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May 5-7, 2017
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February 2017

 Papio Ambassadors Sought: Artist in School Stipends Offered for the Key West Art & Historical Society’s Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade
​​February 23, 2017 — (Key West, FL).

Are you an artist with a knack for engineering and teaching others the nuts and bolts of how things work? Does kinetic and recycled art make your heart spin?  The Key West Art & Historical Society, steward to the island’s art and history, is preparing to celebrate its Second Annual Papio Kinetic Sculpture and Art Bike Parade, set for May 5-7, and The Society is looking for artists for its STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) outreach program that focuses on kinetics  . 

“Artists will share their ideas and skills with the students, keeping them motivated and the project on track,” says Adele Williams, Society Director of Education.  “These selected artists will help students prepare and create dynamic sculptures that reflect the spirit of Papio while weaving in STEAM principles.”

Selected artists will receive a $1200 stipend to conduct a brainstorming session and two three-hour workshops with students at two different schools, presenting information on kinetic art principles and application, and team mobile sculpture idea development and production.

Inspired by and named for the late Keys artist Stanley Papio, a humorous rebel metal-artist who explored the value of recycled materials long before it was hip to be rusty, the parade will present human-powered mobile sculptures that will start at the Custom House Museum and travel down the length of Duval Street to its southernmost end. 

Papio events kick off on Friday, May 5 with a presentation on Stanley Papio and kinetic art from 6:00pm- 7:00pm at the Custom House Museum, followed by a reception on the porch. Parade day is Saturday May 6; with the parade of kinetic craftiness kicking off from the Custom House at noon, followed by an after-party at the Southernmost Beach from 1:00pm–3:00pm.  Sunday, May 7 is the Papio Picnic and Kinetic Kids Day at Fort East Martello Museum from 11:30am-3:00pm, featuring with family-friendly activities and food and libations for purchase.  Entrance to the museum that day will be free.

Interested artists can contact Adele Williams at 305.295.6616 x 115 for more information; deadline to apply is March 6th. Schools interested in participating can also inquire.  The Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of the Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida. Additional support provided by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, Historic Tours of America, Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina and Southernmost Beach Café. For registration information, event schedule, entry guidelines and pre-parade workshop information, visit www.papiokineticparade.com or call Adele Williams, 305.295.6616 x 115.   Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island











​Students in last year’s 8th grade Horace O’Bryant Middle School STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) class, left to right: Andre Pena, Sadie Dodds, Pricilla Castro-Sanchez and Eszter Gurdon, worked with artist Jimmy Wray to prepare their entry for the 2016 Key West Art & Historical Society Stanley Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade. Artist-mentors are currently sought to help students prepare and create sculptures for this year’s parade, set for May 5-7.
​Key West Montessori Charter School Principal Lynn Barras, Ed.M., pilots the “Peace Dove” past the Custom House Museum during last year’s inaugural Key West Art & Historical Society Stanley Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade. Crafted of nearly 100% recycled materials and “feathers” made from milk jugs, the fabulous fowl was one of more than thirty kinetic creations that participated in 2016. Artist-mentors are currently sought to help students prepare and create sculptures for this year’s parade, set for May 5-7.
​On Michael Gieda's first day at work with the Key West Art & Historical Society, he checked out one of the society's three museums, Fort East Martello. Read More...
A people-powered parade of colorful mobile  sculptures rolled through Key West’s historic downtown Saturday, commemorating the late Florida Keys “junkman” Stanley Papio and his welded folk-art creations. Read More...
During the Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade, more than a dozen floats and about 20 art bikes traveled the entire length of Key West’s Duval Street, led by a replica of a Papio folk-art creation called “The Rabbit.” Read More...

​“The Rabbit,” a kinetic sculpture, is rolled into position to begin the Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade Saturday, May 14, 2016, in Key West, Fla.  Read More...

May 2016

​Getting Ready For the Parade—Virginia Wark glues cd’s to “Whirly-Giggles,” her art-bike entry for this Saturday’s Key West Art & Historical Society Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade.  “It was a last minute inspiration,” said Wark, whose seemingly endless well of inventiveness has enlivened many a Key West happening. “A friend gave me the cd’s and I thought, ‘what have I got and what can I do with it…’ I love that in Key West the kind of thinking that turns trash into art is celebrated and encouraged.” Registration to participate in the cavalcade of totally human-powered works of art is still open to art-bike entrants—visit Papioskineticparade.com for more information.

