Acclaimed artist takes everyday throw-away cardboard items and turns them into treasure for an installation as part of Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA's "ARTmuse" program.

Installation took place from January 15-February 4, 2014 at historic Sarasota High School.

VIDEO Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA's "ARTmuse" program












What an exciting season at SMOA !! Thousands of people entered the building, heard about the vision to transform the building and were given guided tours by volunteer Docents of the Lisa Hoke installation, "Swept Away," "Origins," the collaboration that was created for the Venice, Italy biennial by Sweet Sparkman architects and Ringling College, and walked through Patrick Dougherty's "Out In Front."

A 'big' thank you to SMOA Board Member and Docent Chairperson, Irene Kauffman, and ALL the volunteer Docents for their time and commitment to giving tours to thousands of children and adults. 

All of us at SMOA and Ringling College look forward to when the renovation will begin and the doors will open so the building will become a bustling new visual arts destination for the entire community.


Click here for an article written before Lisa Hoke's arrival at SMOA. 
Click here for an article written during Lisa Hoke's visit at SMOA. 
Click here to download the iPad version of CONTXT, the Ringling College magazine. In the spring 2014 issue there is an interactive article featuring the Lisa Hoke installation at SMOA. 


Lisa Hoke is known for transforming discarded, everyday materials into colorful, one-of-a-kind artworks that have been exhibited at major art museums and galleries. The artist spent three weeks creating a 100 x 12 foot installation inside the historic Sarasota High School. SMOA invited the community to participate in creating the installation by gathering colorful cardboard packaging materials that became part of the art.

When was the last time you’ve seen a huge work of art made from flattened Cheerios boxes, Harp Lager cartons and Pokemon cards? You can see this by taking a tour (see docent and tour information above). 

It’s all thanks to the fresh and daring ideas that SMOA’S “ARTmuse” program is bringing to Sarasota to inspire children and adults.

“We’re thrilled to offer our community another artistic transformation using unusual material to stretch their imaginations thanks to this remarkable artist,” says Surkis, adding that last year’s ARTmuse project with Patrick Dougherty was a “triumph.” Surkis says that Hoke’s work—reusing materials that are transformed into works of color and beauty—is “symbolic of the work SMOA is doing to re-purpose the historic Sarasota High School into a dynamic arts destination for innovative, contemporary visual art.”

Surkis notes that Hoke’s unfolding vision was realized with help, in part, from corporate partnerships and individual participation. “PNC Wealth Management, again, is this year’s corporate sponsor,” she says. “And, 71 businesses and organizations came on board to donate the colorful cardboard materials that they would have otherwise discarded." 

As Surkis sees it, community engagement is at the heart of SMOA’s mission. “We’re reinventing a historic structure that’s central to the experience Sarasotans have of their community,” she says. “At the same time, we’re connecting Sarasota with the larger arts community around the nation. The ARTmuse program attracts world-renowned artists and is helping to put us on the art world map while we are a museum in the making. It’s very exciting.”


Lisa Hoke: The Power of Positive Color

Lisa Hoke has an exceptionally daring approach to the creation of art. In three weeks, she designed and built an amazing large scale installation, fabricated from discarded colorful cardboard packaging, inside the historic Sarasota High School, the future home of the Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA.

Sarasotans collected materials of all sorts, adding abundantly to the drama of disposable products that were resurrected into Lisa’s surprising artistic blossom, ripe and bursting with color and filled with intricate careening configurations. The final work echoes with evidence of the everyday life of Sarasota’s households, businesses and services.

Lisa’s immediate moment of contact with this collected bounty precipitated spontaneous invention. Knowing unexpected objects were bound to appear, she accepted them as stimulating thought provoking ideas which gave impetus to her innovative vision.

When Lisa usually begins her work, she does not attempt to predict the final outcome. Her first step is creating one individual section, about 4 by 4 feet. Then she responds to what she has produced by generating another color filled section. Subsequently, each segment of her dynamic puzzle converses with and responds to all the previous color packed tactile sections she continues to devise.

Throughout her three weeks at SMOA, she was confronted with issues of composition, color relationships, formatting in three dimensions, negotiating corners, green chalk boards and windows and re-evaluating and resolving issues of form and content.

The artist’s dialogue with the emerging piece of art lead to a triumphant invention, transforming our experience of being in what was nothing but a forlorn abandoned classroom.

“So much of my work is about the chaos I live in," says Hoke. What the observer receives is a remarkable re-arranging of rubbish.

