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Pelican Proud Exhibition

Exhibition statement:

“A wonderful bird is the pelican.

His bill will hold more than his belican.

He can hold in his beak

Food enough for a week,

But I’m damned if I see how the helican.”

This beloved poem by Dixon Merritt aptly summarizes the mystery and awkwardness of the Pelican, pelecanus, the ancient shorebird and official emblem of the City of St. Petersburg.

Often-times maligned, misunderstood, and made into a nuisance, the pelican has now come to be a badge of honor, a symbol of the resilience and feistiness of our city, proudly sported on t-shirts, tote bags, and our collective hearts.

So, why an exhibition dedicated to the Pelican? Paintings of pelicans are as ubiquitous in any local group exhibition as sunset photographs; something pleasant to look at, but common. Lately, though, with the world turned upside down and so much uncertainty around us, what a comfort it is to see an entire gallery filled with likenesses of this bird, so earnest and steady, in a time when everything else is fraught with change.

Take a moment and see how these 30-plus artists put forth their version of the Pelican. Some realistic, some conceptual, some brightly painted, others subdued. All are individual and unique, just like the artists, and, by way of extension, our fair city herself.

Amanda Cooper, Curator of Exhibitions

Pelican Proud Exhibition

Mayor Rick Kriseman, seen here with Morean Executive Director Howayda Affan, presided over the ribbon cutting to open the Pelican Proud Exhibition

Mayor Rick Kriseman cuts the ribbon for our Pelican Proud Exhibit at the Morean Arts Center. Photo by Beth Reynolds
Dean Fortune’s Pelican Proud submission claimed the Mayor’s Choice Award. Photo credit Beth Reynolds.

NOTE: The art created by local working artists for the Pelican Proud Exhibtion are available for Sale.  Please contact the Morean Arts Center Curator [email protected] or ask anyone in guest services to assist you with your purchases.

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