Four Arts is hosted by Florida Voices – Update Flor


Les Standiford, Deborah C. Pollack and Rick Kilby are among the three Florida authors who will share their voices as part of the Florida Voices book discussion series at the Royal Library of the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach.

Funded by the Brotherton Endowment, the series was rebooted in 2014 and brings together authors who live part-time or full-time in Florida to perform once a month, from October through April.

“Florida Voices started when Molly Charland (former director of Campus on the Lake and King Library) decided to invite authors to speak,” says Rachel Schipper, director of libraries at the Society of the Four Arts.

“The series continues to be very popular and educational,” says Ms. Schipper.

Mrs. Pollack, an art dealer who owns a gallery on Worth Avenue, will talk with her husband, Edward Pollack, about their book, “Sculptors and Their Work: 1880-2020,” published by Schiffer.

The book features famous and lesser-known sculptors who have called Florida home, including Robert Rauschenberg, Duane Hanson, John Chamberlain and Augusta Savage.



“Even though we look at art, including public art, a lot of times we don’t really see what we’re looking at,” says Ms. Pollack, author of nine books, including “Laura Woodward: The Artist Behind the Innovator Who Developed Palm Beach.”

“To really understand a sculpture, we have to walk around it, examine it, think about the sculptor’s intentions and what message he is trying to convey to us, the viewer,” he says.

“I hope this book will help people understand how to look at sculpture,” says Ms. Pollack.

Likewise, Mr. Standiford, who loved the circus in Cambridge, Ohio as a child, wants people to understand the magic and glory of circuses that have disappeared from the landscape.

In “Battle for the Big Top: PT Barnum, James Bailey, John Ringling and the Death Defying Saga of the American Circus,” Mr. Standiford brings to life a piece of America that lives on in nostalgia and our collective memories.



“When the circus came to town, everything stopped,” Mr Standiford recalls. “There was so much glamour, excitement and glory. All schools and shops are closed. Everyone went down to the main street to watch the parade.

“I want to recapture the pleasure and excitement of the circus,” he says.

In May 2017, Mr. Standiford witnessed the last of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island and is saddened by its demise.

“I want people to remember how important the circus was to the country,” he says.

“Remember,” he says, “this was a time before pro football, before movie theaters or radio. It has been a popular form of entertainment for young, old and everyone in between for over 100 years.”

“When the circus came to town, it was a day to revel, take a day off and, most importantly, see that you can come to this country and remake yourself,” he says.

“The circus was more than diversion or entertainment, it was a reflection of the country and the principles that drew people to it,” says Mr Standiford.

He says the Feld family (the family behind the circus) plans to revive the circus more in line with Cirque du Soleil, without the animals that have sparked animal rights protests.

The author, who has written more than 25 books, including “Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago and Rise of America’s Xanadu,” is already working on his next book about Don and Mera Rubell, tentatively titled “The World’s Largest Private Collection of Contemporary Art.”

Another author who writes about his passions is Orlando-based Mr. Kilby.

A Florida native and former creative director of the Church Street attraction in Orlando before launching Kilby Creative, Mr. Kilby became interested in Florida’s healing waters in 2000 after visiting the “tourist trap” Ponce de Leon Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine and wrote his first book, “Finding the Fountain of Youth: Ponce de Leon and Florida’s Magical Waters,” which won the Florida Book Award in the visual arts category.

In “Florida’s Healing Waters: Gold Age Mineral Springs, Seaside Resorts and Health Spas,” Mr. Kilby takes readers back to Florida’s “Golden Age of Bathing,” when tourists flocked here for the renewal and renewal of its oceans and mineral springs.

Mr. Kilby says he became obsessed with the subject and made pilgrimages to many places in Florida, including White Springs in northern Florida and Suwannee Springs on the Suwannee River in Live Oak.

“I love this era in Florida history,” says Mr. Kilby. “People came on steamboats and trains. I learned about sea bathing and the practice of hydrotherapy in large tourist hotels and visitors who came to bathe in our waters for therapeutic reasons,” he says.

For those who want to “take the waters,” Green suggests Cove Springs on the St. John’s River between Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Safety Harbor Resort and Spa in Clearwater and Warm Mineral Springs in North Port, Sarasota County.

He and his wife recently bathed in the waters at Warm Springs in Bath County, Virginia, where Thomas Jefferson spent nine days in 1817.

He hopes to visit springs and spas in Germany and the Czech Republic as part of a historical tour of Europe.

Noting that people are born in water, they love to be by and in water, Mr. Kilby says, “You can achieve a level of relaxation in these springs that is quite amazing.” ¦


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