On July 11 at 5:00 p.m. the South Haven Center for the Arts—in collaboration with actor and playwright Vanessa Severo and South Haven’s SHOUT Theater—will present a virtual production of Frida...A Self Portrait, a one-woman performance by Severo about the life of Frida Kahlo.

Vanessa Severo as Frida in "Frida . . . A Self-Portrait

Photo courtesy of Cory Weaver

“Set on the eve of Frida Kahlo’s death, the story plunges into the gorgeous, nuanced world of Kahlo’s tumultuous and brilliant life. Severo cracks open a powerful portal between herself and the artist, offering breathtaking physicality and raw honesty in this theatrically stunning production.”

Severo studied at Missouri State University and The American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco, and received the TCG 11th Round of the Fox Foundation resident Actor Fellowship in 2017. She has performed for the past twelve seasons at The Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and is certified in the Suzuki Method and Viewpoints under the instruction of Ellen Lauren, SITI company. Severo is passionate about utilizing the element of Suzuki in her work to challenge the boundaries of storytelling, and explore the depths of movement, composition, and the power of stillness.

Diana Densmore of South Haven will facilitate the talk-back segment with Severo after the thirty-minute performance. Densmore is a writer, multimedia artist, and filmmaker who has screened across the globe, from Beijing to the Cannes Short Film Corner. She has worked on independent feature-length films, music videos, commercials, and studio television shows as production assistant, background actress, production designer, and producer. She was an intern for the writer's room on the hit CBS series Criminal Minds, wardrobe mistress for “Like Whoa,” a music video featuring actor Shemar Moore, and co-founder of Reel Lemonade Productions, a five-year experiment in collaborative, experimental short films. Densmore has an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA and a BA in Film & Video Studies and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. She currently studies Animation at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

During the performance, the art center invites viewers to enjoy their own Paloma, a traditional Mexican drink known as the drink of the “working man." Frida was a supporter of the working men and women of Mexico. Gather your ingredients and mix your Paloma with Severo before the play! Google “Paloma” and “Paloma Mocktail” for alcoholic and non-alcoholic recipes.

This event is funded by the South Haven Community Foundation.

Please visit southhavenarts.org/Frida to learn about other events planned by the art center to celebrate the life and art of Frida Kahlo.

Photo courtesy of Cory Weaver

southhavenarts.org, South Haven Center for the Arts on Facebook, Instagram: @southhavenarts

The art center and the Frida Kahlo Advisory Committee of the South Haven Center for the Arts presents a walking tour and outdoor exhibition called “Frida Kahlo's Garden Walk” for all to enjoy on foot, bike, or from your car. The event runs from June 16 to August 11, 2020, and honors Frida Kahlo and Mexican horticulture.

Click here to access the interactive digital map and enjoy some outdoor fun!

The tour consists of a collection of numbered panels that are displayed in the windows of downtown businesses so visitors can learn about Kahlo’s life and art. Each panel is accompanied by one of ten unique poster designs created by local artist Jen Sistrunk. The walk begins and ends at the art center, 600 Phoenix St., South Haven. Interactive tour maps will be available at southhavenarts.org, and directions to the next stop are included on each panel. Visitors can also view the exhibition from their car using an interactive, virtual map that can be found at southhavenarts.org.

Twenty-four businesses and non-profits, including the Scott Club and the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, have planted gardens in blue pots and other containers, similar to Frida's own container garden at Casa Azul, her home in Mexico City. Local gardens include zinnias, sunflowers, calla lilies, elephant ears, and succulents—native Mexican plants that Frida loved. For a virtual tour of Casa Azul, visit southhavenarts.org/post/frida-is-coming-to-our-house-so-i-paid-a-visit-to-hers-by-carol-trittschuh.

A number of South Haven homeowners have planted extravagant Frida gardens that will also be listed on the tour map. The art center invites anyone who would like to plant their own garden and/or create an installation to honor Frida, to send a photo to info@southhavenarts.org, which will be posted in a virtual gallery on the website.

The South Haven Community Garden, 408 Huron St., is honoring Frida’s garden with an arch of flowers painted by committee member Michele Blackmon. The South Haven Center for the Arts will also display two banners on the building—one advertising the exhibition, the second, a banner created by Baseline Middle School students, led by their art teacher Sarah Rydecki.

The SHCA will present an outdoor installation at the art center, which includes a painting of Frida’s garden featuring a pyramid she had installed to expand her garden, and visible through the windows on the west side of the building will be Ojo de Dios (god’s eyes), painted flowers, and a display of costumes similar to those Frida wore contributed by former SHCA Executive Director Thea Grigsby that will also be for sale. If you would like to learn how to create an Ojo de Dios of your own for display, visit the blog post at southhavenarts.org/post/make-ojo-de-dios-to-adorn-the-south-haven-center-for-the-arts, for printable instructions, video tutorials, lesson plans for kids, and other resources for patterns and ideas.

The art center’s installation will grow and evolve throughout the summer.

These events are funded by the South Haven Community Foundation, the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Edward Jones Office of Paul Hix, the South Haven Visitor’s Bureau, North Shore Garden Center, Wolverine Ace Hardware, Cultivate Container Gardens & Design, and private donors and over twenty local businesses.

Executive Director Kerry Hagy, the Frida Kahlo Advisory Committee, and SHCA board members and staff would like to thank our volunteers, sponsors, and the community for all the hard work that went into these events to honor Frida Kahlo.

Please visit southhavenarts.org, South Haven Center for the Arts on Facebook, and Instagram: @southhavenarts, to learn more about this summer’s Frida fun. 

Paola Gracida: Ceramicist and Instructor


Join Paola's Frida Kahlo's Garden Virtual Presentation on ZOOM June 4th, at 5:00 PM EST

Click the link to register for the event!

Working as a designer and life circumstances led me to live abroad in different countries. Moving constantly provided me with a diverse background dosed with contrasting cultures.

Over the years, contemplating Mexican, Swedish, Finnish, Brazilian and American cultures, taught me to question my own perceptions of life and beliefs. At the end it transcends any cultural cliché and becomes ‘human’.

Having to start over in life multiple times, time and self reflection have become significant tools to me. It awakens my perception and capability of receiving and letting go of things that define me. It makes me aware of my own fundamental existence, and how I can change without losing myself.

There is something about ceramics that is similar to this life experience. Clay as a material is such a dynamic medium: It is constantly changing and the process of ceramics literally pulls you to be in the present, giving you a continuous feedback, reflecting all your actions. It educates your movements mastered through repetition.

Through my work I want to convey contrast and openness at the same time. I am interested in creating pieces with an essence that can be redefined by others. They make the process of time and different cultures tangible.Born in Mexico City, I studied Industrial Design at the National University of Mexico UNAM, and graduated with a Master in Advanced Product Design at the Umea Institute of Design, Sweden.

Currently I live in Saint Joseph, Michigan and work as a ceramics teacher at Krasl Art Center.

The South Haven Center for the Arts looks forward to Paola's curation of the Exhibition, Common Thread. Look out for Common Thread during our 2021 Exhibition season. Check out Paola's website to shop her work and learn more about her practice. paolagracida.com

Paola Gracida is a South Haven Center for the Arts Artist Member. As a benefit of this membership level, we are proud to be featuring Artists Members on our blog. If you are an artist member and want to be featured, email us at info@southhavenarts.org. Want to be an artist member? See more information here: southhavenarts.org/artist-membership

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© Copyright 2014 South Haven Center for the Arts. All rights reserved.                The SHCA is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization.

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