Tallahassee Museum Helps Connect the FSU Master Craftsman Studio with the James T. Gary Foundation
Brought to life in 1979, Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs exhibition of large, colorful sculptures of dinosaurs, made from discarded automobile parts, began an amazing journey around the world. The exhibit traveled nationally and internationally to museums and universities; was used as sets for films, plays, and operas; was presented as exhibits for national auto shows and racing events; and was presented as landscape displays in the most elegant of botanical gardens, such as Longwood Gardens on the Pierre S. du Pont estate.
In 1993, the exhibition made its southeastern U.S. debut at the Tallahassee Museum and then continued on it world-wide tour. In 2006, internationally noted artist Jim Gary, died at the early age of 66. Later, the James T. Gary Foundation was established and efforts were pursued to preserve his memory, art and his Twentieth Century Dinosaurs exhibition. In 2011, the Foundation and Tallahassee Museum joined together to make the Museum the home of Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs and showcase the largest restored collection of his dinosaur works.
Today, 21 exhibit pieces are featured at the Museum with some spanning as much as 43 feet in length and weigh up to 4,000 pounds. In Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs, junkyard castaways get a second chance to function–transformed into graceful renditions of prehistoric creatures. They teach us lessons in art, science, technology and environmental education. Six years after the collection found its home, The Museum still works closely with the Foundation to ensure the exhibit loan is preserving the memory of the late Jim Gary.
Last fall, Arlene Berg, the director of the James T. Gary Foundation reached out to Russell Daws, the Museum’s President and CEO about the possibility of creating a new scholarship opportunity for a deserving art student. Mr. Daws immediately thought of Florida State’s Master Craftsman Studio — a mixed media studio creating custom artwork to serve the needs of commercial, residential, healthcare, and hospitality clients as well as Florida State University.
Daws connected the Foundation with the FSU Master Craftsman Studio almost immediately, and a short time later a full scholarship was successfully established. The opportunity was available to any student of the College of Fine Art currently enrolled in their junior or senior year.
Sophia Baldwin became the first FSU student to be awarded the James T. Gary scholarship, and will have the opportunity to work with the Master Crafters on their current installations this fall. Sophia first came to the Master Craftsman Studio last fall looking for some assistance with a sculpture project. Her project was awarded Best in Show at the recent exhibit, “Synthesis” at the Working Method Contemporary Gallery at FSU.
As a thank you gift to the Foundation, Sophia designed and created a beautiful fused glass sculpture, a reference to Gary’s infamous “pink dinosaur” sculpture. The Tallahassee Museum is honored to have been a part of this partnership between the James T. Gary Foundation and the FSU Master Craftsman Studio. Congratulations Sophia!