May 5, 2016

PARADE IN KEY WEST​
Presented by Key West Art & Historical Society and produced by WonderDog Studios Creative Director Marky Pierson, the Stanley Papio Kinetic Parade is set for May 14 in Key West. This family-friendly, art-inspired, human-powered, mobile sculpture and art-bike parade is in honor of the late Papio, a pioneering folk artist who transformed the controversial metal collection piled high in his yard into extraordinary sculptural works.
The event spotlights the recycled creations of local artists in a parade, beginning at noon at the Custom House Museum, winding down Duval Street and finishing at the Southernmost Beach Café with awards, drinks, lunch and more. More than a dozen human-powered, kinetic sculpture floats are expected to be in the parade, followed by hundreds of art bikes.
Art bike entrants can register as late as 5-8 p.m. May 13 at the pre-parade pop-up party, which features a free performance in front of the Custom House Museum. Entries for floats are closed. For more information, call Adele Williams at 305-295-6616, ext. 115 or visit www.papioskineticparade.com.

Read more here from The Miami Herald.

​​May 5, 2016 

Papio Exhibit Opening Set for Saturday—Key West Art & Historical Society Executive Director Michael Gieda rubs elbows with “The Preacher,” a towering Stanley Papio sculpture at Fort East Martello Museum. The sculpture is one of more than 100 of the artist’s sculptural objects and three-dimensional constructions that will be featured in the new permanent exhibit— “Stanley Papio: Junkyard Rebel”—which opens to the public at Fort East Martello on Saturday, May 14 from 5:30-7:00pm with a free celebration featuring live music by Ben Harrison.  For more information, visit KWAHS.ORG. ​
Photo by Carol Tedesco

​​May 5, 2016 

​Gearing Up for the Parade—Featured artist Steve King gives his pedal and belt-driven creation some finishing touches in preparation for the Stanley Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade, an event held in honor of pioneering folk artist Stanley Papio. Following in Papio’s footsteps, King used recycled materials in the construction of his creation “The Grinder,” combining wood, metal, bike parts and “bits and bobs” to create his gears-and-cogs-inspired design.  “It’s always great when you can share your art and ideas with the community,” says the custom home and boat builder.  King’s piece is among more than a dozen kinetic sculpture float entries that will wind down Duval street for the inaugural event that kicks off at noon on May 14th at the Custom House Museum and ends at the Southernmost Beach Café for an awards celebration at 1:00pm.  Registration is still open to new entrants—visit Papioskineticparade.com for more information.​
Photo by Carol Tedesco

​​April 28, 2016 

Rally Cry for Rebels and Renegades: Last Call for May 15th Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade Entrants 
In less than a week, a groundswell of Florida Keys creatives and spectators will come together to applaud a rebellious welder-turned-metal artist while showcasing their own ingenious recycled creations during the inaugural Stanley Papio Kinetic Parade— a family-friendly, art-inspired, human-powered, mobile sculpture and art-bike parade set for noon on Saturday, May 14th.
 
The late Stanley Papio was a man ahead of his time, seeing art where others saw junk. The pioneering folk artist transformed the controversial metal collection piled high in his yard into extraordinary sculptural works— many of them comical and caustic commentary on neighbors and naysayers who wanted him to abide by zoning laws. While none of Papio’s sculptures were made to be mobile, the parade is a nod to both his legacy and collection of work and a wink to the rebel, outsider spirit in us all.
 
The one-hour cavalcade, presented by Key West Art & Historical Society and produced by WonderDog Studios Creative Director Marky Pierson, will start moving at noon from its starting location at the Custom House Museum and wind down Duval Street to land at the Southernmost Beach Café for revelry and fanfare with awards, drinks, food, and more. Participants and spectators alike are invited to embrace the zany and diverse culture found here in the Florida Keys by expressing themselves as they best see fit. 
 
“Celebrating artistry and diversity and letting people dream big and create the visions in their head are elements often found in our events,” says Pierson, co-producer of events that include the wildly successful Zombie Bike Ride, Cow Key Channel Bridge Run, and Key Lime Festival. “Creative and renegade people are our people, so we just provide a little organization for them to express themselves.”
 
More than a dozen human-powered, kinetic sculpture floats are expected to be in the parade, followed by hundreds of art bikes. Entrants can register as late as Friday the 13th from 5-8pm at the pre-parade pop-up party, which features a free performance by Patrick and the Swayzees and a full cash bar in front of the Custom House Museum.  While kinetic sculpture floats generally require some kinetic savvy and an investment of time to make all the parts move, Art Bikes are an easy entry for anyone looking to join in the fun. Simple, whimsical, futuristic, or fantastical, whatever works best for registrants is welcomed, though in the spirit of Papio, recycling is encouraged, wit and humor applauded.
 
