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Education & Programs
Downtown Sarasota Campus

Lecture Series

holding butterflyFrequent lectures held at Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus offer insights from thought leaders from around the globe.

Selby Gardens is committed to sharing its unique plant collections, botanical and archaeological research, and exhibition programs with the public. The Botanical and Historical Briefings lecture series is offered monthly fall to spring featuring presentations on topics including plants and conservation; regional history; and exhibitions and education.

Virtual Botanical and Historical Briefings are a member and donor benefit and will be offered to these individuals via an email invitation. 

Botanical Briefing:
A Taxonomist’s View on the Essence of Water Lilies that Inspired Claude Monet,

Presented by John H. Wiersema, PhD, Research Associate in the Botany Department of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History 

May 19, Noon to 1 p.m.

Water Lily

Become a member of Selby Gardens to access this virtual lecture.

What is it about the nature of water lilies that provided the inspiration for Claude Monet’s gardens and so many of his impressionist paintings? This talk will examine the role of water lilies in the aquatic landscape, explore the relationships among the various forms of water lilies throughout the world, and probe the aesthetic qualities that have made them the ultimate aquatic ornamental. We will also investigate the early history of water-lily hybridization in Europe in relation to the water lilies available to Monet when he established his water garden in Giverny in the late 19th Century, with a closer look at those that successfully established on his estate. Finally, an appreciation of the sheer beauty and serenity of both a pristine waterlily setting and a Monet impressionist rendering of it. 

Dr. Wiersema, a specialist on the taxonomy of the water-lily group, focuses his research on the water-lily genus Nymphaea. He has studied and collected these plants in both temperate and tropical countries on 6 continents, personally cultivating at least 60 such gatherings for direct observation over the last 4 decades and examined thousands of global water lily herbarium specimens. He has discovered and described several new species and has participated in over 30 scientific publications on the group. Retired from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) after more than 30 years, he now serves as a Research Associate in the Botany Department of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Dr. Wiersema gained global standing as a specialist in plant nomenclature, and now has direct editorial involvement with both the botanical and cultivated plant codes of international nomenclature and the international journal Taxon. Over his professional career, he has contributed to some 125 scientific publications. 

Please note: Members will receive an exclusive email with the registration link for this event.

Botanical Briefing: 
We Dream A World, African American Landscape Painters of Mid-Century Florida, The Highwaymen presented by Radiah Harper, Curator-At-Large 

July 14, Noon to 1 p.m.

Become a member of Selby Gardens to access this virtual lecture.

What prepared young African American adults to become the enduring landscape artists they are today? What was inside of them that encouraged the pursuit of a creative life? Join us for a discussion about the community that supported these young artists, the entrepreneurial spirit that helped them see painting as another way to live in the world to the little-known tale of an art teacher that saw their potential and helped to empower them.   

Radiah Harper, Curator-At-Large for this exhibition is an artist and museum management consultant who serves cultural institutions. She is committed to racial equity and justice and supports dialogue and collaboration to promote action in organizations ready to examine long-established biases and limiting beliefs, and whose goals include becoming truly inclusive and accessible. Radiah has an extensive practice developing transformational experiences at the intersection of visual art, critical thinking, and social change. In her career she has served as Executive Director and Curator, Museum for African American Art, Tampa, Florida; Vice Director for Education and Program Development, Brooklyn Museum, NY; Assistant Professor, Teachers College of Columbia University; and Author. Radiah’s mission is to create space with and for BIPOC, to help shed light and move us forward.  

Please note: Members will receive an exclusive email with the registration link for this event.

Historical Briefing:

Old Florida Captured in Oil – A Personal Journey with The Highwaymen, presented by John McCarthy, vice president for Historic Spanish Point 

August 11, Noon to 1 p.m.

Become a member of Selby Gardens to access this virtual lecture.

In the 1950s, young African Americans on the east coast of Florida were inspired to paint their vision of Florida as they saw it. This began a movement that captured old Florida in colorful and evocative oil paintings. The style has seen a resurgence in recent years as newcomers to Florida discover the seemingly simple, yet powerful images created by native-born artists. This virtual program will explore the presenter’s pursuit of highwaymen paintings, the artists and old Florida memories.  

Please note: Members will receive an exclusive email with the registration link for this event.

Botanical Briefing:

The Nature of Glass, presented by artists from Duncan McClellan Glass 

August 18, Noon to 1 p.m.

Become a member of Selby Gardens to access this virtual lecture.

Join us to learn from three artists working in glass at the DMG Hot Glass Workshop as they share stories of inspiration and technique about their nature inspired works, and the development of their art under the mentorship of Duncan McClellan.  

Dan Alexander, the St. Petersburg Hot Shop manager, creates large blown vessels using traditional Italian techniques with glass cane and murine, and his pieces are inspired by his experiences as a scuba diver and love of the Florida natural experience. Dan graduated from Kent State University, Ohio, and has worked as a team member and lead “gaffer” at the Corning Museum of Glass, as well as acting as studio assistant for Salvadore Studios in Murano Italy. His resume includes numerous posts as teaching assistant, visiting artist, and studio manager for many prestigious artists, schools and studios. 

Lauren Hill, the DMG School Project Director, brings her sense of whimsy to her glass sculptures. She is known for her oversized “Peaches”, often embellished with frog princes and princesses. Lauren received her bachelor’s degree in Glass from the Southern Illinois University, has worked with prestigious artists from around the world, and has been instrumental in developing educational programming for the non-profit DMG School Project. 

Danyell Bauer is the Duncan Mcclellan Gallery Manager, and a board member of the St. Pete Arts Alliance. Her delightful hot sculpted flowers and mushrooms are Pinellas County favorites, and in collections nationwide. Danyell has worked in a variety of capacities for the Duncan McClellan Gallery and the DMG School Project for over ten years and has always focused on honing her glass art practice by collaborating with local and internationally known artists. She maintains an important presence in the burgeoning “Glass Coast” art scene.   

Please note: Members will receive an exclusive email with the registration link for this event.

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