Ferguson chosen for cultural exchange with St. Augustine sister city, Aviles

Ferguson chosen for cultural exchange with St. Augustine sister city, Aviles

In connection with the 100th anniversary celebration of the relationship between St. Augustine and its sister city, Aviles, Spain, local artist Martha Ferguson has been selected to travel to Aviles in August and participate in activities with a Spanish artist in St. Augustine during September.

Ferguson was selected following a call to artists with experience painting “en plein air,” and who have dedicated themselves to elevating the arts in St. Johns County. A painting by Ferguson, who will receive a stipend for travel and purchase of the painting, will be presented to the City of Aviles as a gift from the mayor of St. Augustine.

Ferguson graduated from Flagler College with a B.A. in fine art. Ferguson stated, “While in college, I spent many days strolling the quaint streets in awe of the beauty of St. Augustine. I would often run into Emmett Fritz, a local plein air artist. I was enthralled with his paintings and how he captured the local scenes. It was those experiences that contributed to my love of painting.”

Ferguson’s first experience in plein air was at an event in New Jersey where she took home the award for Best in Show, an award she has since received many times at events across the country.

She joined the St. Augustine Art Association in 2014 and has participated in that organization’s annual Plein Air Paint Out since its inception. She has also been involved in events related to the Spanish heritage of St. Augustine, volunteering for the city’s 450th anniversary celebration. Ferguson credits that event as the impetus for her future volunteer efforts.

“I learned so much about the history of St. Augustine and met many other volunteers who helped make the event successful,” she said. “It helped me realize the value of a strong community, the importance of volunteering and the joy of being involved. One of my greatest pleasures is working on the Visual and Performing Arts Board at Flagler College. I get to work with enthusiastic, emerging art students. Occasionally, I invite a senior art student to exhibit their work in my space at Butterfield Art Gallery. This allows the student a great experience and an opportunity to be mentored by some of the great artists from Butterfield.”

“Arts and cultural programs are one of the most important facets of the international sister cities organization,” said Christina Parrish Stone, executive director of the St. Johns Cultural Council. “The Cultural Council is honored to be included by the City of St. Augustine in developing arts programming for both the August visit to Aviles and the September celebration in St. Augustine.”

Sept. 5-9, the Cultural Council will feature free public performances by Aviles folk artist Tejedor, dance performances, art exhibitions and a return of the Aviles Festival on America’s oldest platted street, Aviles Street.

“Aviles artist Samuel Armas will travel with that city’s mayoral delegation to St. Augustine,” said Parrish Stone. “We are delighted that Martha Ferguson, a truly outstanding local artist, will accompany our mayoral delegation to Aviles in August, where she will work with Armas and create new art to share with the residents of St. Augustine.”

For more information about events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the St. Augustine and Aviles relationship, go to historiccoastculture.com.

Register for the Cultural Council’s newsletter at stjohnsculture.com. 

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