“If you have an idea and some recycled materials you can have an art bike,” says Pierson.  “Costumes, sound makers, group entries, causes or political statements— all can be incorporated into your Saturday bike ride celebration. Dress up and get outside with a few hundred other wild bike enthusiasts.”
 
Society Executive Director Michael Gieda says the parade will be an annual event and believes it has “the potential to gain momentum and eventually be on the level with other kinetic offerings around the country.”
 
“We’ve purposely allowed participants to be in driver’s seat when it comes to creating their sculptures or art bikes,” says Gieda. “This event was organized with the intent to allow anyone to participate, regardless of skill level, and to allow people to express their creativity on a grand scale while parading down the island’s most notorious street.”
 
Surrounding the parade are an orbit of Papio-based events: in addition to the pop-up registration party on Friday, highlights include the lecture “The Legacy of Stanley Papio” presented by historian Sharon Wells at the Custom House Museum on Friday, May 13th at 4pm, the opening of the Junkyard Rebel: Stanley Papio permanent exhibit at Fort East Martello on Saturday, May 14th from 5:30-7pm, and a special exhibition of the parade’s Kinetic Sculptural Art Floats at Fort East Martello from 9:30am-4:30pm on Sunday, May 15th. See the full schedule here.
 
Sponsored in part by The Knight Foundation Knight Arts Challenge, The Helmerich Trust, the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, and the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. For more information visit www.papioskineticparade.com or call Adele Williams (305) 295-6616 ext 115   
Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island. 
​(Left to right) Bob Wandras Jr., Key West Art & Historical Society Executive Director Michael Gieda, Melissa Jean McDaniel and Wonderdog Studios Creative Director Marky Pierson break out rain gear Wednesday for Wandras’ and McDaniel’s “Team Loco-Motion” Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade entry work-in-progress. McDaniel and Wandras have used pieces from two children’s bikes, a wheel from a wheelchair, 2x4’s, pvc pipe, wires, pulleys, springs and “Juan Scary Mascot” in their kinetic sculpture float creation, which by the May 14 parade day will feature a giant cactus and a “surprise.”
 

Press Release - april 28, 2016

Human powered kinetic sculptures can range from the modest to the magnificent. This 'Kinetic Kensington' entry features a flight crew pumping a bicycle and paper mache-made airplane.
Human powered kinetic sculptures can be simple or over-the-top stupendous, like this 13-foot tall, twin-seated poodle sculpture named Fifi, annual belle of Kinetic Baltimore. Photo by Margie Hatch, KineticBaltimore.com 

Press Release - april 28, 2016

The Papio WHAT? 5 Fun Facts About the Stanley Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade
​Key West Art & Historical Society brings the island’s creativity to a new level of celebration with its inaugural Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade on Saturday, May 14th, with additional festivities on Friday
 and Sunday as well. Here’s the low-down if you’re just now tuning in:
 
1.     LET’S GET KINETIC! It’s a family-friendly, art-inspired, human-powered, mobile sculpture and art-bike parade! Think art with parts that move. Watch the one-hour cavalcade on May 14th wind down Duval Street, or BE in the parade (register first at papioskineticparade.com) that starts moving at noon at the Custom House Museum.
 
2.     NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY. No need to be the next Stanley Papio or Theo Jansen to make your own Kinetic Sculpture Float or Art Bike—some creative inclination mixed with a dash of kinetic savvy will do. Bust out with your own human-powered “Strandbeest” or pedal a cruiser in your best tutu with your toddler twins in tow— it’s all good. Not sure how to begin? Visitpapioskineticparade.com/what-is-a-kinetic-sculpture for some inspiration.
 
3.     WHO IS PAPIO, YOU ASK?  That would be the late Key Largo folk artist Stanley Papio,  rebellious welder-turned artist who explored recycled materials long before it was hip to be rusty. Papio transformed his collected metal— old cars, washing machines and other metal appliances piled high in his yard — into extraordinary pieces of art, many of them offering comical and caustic commentary on neighbors and naysayers.
 
While none of Papio’s sculptures were made to be mobile, the parade is a nod to both his legacy and collection of work— more than 100 sculptural objects and three-dimensional constructions housed in a newly renovated permanent exhibit at Fort East Martello, with a free opening celebration on Saturday, May 14th from 5:30-7pm featuring libations and music by Ben Harrison— and a wink to the rebel, outsider spirit in us all.
 
Want to know more about this pioneering folk artist? Check out the free kick-off presentation by historian Sharon Wells from 4-5pm on Friday, May 13th at the Custom House Museum. 
 
