Children 2 Children Artwork Featured at Florida International Museum

Artistic & Cultural Exchange a Highlight of Russian Odyssey Exhibition
St. Petersburg, FL (October 13, 2003)

St. Petersburg, Russia and St. Petersburg, Florida are separated by 5,310 miles and culturally, are worlds apart. They are Twin Cities that share some similarities and many striking differences. St. Petersburg, Russia is 300 years old, in a part of the world known for its harsh winters. St. Petersburg, Florida is 100 years old and in a part of the world renown for its beaches and sub-tropical climate. These two twin cities are joining forces in a remarkable cultural exchange at Florida International Museum (FIM) designed to bring the children of two diverse settings closer together.

As part of the groundbreaking exhibit Russian Odyssey: Riches of the State Russian Museum, FIM presents Children 2 Children. This unique project provides an opportunity for school children from both cities to compare and contrast their homelands to learn more about each other. “A common denominator is children,” says Kathy Oathout, executive director of FIM. “Children in each St. Petersburg will not only create artwork for exchange, but begin a dialog as well. We feel this is an outstanding opportunity for students to learn about a different culture, in this case, a Twin City.”

An exhibit of children's art from St. Petersburg, Russia is currently on view in that city. Works have be selected and shipped to St. Petersburg, Florida (complimenting the 300-piece major exhibition from the State Russian Museum). School children in St. Petersburg, Florida are preparing their own artworks expressing their views of their St. Petersburg.

To do this, they will be encouraged to learn more about their city and its history - seeing it through a visitor’s eyes. To distill just what would describe St. Petersburg, Florida to someone from St. Petersburg, Russia.

The works will be juried by local artists, historians, and arts administrators. Selected works will be framed in archival quality frames and hung in the Florida International Museum Upper Gallery from November 1 through April 4, 2004 alongside the children’s works from Russia. At the close of the exhibit, they will be removed, crated along with the Russian children’s works and sent to St. Petersburg, Russia for display there. In this way, the two cities’ children can gain a better understanding of each other and the way they perceive their respective cities.
The museum is anticipating funding from a grant to provide another key element: Technology. Students will interact with each other over the Web and will share information about each other and their projects. Students will be able to share pictures and other materials through this link. It is expected that this will also challenge the students to learn each other’s language. The exhibit will be available on-line and will reach a larger number of community members in this way.
Florida International Museum features Russian Odyssey: Riches of the State Russian Museum, featuring 800 years Russian history from November 2, 2003 through April 4, 2004. The display of more than 300 objects is part of a ten-year agreement between FIM and the State Russian Museum. “This is the first time most of these objects have traveled from Russian soil,” says Oathout, FIM Executive Director. “We will have a remarkable display of paintings, porcelain, furniture, icons and jewelry depicting Russian history and culture.” Russian Odyssey is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Other regional sponsors include
St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, St. Petersburg Times and Progress Energy.

FIM is currently installing the 10,000 square foot exhibit. Dr. Yevgenia Petrova, deputy director of the State Russian Museum will be in St. Petersburg to oversee the placement of the objects. Vera Espinola Berry, who was very involved in the blockbuster exhibit, Treasures of the Czars at FIM in 1995, will be the on-site curator.

The public is invited to join the Board of Directors of FIM as they usher in this exciting exhibit on Sunday, November 2, 2003.

FIM will be open from 11 am - 5 pm with last tickets sold at 4 pm. Advanced tickets and gift certificates are currently on sale.

A newly renovated and stocked Museum Store will also be unveiled on this date. For more information, please call 727-822-3693 or visit Florida International Museum's website at www.floridamuseum.org.

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The Florida International Museum is a non-profit educational institution supported, in part, by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Florida Arts Council, State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the City of St. Petersburg. Other major sponsors include Progress Energy, Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, and St. Petersburg Times.