifier of cultural individuality and power reaches back millennia. The meaning of headgear in the Western Hemisphere can be found throughout recorded time, serving across 2,500 years as a culture and social-status signifier, a carrying device, a height enhancer, an indicator of king or queenship, an international trendsetter, and possibly a signal for the intention of war or peace.

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