Ecclectic Showcase of Artistry

On Friday three artists showcased varied styles of artwork.

Artists Jelena Berenc, an Illinois-based artist, Andy Behrle, an Alabama-based artist, and Leighton McWilliams, a Texas-based artist and Florida State University alumnus, will have their artwork on display this month at 621 Gallery.

The Gallery is tucked away inside of Railroad Square Art Park, an art district filled with more than 50 studios, galleries and small shops.

Berenc’s exhibit features delicate drawings composed of lines. As it is mentioned in her exhibit, she draws inspiration from various life experiences.

One of Berenc’s pieces consists of seven sheets of paper on which she documented the change in her energy levels while she fasted for a week. The art begins with darker shading and changes to lighter shading. The work vividly displays her depleted energy levels.

Berenc’s artwork allows one to view a snippet of her life through her art.

The artwork of Behrle from Birmingham, Ala. is also on display at 621 Gallery. However, Behrle’s art is not what is typically displayed in galleries.

Behrle told the audience that one of his works was created by coating a wall with clay from Red Mountain in Birmingham, Ala.

He allowed the water to drip down the wall for a few hours onto steel panels on the floor, over time the minerals in the mud caused the panels to rust.

“The rusted panels that form the exhibit symbolize the power of water and nature as destructive as well as creative forces.

They also represent the ephemerality of architecture,” said Behrle, who also created an original piece just for the exhibit at 621.

“On a trip to Tallahassee I fell in love with all of the columns that adorned the buildings and homes in the area, seeing the columns inspired me to create one of my own.”

Using the same technique that builders used in the early 1900’s, Behrle created his own column that one can actually step inside of to view the wooden panels and the plaster as it dried in a fluid motion.

The final exhibit on display is a collection of photographs, titled “Stranger in a Strange Land,” by artist McWilliams.

McWilliams, an associate professor at the University of Texas Arlington, earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University.

His photos capture images from Las Vegas using a 1960’s era plastic Holga camera.

However, his subjects are not your typical tourist attractions. He instead aimed his camera at the strange sights he ran across while in the Sin City.

McWilliams said his first experience of Las Vegas was quite unforgettable.

“The alien landscape of Las Vegas astounded me,” he said. “It’s so different from Florida and Texas, and I wanted to document the eeriness I felt while I was there, and using the Holga camera helped with that because they create dreamy and uncomposed photos.”

The exhibition is open Thursday through Sunday, 1-5 p.m., and on First Friday’s, from 6-9 p.m., 621 Gallery offers a chance to view and purchase amazing works of art by many local and non-local artists.

Admission is free.

Ballet company seeks support: Kristin broner

In July 2008, Henry Hernandez and a group of ballet lovers had a vision to open a non-profit ballet company in Tallahassee.

A few years later the company is expanding, and on Saturday it hosted an open house and invited the community to take part in their beginning season.

Hernandez, artistic director and one of the founders, sought to develop a school that was accepting of all, but also challenging enough for the dancers to compete at international levels.

Samantha Sole, a first-year student at Florida State from Tallahassee, believes that only this ballet company could give her the opportunities to compete.

“It is very relaxed but you can still work hard and not feel threatened at this studio. There is no drama. I am lucky I have been brought to so many different competitions that I would have never been able to do anywhere else,” said Sole.

The World Ballet Inc. has been praised for its diversity and relaxed atmosphere, something Hernandez takes great pride in.

“I am from Venezuela, diversity is who I am. It is all I know. Where I am from it is a melting pot. There are no color divisions,” said Hernandez.

The company received great reviews for collaborating with the Florida A&M Strikers on developing a hip hop dance class, and for performances in World of Rock and The Nutcracker.

The Nutcracker performance drew an interesting conversation for many and a good look for the company. The company’s sugar plum fairy was an African-American and so was the nutcracker.

Hernandez wanted to ensure people that this decision was not just for “good looks,” but because the dancer Rachael Jones, a 23-year-old from Atlanta, Ga. and a student at FSU, was the best for the part. He believed that her 20 years of dance experience and dynamic dancing abilities made her the best candidate for the part.

Although the company has many great things about it, the company lacks a venue to call home.

Hernandez said, “I would like to be a resident of one of the venues at FAMU. It will be a win win situation for both parties, a monetary gain for the school and a place that I can use for performances.”

Hernandez felt FAMU is a great community and he enjoys working with them, why not be a company resident.

In May, the company will unite with the Strikers and live rock band CommonZenZ at Lee Hall Auditorium to perform the annual spring World of Rock production.

“The performance is daringly different and promises to be a vivid and exciting mix of adventurous choreography and memorable live music by local rock band, and high intensity dancing,” according to the company.

For more information on upcoming events about the World Ballet Inc., visit their website at