4.     PUT SOME FUNK INTO YOUR JUNK.  Human Powered Kinetic Sculpture Floats and Art Bikes can be simple, whimsical, futuristic, or fantastical—the only requirement is that they are physically moved by you (and/or a teammate(s)). Recycling is highly encouraged, wit and humor loudly applauded. Welding, wheels, gears, wire, or glue?—it’s entirely up to you. But choose soon—May 14th is looming, with cash prizes to entice you towards your best efforts!
 
5.     IT ALL BEGINS AND ENDS WITH A PARTY. Everyone can get kinetic the night before the parade (Friday the 13th from 5-8pm) with free performance by Patrick and the Swayzees and a full bar in front of the Custom House Museum, along with last-minute registration and volunteer sign-ups.  After the parade (Saturday, May 14th from 1-2:30), there will be revelry and fanfare at the Southernmost Beach Café with awards, drinks, food, and more.
 
Have some fun and make Papio proud—give a rebel yell and sign up now. Parade registration is $25 for Kinetic Sculpture Float teams and $15 for each Art Bike. Don’t forget to check out the parade’s creations with a special exhibition at Fort East Martello from 9:30am-4:30pm Sunday, May 15th. The creative spirit of the Florida Keys community is always a sight to behold!
 
Sponsored in part by The Knight Foundation Knight Arts Challenge, The Helmerich Trust, the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, and the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.  For more information visit www.papioskineticparade.com or call Adele Williams, 305.295.6616 x 115.   
Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island. 

Press Release - april 28, 2016

​Key West Art & Historical Society Honors Pioneering Folk Artist Stanley Papio with Permanent Exhibit Opening
 
Stanley Papio saw art where others saw junk. The rebellious welder-turned-metal-artist  transformed the metal collection piled high in his yard into extraordinary works of art, many of them comical and caustic commentary on neighbors and naysayers who wanted him to conform to their imposed zoning laws. 
 
34 years after his death, Key West Art & Historical Society is proud to present the permanent exhibit of the pioneering Florida Keys folk artist. Stanley Papio: Junkyard Rebel opens Saturday, May 14th with a special reception from 5:30pm-7:00pm at Fort East Martello Museum, 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd in conjunction with that afternoon’s inaugural Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade.
 
“Papio and his artwork embody the Florida Keys,” says Society Curator Cori Convertito, PhD. “When confronted repeatedly, he began using his artwork to fight back; to oppose the environmental defilers and neighbors that tried pushing him out of Key Largo. 
 
“It’s that spirit that earns him the title of ‘Rebel’,” she continues. “He had passion for his artwork, for what he offered the community.  The Society is harnessing that passion in the exhibition, and I am chuffed to be involved in bringing overdue attention and respect to one of the Florida Keys’ pioneering folk artists.”
 
Though Papio gained some acknowledgement of his work by a handful of museum professionals, like many folk artists, he was not truly recognized for his remarkable artistic abilities until after his death. When Papio passed suddenly in 1982, the Society acquired his collection— more than 100 sculptural objects and three-dimensional constructions, which will now live permanently in the Fort museum’s newly renovated, climate-controlled gallery.
 
“His family in Canada was keen on the collection staying together, ideally in the Florida Keys,” says Convertito. “Since the Key West Art & Historical Society was the principal historical institution in the region, it was fitting that The Society received the donation of artwork from Papio’s family.”
 
For many years the collection was given little attention due to management shifts from within the organization, but when The Society came under the curatorial direction of Convertito and the executive direction of Michael Gieda, it was recognized for its significance and plans were laid out to help put Papio in his proper place.    
 
“Having such a comprehensive body of Papio’s work is central to the Society’s mission of preserving the art of the Florida Keys,” says Convertito. “We are elated to be able to honor his legacy with the Kinetic Parade and give visitors the opportunity to appreciate his brilliant mind and remarkable skills with our new gallery of his work.”
 
The exhibit is sponsored in part by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. For more information, contact Cori Convertito, PhD at 305.295.6616 x 112.   
Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island.
​Key West Art & Historical Society Curator Cori Convertito, PhD., keeps company with two towering Stanley Papio sculptures. A new KWAHS permanent exhibit, "Stanley Papio: Junkyard Rebel" will open to the public at Fort East Martello, Saturday evening, May 14.
Photo by Carol Tedesco

Press Release - april 21, 2016

​Student's Kinetic Sculptures are Full "STEAM" Ahead
​Everyone loves a parade, and some of our island’s educators are loving it even more. Among the many artists and creatives preparing their human-powered sculptures for the May 14th Stanley Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade are a handful of teachers creatively engaging in STEAM initiatives as they work with students in creating their own kinetic art sculptures.
 
