Lakewood Ranch ComCenter Hosts Art Exhibit | Eastern County

It seemed likely that The Country Club’s Lydia Kaeyer would exhibit her beautiful seascape watercolors at the Lakewood Ranch Art League exhibit which opened April 1 at the ComCenter in Lakewood Ranch.

Then Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

On April 1, Kaeyer was preparing to hang her “Soldiers of Ukraine” painting, one of four she will place in the exhibit in hopes of raising funds for people living in Ukraine or displaced by the war.

“I have no connection (to Ukraine),” said Kaeyer, who won first place (professional category) for her work at the Maine Lobster Festival and the Beaufort Art Association Show in South Carolina. “But we were all so devastated by the death and destruction. The Ukrainian flag was everywhere. I felt I had to speak out.”

Kaeyer will donate 50% of the sale of one of his war-themed paintings to the Lakewood Ranch Presbyterian Peace Church for distribution to Ukrainians in need. It should be noted that the ComCenter does not take a percentage of sales at its art exhibitions.

Jane Trame of Lakewood Ranch loves the colors in her abstract painting “Rolling Waves”.

“These paintings were out of my comfort zone, but it had to be done,” said Kaeyer, who has a summer home in Maine, which brings her to work on seascapes, lighthouses and architecture. (her late husband Richard Kaeyer was an architect). “I think they did well.”

Mary Ellen Slenker, president of the Lakewood Ranch Art League, said 14 artists will be featured in the exhibit along with 75 paintings. The work is primarily watercolors and oil and when a painting sells, the Lakewood Ranch Art League replaces it with another work. This is the fourth year that the Lakewood Ranch Art League has participated in the exhibit.

Slenker has his own work displayed.

“I am the elephant lady,” she said, standing in front of watercolor paintings of elephants. “I went to the Myakka Elephant Ranch last Thanksgiving, and was amazed by their bulk. But there’s also a kindness and gentleness in their faces.”

Slenker said the exhibit is a great gift to the community by the ComCenter, which hangs the artwork on the walls of its main lobby on the first floor.

“It’s fabulous, another dimension of Lakewood Ranch,” she said.

Jane Trame of Lakewood Ranch was showing her flowing acrylic abstract painting “Rolling Waves”.

She said the painting, listed at $395, reminded her of Florida and the strong wave action.

“I love the colors,” she said.

Will everyone like the colors? Trame said it’s not likely, but the art is open to viewer interpretation.

“You have to have a rough outer core,” she said of being a painter.

Laurie Blake, ComCenter’s guest services coordinator, said the expo has been ongoing since the building opened in 1999.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Blake said. “We use four to five groups, and each exhibits their art for five to six months each. It’s a win-win situation. It keeps the art fresh and our walls decorated.”

ComCenter offers executive offices and virtual office service plans, as well as meeting rooms. For more information, call 782-1234.

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Reggie S. Williams