She trusts her intuition and her experience to guide her artistic decisions. Like product advertisers, Lisa capitalizes on the imperative of demanding attention through the use of bold color. What we, the viewers, immediately grasp is the perception of one idea; color. Color splashed sumptuously and superbly on the walls. When the immediate feast of color subsides, we are able to begin appreciating the finer points, the textures, the details, and the surprises.

Each of Lisa’s site specific installations is unique, demanding a precise sensibility for generating a dynamic impression, including where her sculpture begins, where it meanders and where it ends. Lisa must invent ways to lead the viewer’s eye from one colorful formation to the next so that the viewer is enticed into browsing thoroughly from one large color saturated area to the next eye catching location. Communication between the elements in this symphony of color is the poetry of her art.

The following are some of Lisa’s thoughts about herself and her work. Lisa is amazingly daring. “I like having doubts and time constraints. I enjoy not knowing what the end result will be, having to think on my feet. When I can anticipate the end result, I am restless and move on.”

Lisa is interested in inventing art that is not permanent. Her work is of the finite moment in a particular location, it symbolizes the flash of action, the hyperactivity of an instant taking place in the now reality.

“I am an artist who loves three dimensions and the tensions inherent in pushing off into space. The wall offers a point of contact and reaction. The wall is the silent person in the room.” Quotes taken from LH 2004 Sue Scott, Elizabeth Harris Gallery publication.

In today’s visual art world, it is imperative to recognize that there is enormous variety in what and how artists create. Acceptance of diverse subject matter, outlandish materials and a vast range of mediums, concepts and ideas is the norm. Art is fluid and impossible to predict. Few can say that some particular object is or is not acceptable art. SMOA’s goal is to present current visual ideas to Sarasota, so that we can all participate in this vibrant adventure, experiencing the extensive spectrum of artistic expression.

Lisa Hoke has constructed temporal works for many solo exhibitions and has been included in numerous prestigious group shows. She has work in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of Art in New York City, the New York Public Library, the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, D’Amour Museum, Springfield, MA, the New Orleans Museum of Art, Microsoft Corporate Headquarters to name a few. Lisa was born in Virginia Beach, VA in 1952. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1974, followed by a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1978. Lisa has lived and worked in New York City for over thirty years. She is currently represented by Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York, NY.

For more information about Lisa Hoke, visit




Samples of 'COLORFUL' cardboard materials. Varying thickness. Not ripped or crinkled.

A ‘big’ thank you to the special friends of SMOA who gathered and delivered the materials from our generous community, as well as those who have sorted, cut and organized the colorful cardboard packaging. (List current as of 1-3-14).

20 Minutes To Fitness, Main Street
Art & Frame of Sarasota
Beach Club, Siesta Key
Beginning to End Interiors 
BENNINGTON Tobacconist, St. Armands
Blasé Café 
Blu Que, Siesta Key
Blue Rooster
Café Gabbiano’s
Chamber of Commerce, Longboat Key/Lido Key/St. Armands Key
Chili’s Restaurant, Bee Ridge
The Cottage 
Cumberland Advisors
The Daiquiri Deck
Dr. Norman M. Aprill, MD, Gastroenterologist 
Dr. Howard Chasolen, Dentistry
Embracing Our Differences 
The Fresh Market 
The Greek Taverna of Sarasota
Gulf Coast Community Foundation  
Haraki-Gordon Green Tea
IOptics Eyewear
Joel Dahl, Photographer
Linkster Group 
The Lollicake Queen
Longboat Key Center for the Arts
Lotsa Lobster 
Mercedes Nails
Michael Saunders & Co., Siesta Key Agents  
Michael Saunders & Co., Advertising  
Molly’s, Stickney Point 
Mote Marine Laboratory  
New Balance, Stickney Point
Nikki’s Gift Baskets Personalized Gifts 
Norman’s Liquor
Out-of-Door Academy (ODA) 
Office Max
Perq Coffee Bar 
Pine View School
PNC Wealth Management 
Publix Liquor Store, Bay Road
Publix Market, Longboat Key
Regent Place - Residents
Ringling College, Advancement Staff 
Ringling College, Brickman Café
Ringling College, Media & Community Relations
Ringling College, Print Dept
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel 
Ritz-Carlton Tower Residences - Residents
Salty Dog, Siesta Key
Sarasota Magazine
Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA
The Sarasota Y
Sassy Hair, Siesta Key
Senor Siesta
Siesta Market
Selby Gardens Horticultural – Staff and Volunteers  
TheStadiumGallery, St. Armands
Super Value Nutrition, Landings 
Tom Elliott Bars Paddy Wagon & others  
Trader Joe’s  
Village Café, Siesta Key 
Village Market, Siesta Key
West Coast Black Theatre Troupe
Whole Foods

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