Seana Cameron  and her sixth graders at HOB are one of five Key West schools (Key West Collegiate Academy, Key West Montessori Charter School, Sigsbee Charter School and Horace O’Bryant Elementary School) awarded scholarships to help fund the transformation of tricycles into Kinetic Sculpture Floats. The project is providing them countless opportunities to tap into STEAM, an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.  
 
“The students revel in the problem-solving and the puzzling of how it will work,” says Cameron, who has been teaching for more than 29 years. “They are playful and even have a sense of aesthetic and style that must accompany any project.”
 
STEAM is an acronym that might be more familiar as STEM— The “A” (for Art/Design) has recently been government mandated into the STEM initiative which aims to support students in reaching their full potential, creating the future innovators, educators, leaders and learners of the 21st century.  Cameron’s methods of teaching integrate all curricular areas and she relies heavily on the development of ideas through discussion and exploration, learning that is at the heart of STEAM.
 
“The process for this construction is further enriched by asking of ourselves what the story or narrative of the piece is,” she says. “Without a narrative it is simply an object that moves. The narrative begets the art.”   
 
Key West Art & Historical Society Education Director Adele Williams is visiting the participating schools with a presentation on late Keys folk artist Stanley Papio, a humorous rebel metal-artist who explored the value of recycled materials long before it was hip to be rusty.
 
“A kinetic parade is the perfect amalgamation of STEAM subjects,” says Williams. “If students are provided with a practical application for areas that they have been studying, the cross-disciplinary learning can't help but happen.”
 
While none of Papio’s sculptures were intended to move, the parade reflects his rebel approach to art and life. Williams’ presentation offers students examples of his work and demonstrates varying principals of kinetics that could be applied to their kinetic sculpture floats. (The presentation will also be made available online at  www.papioskineticparade.com).
 
The family-friendly event is open to anyone, regardless of age or artistic level, and aims to honor Papio while promoting the artistic culture of the Florida Keys. 
 
“So far, I’ve really enjoyed watching the problem solving, collaboration and creativity,” says Cameron.
 
And all of this before the actual parade has even started. 
 
Registration for parade entrants is $25 for Kinetic Sculpture Floats and $15 for Art Bikes; cash prizes will be awarded for various categories. Deadline is May 1st for Kinetic Sculpture Floats and May 12th for Art Bike entries (limited to first 100 registrants). Artist timeline and expectations can be found here: www.papioskineticparade.com/artist-timeline.htm.
 
The Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade supported in part by The Knight Foundation Knight Arts Challenge, The Helmerich Trust, the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, and the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.  For registration information, event schedule, entry guidelines and pre-parade workshop information, visit www.papioskineticparade.com or call Adele Williams, (305)295-6616 ext. 115  
Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island.
​Members of Ms. Seana Cameron’s 6th grade Horace O’Bryant Middle School STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) class investigate the possibilities of a roller-coaster theme as they plan their entry for the upcoming Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade. Clockwise left to right: Sadie Dodds, Andrea Pena, Nelson Sawyer, teacher Seana Cameron, Kendra Johnson, Kenniah Chapman, Angela Boeskool, Alexandro Lopez and David Fernandez.
​​Left to right, Pricilla Castro-Sanchez, Sadie Dodds, Andre Pena and Nelson Sawyer, students in Ms. Seana Cameron’s Horace O’Bryant Middle School 6th grade STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) class show sketches of kinetic art sculpture possibilities in their Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade planning journals.

Press Release - april 14, 2016

Key West Art & Historical Society Announces Opening of Stanley Papio Gallery at Fort East Martello Museum 
Exhibit 
Key West Art & Historical Society
Stanley Papio: Junkyard Rebel
May 14, 2016
Contact:  Cori Convertito, PhD, 305.295.6616 x 112.  
Fort East Martello Museum, 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd., Key West
KWAHS.ORG/Exhibits

​Key West Art & Historical Society is proud to present the permanent exhibit opening of pioneering Florida Keys folk artist Stanley Papio in Stanley Papio: Junkyard Rebel which opens Saturday, May 14th in the newly renovated gallery at Fort East Martello Museum, 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd..
 
The rebellious welder-turned-metal-artist transformed old cars, washing machines and other metal appliances piled high in his yard into extraordinary works of art, many of them comical and caustic commentary on neighbors and naysayers who wanted him to conform to their imposed zoning laws. When Papio passed in 1982, the Society acquired his collection— more than 100 sculptural objects and three-dimensional constructions, which will now live permanently in the museum’s newly renovated, climate-controlled gallery.
 
