FAU to Host First-Ever History of Florida Surfing Exhibition
BOCA RATON, FL (March 2, 2012) - The University Galleries in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University will present the landmark exhibition, “Surfing Florida: A Photographic History,” beginning Saturday, March 17 through Saturday, May 12. The exhibition has been developed for the past three years by University Galleries Director W. Rod Faulds and Paul Aho, the exhibition’s curator, a lifelong Florida surfer and head of photography and digital imaging at the Paducah School of Art.
A series of programs and events will take place the opening weekend. The first event is an exhibition introduction on Friday, March 16 at 6:30 p.m. by Steve Pezman, co-founder and co-publisher of Surfers Journal and former editor and publisher of Surfermagazine, surfing’s longest published magazine. This lecture will lead into the opening reception with performances by Cutback and GuyHarvey.
On Saturday, March 17 at 10 a.m. there will be presentations by Steve Erdman of the Palm Beach County Historical Society Museum, Debi Murray of the Palm Beach County Historical Society Museum and Susan Gillis of the Boca Raton Historical Society. At 1:30 p.m., Darrell Jones, Tony Aruzza and Bruce Walder will present slide shows and video on the history of surfing in South Florida. Finally, at 4 p.m., Mark Long, historian at the University of Central Florida, will present “Florida’s Pre-Surfing Maritime History.”
“Surfing Florida” presents the history of Florida surfing through contributions from more than 50 photographers from Florida standouts like Tom Dugan and Richard Meserrol to internationally known photographers Jeff Divine and Steve Wilkings. Several other photographers of note, such as Gean Baron, M.E. Gruber and John Tate are also included along with younger photographers, such as Nic Lugo and Ryan Gamma. Hundreds of surfers in and out of Florida have formally and informally influenced the project’s development and content. The exhibition at FAU will also include historical surfboards representing Florida’s 80 year-old surfing history.
The exhibition presents Florida’s surfing history through seven regional sections – five on the east coast and two on the Gulf Coast - and several theme-oriented sections. The thematic sections such as “The Sunshine State,” “Spiritual Dimensions in Surfing” and “Environmentalism and Surfing” have been informed by contributions from six humanities scholars in association with a grant the project received from the Florida Humanities Council. Surfing Florida will employ “media stations” to present film, video, music and interviews with historic surfers. These media stations will present a wide variety of media in an interactive format to allow viewers to discover or remember aspects of surf culture and Florida surf history. Many Hollywood films, notably “Gidget” (1959), have influenced the public’s perception of surfers and surfing while since the 1960s documentary films representing surfer’s perspectives have been a mainstay of surf culture. The media stations will also include vintage 8mm footage, historical documentaries constructed from such footage by Will Lucas, and excerpts of several oral history interviews conducted in association with “Surfing Florida.”
“Surfing Florida: A Photographic History” comes at a time when surfers throughout the world are beginning to seriously document this vital sport and lifestyle through books, museums and surfing history organizations. While Florida is part of this movement, it is also challenged by its reputation for lackluster surf. Yet, because of the inconsistent surf, surfers from Florida share an insatiable hunger for waves and an aggressive approach to the sport that has resulted in an incredible number of world titles for Florida’s competitive surfers and a deep cultural history. “Surfing Florida” has sought out and collaborated with many individuals and organizations from Florida’s statewide surfing community involved with archiving and documenting Florida’s surf history.
The University Galleries are open Tuesdays through Fridays, from 1 to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. Group and class tours are welcome and can be arranged by appointment during public and alternative hours. The exhibition and related programs and events are free and open to the public. Produced as a traveling exhibition by Faulds and student assistants, Surfing Florida will also be presented at the Pensacola Museum of Art in the summer.
“Surfing Florida” is made possible in part by grants from the Florida Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Palm Beach County Cultural Council and the Roslin Family Foundation. Printing services for the project are courtesy of Konica Minolta Business Solutions and Eastern Surf magazine serves as the media sponsor.
For more information, call 561-297-2966 or visit www.fau.edu/galleries.
-FAU-Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.