As part of Florida Heritage Month (March 15-April 15), the Florida Heritage Awards will be presented at Mission San Luis, Floridas Apalachee-Spanish Living History Museum. The 2014 event includes the Florida Book Awards, the Florida Folk Heritage Awards, Secretary of State Historic Preservation Awards, and the states highest award, the two newest inductions into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, one of whom is West Palm Beach artist Bruce Helander (born and raised in Great Bend), in a ceremony sponsored by the Florida Secretary of State on March 18 in Tallahassee. Helander was selected by members of the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. Established in 1986, The Florida Artists Hall of Fame is the highest and most prestigious cultural honor bestowed by the State of Florida.
Qualifying artists must be a native of the state or one who adopted Florida as their home. Helander arrived in Palm Beach in 1982 to set up a studio and art gallery. According to the division of Cultural Affairs, Recipients of this award demonstrate the diversity of artistic accomplishment that comprises the rich cultural tapestry of the state. These individuals contribute to Floridas national or international reputation as a state with a strong and sustained commitment toward the development of cultural excellence.
Helander is the only person to receive this award as a former resident of the Town of Palm Beach where the artist was a full-time resident and art gallery director from 1984 to 1998 as well as being a commissioner of the architectural review board. In 1996 Helander moved to Clematis Street, where he became one of the first to legally occupy a live/work loft. While no longer on Clematis Street, Helander continues to maintain a very active art studio in downtown West Palm Beach, where he works on a variety of projects, including four upcoming scheduled exhibitions in Toronto, Ontario, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. His work is represented in a museum exhibition of the Blake Byrne collection, which will travel to several venues over the next three years. Helanders work is in over fifty permanent museum collections, including the Norton Museum of Art, Boca Raton Museum, Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale, Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum, The Smithsonian, Art Institute of Chicago, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Helander will be only the third individual in Palm Beach County to be inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame; Norton Museum founder Ralph Norton (1875-1953) and Laura Woodward (1834-1926), Floridas most important nineteenth-century female artist, are the others. Previous awardees include artists and designers such as Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Duane Hanson, Martin Johnson Heade, Alfred Hair & The Highwaymen, Addison Mizner and Jerry Uelsmann. Others inducted into the Hall of Fame include writers Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway and singers Gloria Estefan, Jimmy Buffett, Bo Diddley and Ray Charles. This years performer inductee is Tom Petty. (For a complete list of former inductees go to: http://www.florida-arts.org/programs/ahf/)
In conjunction with the Florida Artists Hall of Fame award, Helander will be honored in a special ceremony at City Hall in West Palm Beach, where Mayor Jeri Muoio will present the artist with the Key to the City and officially proclaim March 31, 2014 as Bruce Helander Day.
For additional information on the Florida Artists Hall of Fame awards and more, visit http://www.dos.state.fl.us/news/communications/pressRelease/pressRelease.aspx?id=702, or contact: Brittany Lesser (850)245.6522, or Rachelle Ashmore, Program Coordinator, Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, at (850)245.6490 in Tallahassee or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. or more information on Bruce Helander Day, contact Blanca Suarez, Assistant to the Mayor of West Palm Beach, at (561)822.1407 or e-mail: email@example.com. Helander Studio contact: Susan Hall, Studio Manager, (561) 655.0504 or firstname.lastname@example.org.