‘Art & Autos’ show to rev up downtown scene

Home » Arts & Entertainment
Posted July 23, 2021 | By Julie Garisto, Special to the Ocala Gazette

Teddy Sykes is shown working on his painting Enigma. Sykes is one of the artists scheduled to be at the Art & Autos show. [Submitted by Teddy Sykes]

Turbo-charged with emerging talent, the Magnolia Arts Xchange’s new “Art & Autos” show will test the limits of what we can expect from a public art experience this Saturday.

MAX resident artists Ryan Neumann, Andres Garcia, Brendon Wade, Amanda Lyon, and Teddy Sykes, will be showing their latest works inside the downtown arts incubator’s gallery while car collector Joe Egizio parks his vintage beauties outside. MAX and The Culture Curators are co-presenting the event.

Touted as a yin and yang muscle-meets-the-mind aesthetic experience, Art & Autos was conceived to appeal to people with wide-ranging tastes, said Jesse James, The Culture Curators co-founder and Magnolia Arts Xchange interim director.

The online publisher and arts leader aspires to incite interest and enliven downtown pedestrian life with his organizations’ events, catalyzing the city’s reputation as a cultural destination.

“The whole premise behind Culture Curators is matching together cultures and lifestyles and everything that includes,” James said.

Two years ago, the Ocala native joined forces with friend and photographer Dave Miller to start the lifestyle and arts publication that merges journalism with an influencer vibe, appealing to people of all ages and interests. Miller is a frequent contributor to Ocala Style and his photos have appeared in the Ocala Gazette, which are both owned by Magnolia Media Co.

The duo has co-presented shows with MAX in the past including the recent “Native Aliens” exhibit; “Creative Soles,” a sneaker-themed exhibit (James says he has a massive shoe collection) and “Inked,” a tattoo-art event.

On July 22, the Curators hosted Art Meets Real Estate II, a showcase of local art and homes for sale, providing exposure for artists at open houses.

According to James, tapping into a multifaceted influencer mindset and pairing different aspects of civic life with the arts will hopefully bring up Ocala’s arts imprimatur a few notches.

Dewey Dougherty’s 1962 custom-made truck will be featured at the Art & Autos show. [Submitted by Joe Egizio]

The idea of diversifying and collaborating is very 21st century, according to the research firm Kinsey & Company. Their researchers call the emerging generation “hypercognitive” and they’re comfortable with collecting and cross-referencing many sources of information and integrating virtual and offline experiences.”

The city’s recent arts implementation plan, approved by the Ocala City Council in November, piggybacks on this theory. It identifies multiple ‘collective partnership’ opportunities with various nonprofit entities.

The arts and culture industry generates $27.5 billion in revenue to local, state and federal governments—a yield well beyond their collective $5 billion in arts allocations, according to the Florida Department of State, citing the nationwide study, Arts and Economic Prosperity 5: Economic Impact of the Nonprofit Arts & Culture Industry.

Ocala’s arts scene continues to evolve in establishing its own cultural footprint like other metros on the rise, including the emerging St. Petersburg metro art scene.

With groups including the Culture Curators, MAX, the Marion Cultural Alliance, NOMA Gallery, the Appleton Museum and others, the local art scene continues to expand.

“We kind of draw from all over the place as far as inspiration and influence, and I’m carrying that over into the MAX,” James said. “What we’re doing here essentially is bringing in and merging different creative aspects. As you know, there’s art in everything.”

Art & Autos premieres with an opening exhibition at the Magnolia Art Xchange, 531 NE 1st Ave., on July 24, from 7 to 10 p.m. The event is free to attend.

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