Stanley Papio: Junkyard Rebel will open with a special reception from 5:30pm-7:00pm on May 14th in conjunction with the Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade.  Sponsored in part by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. For more information, contact Cori Convertito, PhD at 305.295.6616 x 112.   Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island.

Press Release - april 14, 2016

A Passion for Papio:  Historian Sharon Wells and Her Story of Stanley— ​Artist and historian Sharon Wells knows a good thing when she sees it.  In 1982, the then state historian for the Historic Florida Keys Preservation Board received a phone call from fellow historian Love Dean: Key Largo folk artist Stanley Papio had died and the fate of his work was in question.  Wells hopped in her car and drove up to mile marker 101 to document what the rebellious welder-turned-artist had left behind.
 
Wells had heard of Papio and his yard towering with old car parts, washing machines and other metal that he transformed into extraordinary works of art, but she’d only ever driven by the “Stanley’s Art Museum” sign where curious travelers would stop and pay the 25 cent entry fee to view the satirical metal sculptures depicting his neighbors, naysayers and people he considered to be ‘environmental rapists’ who wanted him conform to their imposed zoning laws. 
 
“It was astounding,” says Wells. “My immediate feeling was that they were like Calders and Picassos.” 
 
While people worked to rid the property of what they deemed as “junk,” Wells quickly photographed what she could, returning to Key West with wheels in motion to salvage his work.  Papio’s brother, heir to the collection, decided they belonged in the Keys and would gift them to an institution who agreed to keep them intact, so she made prints and brought them to the the Key West Art & Historical Society board, suggesting the sculptures be housed at Fort East Martello Museum. 
 
Though not unanimous (some saw rust while others saw art), they voted to accept, and soon Wells, Dean, and former Society Executive Director Barbara Hodgens were on their way to collect the creations – more than 100 sculptural objects and three-dimensional constructions— with the help of a Society maintenance man who un-welded the fence made of bedframes so they could be stacked along with the other pieces into two rented U-Hauls. 
 
“The stuff was heavy as hell!” laughs Wells.  “It was quite an ordeal.  But it was worth it.  I love that collection.” 
 
Wells wrote and was funded a National Endowment for the Arts grant to document and research Papio’s work. Next came two state grants for conservation, which brought expert Phoebe Weil –who also worked on the Vatican—into the mix, assessing each piece and providing a workshop for nearly 20 volunteers to help conserve nearly all the rusted pieces that were “a mess,” says Wells, who joined the Society board at this time.  With the collection ready for display, aside from three chrome pieces on exhibit at the Custom House Museum, all of the sculptures remain at the Fort.
 
Unfortunately, due to management shifts from within the organization, for many years they were given little attention, and the momentum for Papio was lost.  But when the Society came under the executive direction of Michael Gieda and the curatorial direction of Cori Convertito, their enthusiasm brought Wells back on board. 
 
“I called and asked his opinion of Papio,” she said.  “He quickly responded that it was a very important part of the museum’s collection that he wanted to focus on. We inventoried the pieces and that reawakened my own desire to get them in a proper setting so that more people could appreciate them.” 
 
The Society has since worked diligently to present his work and reacquaint the community with the artist who so deftly embodies the creative essence of the Florida Keys. It is proud to present the permanent exhibit opening of Stanley Papio: Junkyard Rebel on Saturday, May 14th from 5:30pm-7:00pm in the newly renovated gallery at Fort East Martello Museum, 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd. 
 
The exhibit opens in conjunction with the inaugural Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade, which kicks off in front of the Custom House Museum with a pop-up party and registration from 5-8pm on Friday the 13th; the family-friendly, human-powered art sculpture and art bike parade that will wind its way down Duval Street on Saturday at 12:00pm on May 14th, and end with a kinetic sculpture exhibition of the parade’s offerings at Fort East Martello from 12-6 on Sunday, May 15th.
 
 “In my opinion, Papio is one of the true artists of the Florida Keys in the 20th century,” says Wells.  “He was a talented welder and an untutored sculptor whose ingenuity and craftsmanship really described his own personal world in the vernacular of our region.  The Society is doing a great thing by reviving his story and exhibiting his work for all to see.”
 
