True to Miami form, local arts and performance organization Tigertail Productions was formed from the ground up and has maintained a close connection with the local artists it supports. Founded in 1979 by Mary Luft, it is the longest-standing organization of its kind in South Florida. While it is primarily a performance collective, its projects for persons with special needs, international exchange groups, and educational programs have utilized and represented the talents of local, national, and international artists belonging to a wide variety of disciplines.
“We are about engaging members of our community with the arts,” says Director of Operations John Kramel. ”This takes many forms: concerts, community projects, literary activities, and advocacy.”
This is why you should participate in Tigertail’s Expected/Unexpected online auction – or at least get a moneyed friend to do it. It’s happening right now, and ends July 1. Tigertail’s annual fundraiser included a silent auction, which was, explains Kramel, “one component of the fundraising party as a whole.” Out of forty pieces, only 12 didn’t sell – and they’re all pretty amazing.
“Art is a very individual experience,” says Kramel. “It takes just the right person to see and desire to own a particular piece. If that person is not present at the party, that piece will not be sold.”
One piece, “A Slight of Yellow Makes It Mellow” by Charo Oquet – a canvas with stunning color – has already sold. Oquet’s own history with Tigertail is a testament to its legacy and dedication. “I’ve known Mary Luft and Tigertail since I first arrived in Miami 22 years ago,” she says. “I’ve always admired the work that Tigertail has presented and the work they do for the community. They are the most important performance organization in Miami in my opinion.”
Tom Virgin – whose included piece, “Your School #4,” is a beautiful combination of watercut aluminum and fabric – initially developed a relationship with Tigertail from a distance but it proved to be just as supportive. “I was having growing pains – actually, lack-of-growing pains – post-grad school,” he explains. “My relationship with Tigertail Productions began in 2001, when I received an Artist Access Grant from Tigertail Productions and the Miami-Dade county Department of Cultural Affairs to do a traditional Japense printmarking workshop in Silver Springs, Md. This opportunity gave me access to a gifted Japanese professional printmaker, Takuji Hamanaka … Sensei made prints sing for me again.”
As with most of Tigertail’s auctions, the artists whose works were featured in the Expected/Unexpected auction were “selected by a highly-respected visual artist,” says Kramel. “The artists donate what they wish. This past year, gallery owner Fredric Snitzer aided us in obtaining and selecting some pieces for the auction.”
We’re fortunate Tigertail didn’t sell the entirety of the collection just yet. Head here to read the rules and participate, snag a work of your own, and contribute to the growth of this indispensable organization.