Misapprehension leads to wrongful apprehension at contain it!: Sarah Gail Hutcherson wants her artworks back

[image-1]"Over 50 of my original paintings were taken from my installation," Hutcherson said in an e-mail to CL.

"This body of work took over two years to complete. All I want is for my paintings to be returned. No questions asked. Please."

The misunderstanding stems from Hutcherson's artist statement at contain it!, a multimedia exhibition that makes use of PODS storage spaces.

In her statement, Hutcherson welcomed attendees to rearrange pieces inside her space — not take them.

Here's her statement:

Sarah Hutcherson was raised under the sun in St. Petersburg, Florida where she has established herself as an artist and freelance curator.

This series of vintage patterns, on raw wood, can be clustered or piece by piece hung alone, allowing creative movement for the individual to experiment with.  This is an essential part of Sarah Gail’s vision.  As pieces are taken away from the clusters it changes how the installation looks and allows the exhibit to continually evolve. One can take a piece or twenty and create their own creative cluster, which is why Sarah Gail feels purpose is greater than profit.

Sarah Gail has exhibited her work over the years including Art Basel Miami, Tampa Museum of Art, St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, and Vitale Gallery. Sarah Gail has also curated several group exhibitions for Vitale Studios and Roundhouse Gallery.

This series is aptly titled “Hard to Kill” as a silent salute to women who have fought or lost their battle against cancer. “Hard to Kill” is dedicated in memory of: Joann Derrig and in honor of Robin Menneke and Gail Hutcherson.

Unfortunately, many visitors, including neighboring artists at the Dunedin show, misinterpreted the words "one can take" as a solicitation, resulting in attendees literally taking pieces from the exhibit.

Adding to the confusion, visitors to the contain it! shows have become accustomed to small takeaways with certain installations, and some artists were indeed offering freebies during the March 11 show.

"We're certainly working with her to get her pieces back," said Ken Hannon, associate director of the Dunedin Fine Art Center."

Hannon said he has already contacted artists in the exhibition. He said some reacted with horror and embarrassment — and expressed willingness to cooperate.

If we can take away one positive from this situation,  it's that the prospect of owning an original by Hutcherson  — a well-known personality, arts supporter and accomplished individual in the local scene — seemed too tempting to resist.

DFAC's Hannon says that those returning Hutcherson works to the Dunedin Fine Art Center at 1143 Michigan Blvd. will be rewarded a free one-year membership to the center. For more info about the facility, visit dfac.org.

Here's a scenario that reminds us of the importance of clear instructions — or better reading skills.

The takeaway: If you have any of Sarah Gail Hutcherson's movable pieces from the contain it! show in Dunedin last Friday, please return them to her.  

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