“Weedon Island is such a special place to many of us. It is a very natural place in the center of a very urban environment, which gives us a unique position in Pinellas county. This new painting created by Carrie Jadus, which depicts the natural beauty and archaeological history of the Weedon Island Preserve, provides a special opportunity for the community to be a part of Weedon’s rich history, and to help continue with the future of Weedon Island,” said Lindsay Cross.
The commemorative painting, “A Glimpse Through the Mangroves,” by Carrie Jadus, was unveilied at the Cultural and Natural History Center, Weedon Island Preserve on June 19, 2014. The special event was attended by invited officials and past and present Board members of the Friends of Weedon Island. Carrie Jadus signed high-quality reproductions of the oil painting for purchase. You can see photos from the event, “A Glimpse Through the Mangroves Unveiling.”
Lindsay Cross is the President of the non-profit organization, Friends of Weedon Island. She has been involved in the organization for seven years, and has been President for the past three years. She talked about how the new mural installed in the visitor’s center came to exist.
“We got the idea for the mural because we had people who wanted to memorialize their loved ones,” said Cross. “We used to install green benches along the trail and people could donate them for that purpose. When we reached our capacity with the benches, we were trying to find something else we could do that is special and meaningful. One of our members, Wallie Guthrie, had seen the beautiful paintings of Carrie Jadus. He talked with the committee about having Carrie paint something that could be installed in the Cultural and Natural History Center that could be used for memorials and donations.”
“The Cultural and Natural History Center at Weedon Island is open for visitors on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Weedon Island trails, the pier, and the kayak trails are free to the public and open every day of the year except Christmas and Thanksgiving,” she said.
“We just celebrated the tenth anniversary of the center last year. The Friends held a 10-year anniversary celebration in February 2014,” said Cross. “Inside the center there is a wonderful environmental and natural history exhibit, which is very interactive.”
The Center receives 18,000 visitors per year and is a popular location for school groups, families, guest lectures and educational programs. “The Friends sponsor children for wildlife ecology and herpetology summer camps. We provide camp scholarships. We sponsor a marine science lecture series called, ‘Salty Topics.’ We also bring in other speakers and exhibits for the preserve. We help to support environmental management and restorations,” said Cross.
“We have an annual trail run, called the Gopher Weedon Trail Run, which is 8 kilometers (so about 5 miles) through wooded trails and boardwalks,” Cross said. “There is a registration free for the trail run. That is normally held the last Saturday in October. It is sponsored by the Friends, and proceeds from the run support our environmental and educational programs.”
“One of the most exciting things that the friends have done is paid for the excavation and preservation of a 1,000 year old woodon canoe that was found at Weedon Island. It was made by the earliest inhabitants here,” said Cross. “The ancient canoe is 40 feet long and it is the largest saltwater canoe that has ever been found. Right now it is in the process of being preserved. It was excavated a couple of years ago, but is is a several year process to cure this canoe. It is soaking in a waxing material that will help preserve it. We hope it will be ready to be displayed within a year. The painting will hang right around the corner from where the canoe will be displayed.”
Donor and memorial recipient names are recognized on a complementary display beside the painting.
Carrie Jadus is a skilled fine artist who works out of Soft Water Studios in the Warehouse Arts District of St. Petersburg. She is involved in her community and dedicated to helping grow the arts in St. Petersburg. For example, Soft Water Studios holds a figure drawing studio session each Tuesday night, as a very low cost, useful resource for local artists.
Her artist/sculptor friend Mark Aeling, whose MGA Sculpture Studio is adjacent to Soft Water Studios, is President of the Warehouse Arts District. Aeling and Jadus work on their own personal art projects, but they also work with other artists to create events and exhibits to promote other artists and visual art in the community. They are involved in the monthly Second Saturday Art Walks in downtown St. Petersburg. Both Jadus and Aeling recently donated their work on a chair for the Blueprint-Artscape 2014 Habitat for Humanity event.
At the 2014 First Night St. Pete Celebration, the Warehouse Arts District artists created a lovely lamp-lit arts display at Williams Park, including an amazing Chinese Dragon, which was paraded through the city streets. Jadus painted a huge butterfly that people could stand in front of to be photographed, and Jadus, Aeling and their artist friends spent the evening donating their time to draw free pen portraits of park visitors. Jadus was asked to create the fine art poster to commemorate the evening, and her “First Night, First Flight 2014” painting eloquently captured the spirit of the celebration. Her commitment to her community as well as her talent make Jadus the perfect artist to be involved in this Weedon Island art project.
Weedon Island Preserve protects more than 3,700 acres of natural ecosystems and is located at 1800 Weedon Island Drive N.E. in St. Petersburg, FL. The Preserve is open to the public and offers many outdoor activities including hiking, paddling, and fishing. In the Preserve, the Cultural and Natural History Center welcome visitors and features the new, permanent exhibit, Connecting People and Place, which is an art-inspired, hands-on educational approach to the area’s history, ecology and people. The Center also holds a wide range of programs and events for people of all ages.
From the Friends of Weedon Island web site
To register for these programs, please call (727) 453-6500.
For more information about Weedon Island Preserve call (727) 453-6900