Celebrating 60 Years of Creativity

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

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

Show Access Hours

Feb. 13 - Lobby area only
Feb. 14 - Lobby area only
Feb. 15 - Lobby area only
Feb. 16 - Full Show: 9am - 11:30am, Lobby area all day
Feb. 17 - Lobby area all day, Full Show: 12 Noon - 5:00pm
Feb. 20 - Full Show: 9am - 2pm, Lobby area all day
Feb. 21 - Full Show: 9am - 2pm, Lobby area all day
Feb. 22 - Full Show: 9am - 1pm, Lobby area all day
Feb. 23 - Lobby Only
Feb. 24 - Lobby area all day, Full Show: 12 Noon - 5:00pm

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.

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

To read more, 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.

Some Photos from the Event

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!

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

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.



Sunrise, private collection


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