As president of the Florida Women’s Art Association, LC Tobey wanted to present a spring exhibit that had never been done before at the Museum of Arts and Sciences.
And in turn, she thought about her 2019 trip to Paris. Umbrella art installations are quite common. During her journey, Tobey had the chance to experience one, a memory that resurfaced once she took over as head of FLWAA, which has more than 100 artists. But what would make their exhibit remarkable is that, unlike most such installations, which are made up of clusters of colorful umbrellas, the FLWAAs would be individually painted.
“I like to stretch people,” Tobey said with a laugh. “And I said to them, ‘You’ve never done an installation before, so I’m going to stretch you. … So we brought the umbrellas and said, ‘We want you to stretch your imagination and do this setup and we want you to use the umbrella as a canvas.'”
Thus, the exhibition “The color of the rain” at MOAS was born. It opened on March 26 and will run until May 22. According to a press release, the exhibition invites visitors to reflect: “How do you conceive of color when it rains? listening to the sounds of rain, sponsored by CitiSound.
“Rain doesn’t really have a color,” Tobey said. “But what I challenged the artists to do was give their interpretation on their umbrella canvas of what the rain looks like when it hits the color because it works like a magnifying glass – it doesn’t only enlarges the color and it makes the colors brighter and darker and Deeper.”
A total of 44 artists contributed to the exhibit, about half of them from Ormond Beach.
Local artist Teri Althouse painted one of the show’s rainbow floral umbrellas, a collaboration with three other artists, and as someone who typically works in a different medium than most – inks alcohol – working with an umbrella as a canvas was a difficult project.
“The inks work really well on the umbrellas, but you always wonder, ‘Is this going to hold? Will it last? Will there be any issues later?'” Althouse said . “But the whole experience was really, really fun.”
And why a floral rainbow for her inspiration? Althouse said it’s because rainbows emerge after rain. Collaborating with the other artists was also a great experience and she enjoyed seeing their varied artistic expressions come together.
Seeing the exhibit come together at the end was overwhelming, she added.
“It was more than I expected,” she said. “It was so beautiful, and there were so many different ideas and different artistic interpretations of the color of the rain. It was almost emotional.”
Walk in a dream
From the start, Tobey had a clear idea of what the exhibition would look like. She took it as a sign that, despite the challenge, he would come together.
“My grandma used to say, ‘If you can see it, it’s gonna happen,'” Tobey said.
Umbrellas were selected for the show and 48 were selected. Some artists, she shared, still couldn’t imagine the end result when they dropped off their pieces. Many were left speechless when they saw him at the opening reception on March 28.
“I was smiling ear to ear because I had seen it in my mind, I had imagined it – but to actually see it born and come to life… it was like a dream,” Tobey said. “I walked into a dream, and it’s so nice to have so many people believing in you to make it a reality.”
Tobey doesn’t have an umbrella in the show, but she does have a sculpture.
As her husband helped remove the umbrella handles from some parts, she looked at them and began to think, deciding that she would do something with the 22 handles. Tobey, who in addition to painting and photography is also a glass artist, glued the handles in a puddle of Plexiglas. The sculpture is part of the exhibition.
“I like to do fun things, and I think some people have caught on to that,” she said. “They just walked over and started laughing.”