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.
While the Coes have since retired from curator duties, we are happy to announce the appointment of our new curator, Susan "Suze" Lavender. Suze Lavender 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.
The Galleries at First Pres
The current display, The 4th Anniversary Art Installation at the Galleries at First Pres, includes Robert Berran, Sheila Lougheed, and Pamela Tan Siddall. Tours will be available with an opportunity to meet the artists in attendance. The art galleries are located in the Gietz Music Suite, the Lobby of the Center for Christian Life, and the E. T. Smith Lounge. Please be aware that the CDC recommended social distancing and safety protocols continue to be in place for the health and safety of all who come to our church campus.
Robert Lee Berran was born in Mt. Vernon, New York on December 24, 1923, and was raised in Scarsdale, New York. He served as a combat medic in the United States Army during World War II from 1943 to 1946 with General Patton's Third Army in Europe. Before going into the service, Bob studied with famous anatomy teacher George Bridgeman. After the war, he studied at the Art Student’s League in New York City from 1947 to 1950 under the G. I. Bill with well-known artists Arnold Bank, Howard Trafton, and Frank Reilly. After leaving the Art Students League Bob followed his friend Jimmy Bama to 20th Century Fox in New York City where he painted movie posters on a freelance basis, and joined The Illustrators Group. He had the opportunity to learn from his mentor Jack Wittrup as well as from Nick Hufford, Bob Skemp, Al Kortner, and Vic Livoti. The work done at The Illustrators Group was for prestigious clients such as Ford and Coca- Cola. Berran also worked for other art studios like Ross Art, Chate and Shaw-Barton Calendar House. In 1969, he began to paint paperback book covers for Regency romance, Ballantine, Harlequin, Fawcett, and Ace, among others. He worked with Mendola LTD and Hankins-Tegenborg, both artists representatives, for 17 years and 11 years, respectively. In 1995, Berran began working for Quadriga Art and worked until his retirement, painting his religious artwork which has always been his first love as an artist. He also enjoyed painting portraits of adults, children and animals. Bob met Suzanne Marie Culbertson at the Art Students League and they were married in 1952. They have three children: Kathryn, Kristine, and Scott, and three grandchildren: Kathryn, Eddie, and Irene. Bob and Suzanne moved to Vero Beach in 2004. Mr. Berran passed away on January 15, 2020, at the age of 96.
Sheila Lougheed's earliest memory of painting was when she was two-years-old. Her dad had bought his first house in Danbury, CT. Sheila found some red paint and set to work gleefully painting anything she could: the garage, the dog, the barn. She wondered why her dad did not share her enthusiasm. In the second grade of Catholic school, Sheila and her classmates were told to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up. While most of the students drew pictures of nuns and priests, Sheila drew a picture of a cartoonist for Mad Magazine. Her mother got a concerned call from The Mother Superior. Still, she was not dissuaded. Her ebullient paintings reflect the influence of O'Keeffe's erotic rhythm and Pollack's spontaneity and application of layers. Since moving to Florida, Sheila has been working closely with world-renowned artist, Frits van Eeden. His influence has greatly impacted her work. Saint Sebastian Catholic Church commissioned two large paintings depicting The Pentecost and The Ascension into Heaven- one of those paintings, a 12-foot tall painting of a dove signifying the Pentecost, now resides in the lobby stairway of the Center for Christian Life at First Presbyterian Church along with many more of her works. Many murals with Sheila's signature can be seen throughout Vero Beach, Sebastian, and Naples, FL.
Pamela Siddall was born in Toledo, Ohio. As a young child, she learned to draw under the guidance of her father, the architect of Bowling Green State University. She went on to earn a degree in fine art from this university. She has lived in Vero Beach for more than twenty-five years, and has worked as an interior designer and as an events producer. Pamela is an entrepreneur, who has owned and operated a giftwrap design and manufacturing company as well as a retail store (The Blue Dog), which offered home design and accent furnishings, many of her own design. For the last ten years, she has focused on painting. She works predominately in oil and is also fluent in acrylic, watercolor, and mixed media.
The Galleries at First Pres feature a wide variety of works by local artists, on rotation throughout the year. The Galleries are located throughout the campus of First Presbyterian Church, 520 Royal Palm Boulevard, Vero Beach; they are open for viewing from 12pm to 3pm Monday through Thursday, and on Sunday mornings between church services. Admission is free and open to the community. The church requires all visitors to wear masks and practice social distancing while on campus.