Celebrating 60 Years of Creativity

Ringling School of Art + Design

Eleanor Merritt exhibited two new pieces “Blue Embrace” (mixed media) and “Wandering Tribe” (conte crayon) at the Petticoat Painters Annual Exhibit.

Blue Embrace, a mixed media piece by Artist Eleanor Merritt Wandering Trribe, conte crayon, by Artist Eleanor Merritt

Carolyn Johnson, Jane Summerville and Cori Washingtonwere in attendence
Carolyn Johnson, Jane Summerville and Cori Washington were in attendence at the Opening Reception, which took place Friday, June 29. The show runs through August 2, and summer gallery hours are Tuesday–Friday, 11–3.

Art Center Sarasota
February 1 - March 9, 2018

Fire Goddesses by Eleanor Merritt
Fire Goddesses by Eleanor Merritt

The Art Center Sarasota hosts this annual exhibition to highlight some of the region's African-American artists in celebration of Black History Month. This exhibition covers a wide array of media, from painting and drawing to sculpture.

Water Dreams Painting by Eleanor MerrittEleanor Merritt Darlington with her daughter Lori Merritt.
Herald-Tribune Photo by Rod Millington

Eleanor was honored by The Ringling foundation at The Association of Fundraising Professionals National Philanthropy Day Luncheon at Michael's on East, Tuesday November, 14, 2017. The group's mission Is to advance philanthropy by enabling people and organizations to practice ethical and effective fundraising.

Presented By
Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County
View Map
February 2, 2017 through February 24, 2017

Take the 2017 Retrospective Virtual Gallery tour.
Review the program, or purchase artwork.

From Eleanor Merritt…

Selected works from the last 60 years have been included in this exhibition, to mark the transitions which have taken place in my work and in my life. Although my imagery is mainly figurative, the concepts behind the visual statement deals with very personal expressions. Actually, this exhibition is a sum total of a 60-year journey as a woman of color who is also an artist.

During that journey, I have made political statements; personal statements revolving around close relationships in my life; statements about the condition of women and the roles they play; statements about the connections I feel to my ancestry; statements about the spirituality and the strength of women. Some themes are repeated; they seem to re-emerge as I try to express the moment, the concept, in a better way.

The most important turning point for me in terms of style and technique came when I changed from painting in oils, then to acrylics and then moved to water-based media. I have found in that transition the freedom of working with color and the ability to achieve greater fluidity in line and brush. The use of collage and mixed-media techniques has opened and expanded my vision to perhaps a more abstract image; but certainly one which I still feel is strongly expressive of who I am as an artist.

To read more about this show, please visit:
SRQ Magazine: "Retrospective Exhibit Celebrates Artist Eleanor Merritt" by Philip Lederer.
Broadway World Review: "Eleanor Merritt Art Exhibit at Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County" by Carolan Trbovich.

Collectors & Selections

Several works were purchased during the showing.

Ancestral Dream Dance, I Kasdan
Ira Kasdan was gifted Ancestral Dream Dance for his birthday by his wife, Victoria.

Carrying Firewood, J Stewart, C Sheffield
Carrying Firewood was chosen by James and Caryl to compliment their extensive art collection.

Green Goddess, G Albert, J Albert
Julie and Gordon Albert were delighted to bring home Green Goddess.

Tears in the Rain, P Chatard
Tears in the Rain is now owned by Pat Chatard.

Reception Photos

The Retrospective Artists Reception took place February 9, 2017, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Merritt with Jim Shirley
Eleanor Merritt with Alliance Executive Director Jim Shirley.

Merritt with daughter Lori
The artist and her daughter, Lori Merritt, with the work MOTHER AND DAUGHTERS.

Merritt describing work
Ms. Merritt describes her work JAMIE AND ME.

Artist's statement
In her opening statement, the artist describes her career and the evolution of her work over 60 years.

Merritt with guests
We had a great turn out of both old friends and new!

Merritt with guests
Harriett and Clarence congratulate Ms. Merritt on the retrospective show.

MBuffet Table
The buffet included HARMONY rolls, a creation of JPan Restaurant, inspired by the painting of the same name.

Eleanor Merritt, Lori Merritt and GRANDMA WAS 105
Eleanor Merritt, Lori Merritt and GRANDMA WAS 105.

The artist, with her works ANGEL OF MERCY - 911 (left) and CARRYING FIREWOOD (right).
The artist, with her works ANGEL OF MERCY - 911 (left) and CARRYING FIREWOOD (right).

figurative references

I have always used figurative references in my work. Over time these images have become more abstract and the painted surface very textural. My paintings have symbolic and/or personal revelations as to my point of view. The viewer must look at the artwork as images not based on reality but on pure imagination.

My style continues to evolve with persistent exploration. As an artist, this journey has been one of constant experimentation and renewal of my creative force with each image I create.


Eleanor Merritt moderates "Voices" community forum

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe presents two ‘Voices’ community forums

"Meet the Florida Highwaymen Artist"
Eleanor Merritt Darlington, moderator

Photos courtesy of Don Daly Photo.
On February 8, 2016 WBTT (the only professional black theater company on Florida’s West Coast) presented a fundraising program which focused on the Florida Highwaymen, a group of 26 African-American artists who – from the early 1950s through the 1980s – painted beautiful landscapes of undeveloped, serene Florida landscape. The artists sold their paintings door-to-door to businesses and individuals throughout Florida because gallery owners in the segregated South wouldn’t show their work.

The evening included a reception to meet artists and view artwork. There was a panel discussion with the artists and longtime collector Larry Helmuth which was moderated by Eleanor Merritt Darlington. Highwayman Al Black also presented a painting demonstration. WBTT Voices Attendees with Ms. Merritt
Reception Attendees with Ms. Merritt


Art Center Sarasota showcases powerful works by African-American artists.
by: Marty Fugate, Staff Writer, yourobserver.com

"ASALH: Black Muse 2016"
exhibition at Art Center Sarasota

Please join us for the Artists Reception, Thursday, Jan. 28, 5 to 7 p.m.
at Art Center Sarasota Exhibtion runs January 28 through March, 2016

Ms. Merritt at Art Center Ms. Merritt is pictured outside Art Center Sarasota.
Story and photo by Marty Fugate, for yourobserver.com



Sarasota-Manatee Section
2015 National Council of Jewish Women

Women In Power

NCJW Women In Power 2015 Honorees

Women In Power Honorees(from left) Renee Hamad, President of the Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County, Wendy Surkis, President of the Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA, and Eleanor Merritt.

The 33rd Annual Women in Power Luncheon was held on January 21 at Michael’s on East. The annual event honors women whose accomplishments mirror NCJW’s focus on social justice by improving the lives of women, children and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. Read more at the NCJW website.


Minority Artists in the Mainstream Art World

Through Pierian Spring Academy

This four-week course will introduce you to minority artists from different cultures and their place in the history of 20th century contemporary art. We will discuss the elements of visual expression and demonstrate the various artists approach to line, shape, form, color and texture.

Dates & details will be announced.




National Museum of Women in the Arts Florida Artists Group Women Contemporary Artists Women Contemporary Artists Sarasota Arts and Cultural Alliance Art Uptown Gallery