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Arts and Eats

The Art of Our Neighbor, Helen Ashmead

Etching - Hand Colored slumbering angel

It's been a long time since we did a “mystery tour." But we are back on track and this was a positive way to start again. I was leader on this one.

Our primary destination for the day was the Jewish Community Center at 8505 San Jose Blvd to see an art exhibition presented by one of our neighbors, Helen Ashmead. The show was presented in the VanDroff Gallery Promenade which features rotating art exhibitions.

The exhibition runs until the end of August and is well worth a visit.

Wall art gallery Jewish Community Center Jacksonville

We have seen some of Helen’s work before, but this was an opportunity to view much more of her talents in many different media: watercolors, pastels, oil on canvas, etchings with and without watercolor, linoblock, acrylic on canvas and giclees (prints on canvas, wood, glass, tiles, etc).

We were not surprised at the quality of her work because we knew she is a nationally recognized artist with pictures in many venues and collections around the country.

Incidentally, Helen is a member of a book club based in our neighborhood and her artistic sensibility translates well in her careful and perceptive reading of the selections our group chooses from among modern and ancient literature.

She is well-educated in art and art history and her work here testified to those accomplishments. She holds a BFA from The University of Connecticut and has completed graduate studies at the Hartford Art School of the University of Hartford, studying under the renowned artist Rudolf Zallinger of Yale University. We really enjoyed her use of vibrant colors evoking her love of nature and her joy in representing the flora and fauna abounding in Florida.

And as an aside, before we went to the art exhibit, we had lunch at a restaurant new to our neighborhood but not to the city, the Village Bread Café. This new spot is modern, well laid out with small tables and community tables. The colors are light grey and white. Colorful sayings adorn the walls where you walk to the menu board and then place your order. Service was prompt and our selections proved excellent: 1/2 tuna salad sandwich and ½ Caesar salad for Kay and half a curry chicken salad sandwich and half a portion of mixed green salad for me. Very hot outside on this day (in the high 90s) so the cool salads were a refreshing choice for both of us.

Both spirit and body were refreshed by this mystery tour.

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