Volume 4 Issue 1 | January 2024

As a Home Watch provider, we want each of your return trips to Sarasota to feel as refreshing as the first. Our "Piece of Paradise" newsletters provide a brief glimpse into Florida homeownership, followed by a featured activity for your next visit.

Homeowner Insight

If you or your friends are looking for a simple pneumonic device to reference when leaving your home for the season, try "ALL SET:"

  • Air conditioner is programmed
  • Lights are off
  • Liquid (water) valve is closed
  • Security is in place
  • Electronics are powered down
  • Trash has been removed

While this list isn't all-inclusive, it's a great starting point. Our preference is actually "ALL SETH" - the 'H' is a gentle last reminder to notify your Home Watch provider - but it doesn't quite capture the sentiment in the same way!

January Piece Of Paradise

Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy

If you've driven on US 41 north of Downtown Sarasota, you've likely been intrigued by the home of these dapper flamingo sculptures.

True to its name, the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy is not your everyday art museum. You won't find any paintings of "personal anguish" (as described by the museum's founder) here. To the contrary, the museum is "a Smiley Place."

Marietta Lee opened the doors of the museum in 2010, following her career as an emergency medical nurse and on-the-side artist. In the decade prior to opening the museum, she was caretaker to both her parents before they passed. These events made it clear to Marietta that caregivers - her generation, in particular - needed a place where they could find respite. Since that time she has curated a collection of locally- and globally- sourced artwork that uses joy to inspire and humor to heal.

A handful of docents greeted individual groups as we entered the museum.

Marietta has spent years visiting outdoor art festivals and other venues to carefully select artwork that meets the Whimsy standard. Ninety-eight percent of the museum's art is owned by the museum, and the other 2 percent is on loan from Marietta's personal collection. The exhibits include painted works, mixed mediums, and sculpture in a variety of materials.

Marietta Lee poses after delivering a Founder's Talk.

We were fortunate to catch a Founder's Talk from Marietta during our visit. Her story was a meandering stroll down memory lane, delightfully absent of any rigid structure or inside-the-box protocols. It appropriately queued visitors to let go of their expectations and take time to appreciate each step through the museum.

We didn't think to record the artist's name, but this Sarasota version of Starry Night is displayed next to a companion piece of beautiful daytime Sarasota.

Although there are works from the area's beloved Florida Highwaymen, you generally won't find artists from the history books here. As their website points out, most of the artists featured in the museum are still alive. Several regularly deliver Artist's Talks. You will find themes like Sarasota/Florida, fantasy & surrealism, humor, colors/movement, and cats.

Visitors can dress themselves in bright colors and vibrant textures to feel at one with their surroundings (or just to embrace the youthful sensation of being silly.)

Whether the piece you're examining is big or small, the personality here is larger than life. If you're looking for a carefree escape from the mundane, we highly recommend a visit to Marietta's Museum of Art and Whimsy!

Did someone say larger than life?

Nearby or Similar Considerations

For years the community of Matlacha (pronounced mat-luh-shay) on Pine Island has been a destination for artists and art lovers. Pine Island is about 90 minutes from north Sarasota. Perhaps the biggest draw was artist Leoma Lovegrove, whose work embodies the same joie de vivre as the Museum of Art and Whimsy (several of her works are on display at the museum). Unfortunately, news articles indicate that Leoma's home and gallery were destroyed by Hurricane Ian in 2022; her new gallery will likely be in Downtown Fort Myers.

Other nearby venues for local artists include the Towles Court Artist Colony in Downtown Sarasota and the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood.

Learn more about our Home Watch services, Florida homeownership, and activity ideas in and around the Sarasota area on the Coastal Haven website. For additional photos and information on this month's featured attractions, follow our Facebook or Instagram accounts.

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