Biloxi’s female light keepers worked heroically during most of these tumultuous years. Biloxi’s female keepers have more years of service than female keepers at other lighthouses.
Shattering the Lens exhibit Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island, New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. It is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Light” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford.
For more information on the exhibit, visit elainemariearttist.com.
Completed in 1887, it took over a million bricks to build the Ponce de Leon lighthouse.
Nestled in Ponce de Leon inlet, Florida’s tallest lighthouse quietly beckons you to a day of adventure. Ponce de Leon Lighthouse is the second tallest Lighthouse on the east coast. It stands head and shoulders above most other lighthouses in statue and possibly in what it offers the casual visitor. This large campus has so much to explore.
Enjoy a delightful introduction to the lighthouse at the Woodshed Video Theater. Firewood and other supplies were once kept in this building by the Second Assistant Keeper’s family.
Explore the original Keepers dwellings. See exhibits on the lives of the keepers and their families. Race fans will revel in the exhibits on the history of Beach racing.
View an amazing collection of lighthouse lens. The magnificent rotating first order Fresnel lens from Cape Canaveral Lighthouse is on display here.
Brace yourself for spectacular view as you scale Florida’s tallest lighthouse.
After falling in the Gulf of Mexico, Cape St. George Lighthouse was restored. Be a part of efforts to save Florida’s lighthouses. Visit one of Florida’s iconic lighthouses during April for Florida’s Lighthouse celebration. Admission fees, memberships and donations help maintain lighthouses.Only 29 Florida lighthouses remain and five of them have been declared excess by the US Coast Guard. Lighthouses have played a critical role in Florida’s history; making it possible to explore, settle and develop Florida’s 1350 miles of coastland according to the Florida Lighthouse Association’s website. Check out events at these lighthouses.
April 6-Ponce de Leon Lighthouse Day
Celebrate Florida’s tallest lighthouse. Enjoy festivities and see a reenactor. Learn about the daily activities of lightkeepers. Explore workshops for children and families.
April 13-Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Gasparilla Lighthouse Climb
Double your fun on this one special day of the year when you can climb both lighthouses. Cool down with lemonade, cake and more after the climb. Reserve climbs in advance. Space is limited.
April 13- Cape Florida Baynanza
Volunteers help landscape the grounds of Cape Florida during Miami’s Baynanza celebration. Baynanza celebrates Biscayne Bay and its significance as one of South Florida’s most important ecological systems at various locations.
April 20- Anclote Key Lighthouse Open House
Climb the lighthouse for a panoramic view of the pristine island. Buy a memorial brick and memorabilia to support the lighthouse.
Visit my website for more information on Florida lighthouses. elainemarieartist.com
Built in 1881, Gasparilla Light is restored thanks to efforts by the local community, businesses, grants and the Barrier Island Parks Society. The non profit spearheaded the decades long task. The society received The Florida Trust Award for outstanding achievement.
The lighthouse shines after receiving a replica of the original 4th order Fresnel lens and being recommissioning by the US Coast Guard. Visitors can now climb the lighthouse and celebrate the view and restoration.
In Miami Beach, I discovered the Art Deco District and how it came into being because of the passion and foresight of one woman, Barbara Capitman, a New Yorker. She was the force behind the creation of the Miami Design Preservation League. This non profit organization is responsible for the Miami Art Deco District becoming the first 20th Century neighborhood to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. Through their hard work an entire neighborhood was saved from demolition.
It was in Miami that I began painting landscape architecture, Art Deco buildings. Previously, I only painted portraits. My art and passion for history found a new voice. As I finished painting and exhibiting the Art Deco buildings, I began wondering what my next step would be.
Thinking about my trips to the beach as a child and my love of history, lighthouses became my new subject matter. As I researched lighthouses, I learned how they were in dire need of preservation due to neglect. After years of faithful service, these guardians of sea were deemed excess property by the government and irrelevant in terms of navigation. I wanted to help change that perception through my paintings. Not only would I paint lighthouses, I would promote lighthouses for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.
So this is where I am now. First the rats, then the roaches, then the artists.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal by their Creator, that they are endowed with certain inalienable Rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Lofty words from the US Constitution. I read somewhere that the “Pursuit of Happiness” is written in Americans’ DNA—we are wired never to be content. To always be grasping for something more, is this the American Dream? Or perhaps it is the foundation of our capitalist society. Or maybe it is what propels that American spirit within us to achieve the greater good.
I thought of this recently as I prepared for my Retrospective Exhibit called the “Pursuit of Happiness.” Sometimes times we are like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz looking for happiness in distant places. But often our happiness is found within arms reach or by the click of two heels. I’ve traveled the world pursuing happiness only to find it eluding me. Now, however I’ve discovered that for me happiness is simplicity. It is a life devoid of the distractions of consumerism and just simply pursuing God, serving others and quietly dipping my brush in paint.