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Local artist paints room for new exhibit

By Staff | Apr 14, 2011

This original piece of art by Leoma Lovegrove is part of a new exhibit at the Edison and Fort Winter Estates. Into the Wild: Edison, Ford and Friends exhibit is now open to the public.

Leoma Lovegrove feels every artist should have a part in history.

Her part: A room she painted for the new Into The Wild: Edison, Ford and Friends exhibit at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates.

The newest exhibit, which opened April 10, chronicles the camping adventures of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and their friends through photographs, archival materials and artifacts, including a 1918 Model T truck Ford had specially made for the trips.

“I feel honored to work on the exhibit,” said Lovegrove, who owns Lovegrove Art Gallery on Periwinkle Way. “Edison has been my hero and I model my work habits after him.”

Her artwork in the exhibit is reminiscent of the private scrapbook American Naturalist John Burroughs produced in celebration of his 1916 camping trip with Edison, Ford and Harvey Firestone. Lovegrove was given the opportunity to view the archives prior to painting a 20-foot-by-20-foot room at the Estate.

Leoma Lovegrove modeled her artwork in a new exhibit at Edison and Ford Winter Estates after this photograph taken in the early 1920s during Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs camping trip. Into the Wild: Edison, Ford and Friends is the newest exhibit at the museum and chronicles the adventures of Edison, Ford and their friends.

“It was emotional as an artist to see the archives,” she said. “Burroughs was a rock star of that era.”

The room is painted in brown tones with tall trees and an Easter bunny, hornets nest, tortoise and owl subtly placed throughout the room. Lovegrove’s use of animals came from Burroughs’ nature illustrations combined with the idea of feeling like it was a 1920s camping trip.

“I wanted the feeling of walking into nature versus the typical cold feel of a museum,” said Lovegrove, who spent four days painting the exhibit.

Into the Wild is being featured in conjunction with a documentary of camping trips and explorations produced by WGCU Public Media and sponsored by George M. Cox Trust. The Estates is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and is located at 2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers.

“I enjoyed being in the museum,” said Lovegrove. “The staff was lovely.”