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A different way to look at ‘Hurricane Season’

By Staff | Jun 14, 2009

The colorful Lovegrove Gallery and Garden can hardly be missed while driving through Matlacha.
At all times, the outfits worn by the six young ladies standing outside remind the passers-by what time of year or season it is. At least for motorists, they might look like “young ladies,” but as a matter of fact, they are what artist and gallery owner Leoma Lovegrove calls her “Matlacha Mannequins.”
A book is presently being written about the lives of these “young ladies,” or rather the various outfits worn by these mannequins throughout the years.
“It has the history of what they wore in the past 12 years,” Lovegrove said. “Now that we are in the hurricane season, with their yellow raincoats, they are pretty much ready for the summer, unless we have a wedding or a special event.”
Should a wedding be held at Lovegrove Gallery, located at 4637 Pine Island Road, then the yellow raincoats will be replaced by dresses for bride and bridesmaids. The length of each display varies greatly. It can be as short as one day, as it was recently for Palm Sunday, or it can last for several months, as does the hurricane season; but for the mannequins, it will be shortened a bit.
“In October, we’ll go back to pink for ‘Breast Cancer Month,'” Lovegrove said. “I think we have 30 different outfits. We used to have eight mannequins. I even had one who was nine-months pregnant, but I retired two of them because it was too much.”
Indeed, not only the dressing and undressing is time consuming; Lovegrove has made many of the outfits herself. Others, such as the yellow raincoats with hoods, she buys in stores.
In addition to the raincoats these “ladies” are wearing now, each holds a sign bearing the title of a song relating to rain. Inside the gallery, the visitors are greeted by the tunes.
Lovegrove said, “I have always been an artist, even as a child.” She is a graduate of the Ringling School of Art, and last December she was among those attending an artist reception at the White House.
For more information on the gallery and availability for special events, call 282-1244, or visit: www.leomalovegrove.com.