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 The Galleries at First Pres

The Galleries at First Pres began in January of 2017 and was founded by Dr. Jacob Craig, with Peter and Carole Coe as curators. Their mission is to feature a wide variety of works by local artists, on rotation quarterly throughout the year. The Galleries are located throughout the campus of First Presbyterian Church. They are open for viewing from 12pm to 3pm, Monday through Thursday. Guided tours are available Wednesdays between 3pm and 5pm. Admission is free and open to the community.

Our current curator is Mrs. Susan "Suze" Lavender. Suze was born and raised on the south shore of Long Island, NY. Her two loves were always Art and the Sea. She loves to draw and paint moments to release emotions. Although she has never been formally trained in Art, except for the odd class in a variety of different mediums, her art shows a natural talent and beauty that exhibits a deep love and the heart and soul she puts into her work. Since meeting and studying under Frits Van Eeden in the last five years, she feels that he has opened up a window of what could be. Suze’s art now has the energy, emotion, color, and passion that she’s always strived to put on canvas. Suze says, “I have been an artist my entire life, but I have had no formal training until recently. I knew I had so much to say and had no idea how to transfer my thoughts onto canvas. There was a time when I viewed photographic and detailed production as the epitome of artistry. Gratefully, that is no longer the case. My New York upbringing is especially present in my cityscapes, and I've discovered how to communicate my ideas emotionally through textures, color choice, and subject. I've yet to travel the world however my paintings have created a world for me.”

Our Artist in Residence, Sheila Lougheed, has some of her artwork displayed throughout campus. Her most recent religious-inspired works can be found lining the stairwell of the Center for Christian Life- a 7-painting series that was created live during Sunday services in the Lenten Season of 2018. Each piece represents a different theme during the period of Lent. The final work of this series is a 12-foot tall painting of a dove to represent to resurrection and rebirth of Christ. 

6th Anniversary Art Show

January 15, 2023 through March 31, 2023

The Galleries at First Pres will offer an opening reception of the Sixth Anniversary Art Show on Sunday, January 15, 2023, from 2:00 to 4:00pm. The show will feature the works of local artists Jean Breeding, Cathleen Hahn, and George Kofas. The galleries are located throughout the campus of First Presbyterian Church at 520 Royal Palm Boulevard in Vero Beach. Admission is free, light refreshments will be provided.

Jean Breeding’s journey as an artist began in photography, weddings, and glamour.  Her home in the mountains and love of nature prompted her to pursue wildflower preservation.  She photographed many wildflowers, several on the endangered species list, and was chosen to judge photography contests.  Studying with several art teachers, she developed skills to apply nature and people on canvas.  Her experiences developed into a business, “Tranquil Nature.”  Many of her nature prints are displayed in businesses and institutions throughout Kentucky and Florida. When invited to display her art, Breeding immediately thought “WOMEN of VALOR” as a title of her show.  It encompasses the women she has known, past and present.  Outstanding women of different ethnic backgrounds, careers, and possessing qualities of perseverance and determination. All paintings are real people whose life stories exhibit strength, courage, and a strong desire not only to survive, but thrive.  Their struggles include a rainbow of sicknesses, abuse, rejection, and loss of children.

Cathleen Hahn was raised in Roselle, NJ and began winning art competitions at an early age. She attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, yet completed her formal education in MA where she graduated cum laude with a degree in psychology. These divergent interests led to the creation of an advertising and graphic design business which she maintained for 10 years. Upon returning to her native NJ, she focused her efforts in working with nonprofits and soon became the director of a local women's crisis center.  In 1992, after the fall of communism, she left for Kiev, Ukraine and established Gloria Ministries Crisis Center for Women named after her Ukranian mother. Five years later and back in the United States Cathleen became certified to teach fine art. Finally, in 2012 after leaving teaching, she earnestly began to develop the gift within her and she began to paint professionally.  Currently, Cathleen lives and paints out of her studio on Hutchinson Island.

The work of George Kofas is about Spiritual issues: The Temporal and the Eternal. There are two major ideologies in the art world today. One of these ideologies concerns itself only with the Physical world. Much of Post-Modernist art, in conjunction with the Art-for-Art’s Sake philosophy abides in this tradition. Such art exists within limited perimeters and has no greater purpose. However, another ideology concerns itself with Spiritual issues and the relationship which exists between the Physical and the Spiritual. The work of Caspar David Friedrich, Wassily Kandinsky and Mark Rothko would be such an example. The work of George Kofas attempts to explore issues regarding the interrelationship existing between the Physical and the Spiritual realms and attempts to present various components of the Spiritual. 

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