Sponsored in part by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. For more information, contact Cori Convertito, PhD at 305.295.6616 x 112.   Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island.
Historian and photographer Sharon Wells documents a pair of Stanley Papio sculptures, “The Water-skier” (left) and “World War I Doughboy” (right) at Fort East Martello. Wells was instrumental in facilitating the acquisition of more than 100 of the rebel artist’s works by the Key West Art & Historical Society.
Photo by Carol Tedesco

Press Release - April 7,2016

​With a rebel yell: Remembering artist Stanley Papio 
There’s a kinetic parade coming to town on May 14th that celebrates creativity, innovation, and a Florida Keys man well ahead of his time: Stanley Papio, a folk artist with a clever sense of satire and a tenacity that continues to reverberate 34 years after his passing.
“Barefoot” Stanley Papio arrived in Key Largo in 1949, when the upper Keys were little more than an isolated stretch of highway on U.S. 1. He contentedly lived at Mile Marker 101 for many years, using his welding skills acquired in the U.S. Army during World War II for both commercial and creative purposes. Over time, his yard, piled high with old cars, washing machines, and other metal appliances all surrounded by a welded bed spring fence, became a treasure trove of recyclable materials that he would transform into art.

Unfortunately, as the area developed and the space between he and his neighbors diminished, what he saw as potential art, others simply called junk.

“I don’t have a junkyard,” Papio once said. “That’s all my future works out there, but you can’t tell that to people with nothing in their heads. Even when I’m done with something, they think it’s just garbage because it’s made out of junk.”

Despite disagreeable neighbors and the mounting pressure they imposed (which included his being jailed 6 times for zoning violations), his innovative and rebellious spirit would continue to evolve; Papio went on to create “satirical metal sculptures that depicted his neighbors, naysayers and people he considered to be ‘environmental rapists,’” says Key West Art & Historical Society Curator Cori Convertito, PhD.

“He transformed his collected metal into extraordinary pieces of art, many that tell a story of the defilement of the natural beauty of the Florida Keys,” says Convertito.

True to his irreverent nature, Papio renamed his welding shop “Stanley’s Art Museum” and charged a quarter for admission, inadvertently creating a roadside exhibition of folk art for travelers as well as a repository for his often comical and caustic creations. Critics, collectors and museum owners eventually discovered this outsider artist, all recognizing his creativity, imagination, and remarkable welding skills. He later exhibited in Canada, and again in Europe as part of the U.S. State Department’s America Now exhibition tour, and has since been listed in the Directory of American Folk Art and The World Encyclopedia of Naive Art.

Papio’s vision to have a traveling exhibition ended abruptly when he died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 67 in 1982. But the essence of Stanley Papio would live on through his work, which was donated by his family shortly after his death to the Key West Art and Historical Society. Today, the Society houses more than 100 of his restored sculptural objects and other three­dimensional constructions at Fort East Martello Museum and is in eager preparation to unveil a newly renovated, climate­controlled permanent exhibit of his work.

“He is long overdue for attention and respect as one of the Florida Keys’ pioneering folk artists,” says Convertito. “The Society is elated to give Papio his just desserts; honoring his legacy with the Kinetic Parade and a permanent exhibition.”

In the meantime, The Society encourages the community to invoke the spirit of Papio by putting together their own kinetic sculpture float teams or art bike for the Inaugural Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade on May 14th. Chances are you’ve got something to say and neighbors that won’t mind a bit if you raid their recycling bins­ so sign up now!

Details on the May 14th exhibit are coming soon; For parade information, event schedule, registration, entry guidelines and pre­parade workshop information, visit www.papioskineticparade.com. The Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade is supported in part by The Knight Foundation Knight Arts Challenge, The Helmerich Trust, the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, and the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.
Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island. 

Press Release - March 24, 2016

Free Workshop at Coast on Saturday for Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade Participants— Sparks fly as Alison Higgins and Gabriel Price begin the process of creating their team’s entry, “Awesoma the Narwhal Queen,” for the upcoming Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade, a three-day celebration of art bikes and human-powered moving sculpture set for May 13-15, 2016. For those interested in creating their own human-powered moving sculpture or art bike entry, a free workshop offering technical information on kinetic know-how, kinetic ideas and resources to support float-building will be offered Saturday, April 2, from 9a.m. to 1p.m. at Coast, 6404 Front Street, Stock Island. Created and presented by the Key West Art & Historical Society, the parade is inspired by and named for the late Keys artist Stanley Papio, a humorous rebel metal-artist who explored the value of recycled materials long before it was hip to be rusty. Supported in part by The Knight Foundation Knight Arts Challenge, The Helmerich Trust, the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, and the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.  For more information about this free workshop and the Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade, contact Adele Williams, Director of Education, at 305-295-6616, ext. 106 or visit papioskineticparade.com

Alison Higgins and Gabe Price of the AWESOMA THE NARWHAL QUEEN Team. Photo by Carol Tedesco​.

press release - March 10, 2016 

​Key West Art & Historical Society Puts Spin on Community Art with Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade
 Key West has long been known for its creative community and the many galleries that showcase some of its best artists.  Key West Art & Historical Society, steward to the island’s arts and history, is bringing that creativity to a new level of celebration with its inaugural Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade, set for May 13-15. 
 Inspired by and named for the late Keys artist Stanley Papio, a humorous rebel metal-artist who explored the value of recycled materials long before it was hip to be rusty, the parade will present human-powered mobile sculptures that will start at the Custom House Museum and travel down the length of Duval Street to the southernmost end of it, followed by an exhibit of the floats the next day at Fort East Martello, where Papio’s remaining sculptures are on display. While none of Papio’s sculptures were intended to move, the parade reflects his rebel approach to art and life. 
 
 “Naming the parade after the artist was a nod to both his legacy and body of work,” says Society Executive Director Michael Gieda. “For me, his art and approach captures the rebel, outsider spirit that permeates through the Florida Keys.”
 
 Artists, builders, and assemblers will put their creativity and engineering genius to play in the creation of Kinetic Sculpture Floats and Art Bikes.  Small and simple or elegantly engineered, teams of any number and age are welcome to enter this pedaled or pushed sculpture parade; for those requiring a bit of inspiration or assistance, a kinetic workshop will be offered on Saturday, April 2nd, at Coast (6404 Front Street, Stock Island) from 9am -1pm.
 
 Registration for parade entrants is $25 for Kinetic Sculpture Floats and $15 for Art Bikes; cash prizes will be awarded for various categories. Deadline is May 1st for Kinetic Sculpture Floats and May 12th for Art Bike entries (limited to first 100 registrants). Artist timeline and expectations can be found here: www.papioskineticparade.com/artist-timeline.htm.
 
“This event is open to anyone, regardless of age or artistic level, willing to create a sculpture or an art bike,” says Gieda.  “The real purpose of the event is to offer a family-friendly event that reflects and promotes the artistic culture of the Florida Keys.”
 
 So far, Key West Collegiate Academy, Key West Montessori Charter School, Sigsbee Charter School and Horace O’Bryant Elementary School have been awarded scholarships to help fund the transformation of tricycles donated by We Cycle Bike Shop into Kinetic Sculpture Floats.  Interested schools can contact Adele Williams, Society Director of Education. 
 
 The event kicks off in front of the Custom House Museum with a pre-registration party featuring Patrick and the Swayzees from 5-8pm on Friday, May 13th; the parade itself beginning at noon on Saturday, May 14th followed by a party at the Southernmost Beach, and ending the next day with a kinetic sculpture exhibition of the parade’s offerings at Fort East Martello from 12-6 on Sunday, May 15th.
 
 “The long term goal is to scale the parade to contend with other kinetic events throughout the county,” says Gieda, referring to major kinetic parades and races in Baltimore, Denver, Port Townsend, Eureka, and Corvallis.
 
 With the creativity and enthusiasm found here, chances are they’ll do just that in no time. 
 
 The Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade supported in part by The Knight Foundation Knight Arts Challenge, The Helmerich Trust, the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, and the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.  For registration information, event schedule, entry guidelines and pre-parade workshop information, visit www.papioskineticparade.com or call Adele Williams, (305) 295-6616 ext. 115   
Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island.
​​ Key West-based artist, craftsman and inventor Steve King begins "gearing-up" for the Key West Art & Historical Society Papio Kinetic Art Parade, a wacky and wondrous display of moving art set to hit the streets of Key
​Key West Art & Historical Society Executive Director Michael Gieda rubs elbows with a towering Stanley Papio sculpture at Fort East Martello Museum. Gieda's organization has won a prestigious Knight Arts Challenge People's Choice Award and a Community Foundation of the Florida Keys grant to assist in production of a Key West Kinetic Sculpture Parade named for the rebel artist. Each Knight Arts Challenge People's Choice Award nominee began as one of 75 finalists in the 2014 Knight Arts Challenge, a competition that rewards the best and most innovative ideas for the arts. 
Photo Credit: Carol Tedesco
​ Kinetic sculptures can be simple, spectacular, futuristic or whimsical, like this fanciful, human powered pot and flower photographed by Anthony Sheler at the 2012 Corvallis, Oregon da Vinci Days Grand Kinetic Challenge.
Photo Credit: Anthony Sheler / www.ashdr.com