Author: Melissa Karen Sances

Closing The Loop

In preparation for the upcoming exhibition “Viewpoints” at the Admiralty Gallery next month, Francis Sprout was looking through his studio flat files and discovered a cache of figurative drawings he had executed in undergraduate school more than 50 years ago.

A Vero Beach Treasure

“What is that out there?” It’s the most commonly asked question of lifeguards at Humiston Beach, and for good reason. About 400 yards offshore, a flag waves conspicuously above the water. Just below the surface is the bow anchor of the Breconshire, a cargo ship that ran aground in Vero Beach more than a century ago. When the tide is low enough, you can see the tip of what’s left of the ship.

One For The Books

Heather didn’t know she would follow in her mother’s footsteps. In fact, being mindful of the environment just seemed natural. She grew up amid cornfields and forests with four brothers keen on exploring. Together, they roamed until the street lights came on – their silent call home.

Branching Out

Patrick Dougherty has always been captivated by sticks. Yes, you read that right. Sticks. The internationally renowned “stick worker” has created more than 250 sculptures made of “mankind’s first building material,” intertwining truckloads of saplings to make large-scale structures. On January 6, Patrick will install his newest creation at McKee Botanical Garden.

Funny Business

Interestingly enough, comedy was secondary for more than half of his life. It’s not that Barry didn’t have a “funny” destiny. Both of his parents, particularly his mom, were comic inspirations. “The atmosphere of our house was that you didn’t take things too seriously,” the humorist says. “Nothing was sacred. My parents were able to laugh about a lot of things, including sometimes tragic things, because why not? I was a little surprised when I went out into the world and found out that not everyone’s parents were as funny as mine.”

Practice Makes Perfect

Foster Lampert is about to do some projects around the house, but he stops at the dining room table when he sees my voice recorder set in front of his wife, Judi. “She kind of downplays herself, but she’s extremely talented,” he says, slowly and clearly, looking at me and then the recorder. “In everything she’s an extreme overachiever, and she’s always been the best at everything she’s done.”

Honoring The Past

Next season the Vero Beach Theatre Guild will perform “The Claypools of Vero,” Suzan’s play inspired by a chapter in her aunt Dorothy Fitch Penniston’s novel An Island in Time. The play follows Dorothy’s life in the 1920s when she came to Vero Beach with her parents. Dorothy’s parents and Suzan’s grandparents, Winchester and Florence Fitch, built “Orchid Oaks,” one of the first seven houses on the barrier island, and were among the founders of Riomar in 1919.

Wounded Warrior

“It’s a slow-motion event, at least in your mind, when you go through something like this,” says Gadson. “I remember being ejected, hitting the ground and coming to a rolling stop. Then it was back to real motion and I was like, ‘I don’t know why I’m on my back and I can’t move.’ And then I just said, ‘God, I don’t want to die in this country.’”

Pieces of History

From just a few feet away, Russ Hahn’s “Dutch Treat” looks like a painting of a windmill. But up close you can see words among the wood. “NEDERLAND” peeks out of the mill’s walls, and “AMSTERDAM” is a clear, white curve on an orange roof. You blink, and then you notice letters on indistinct houses and numbers in the reeds. As your eyes adjust, you realize this is no ordinary painting. In fact, it’s not a painting at all. It’s a collage of thousands of pieces of postage stamps.

Second Nature

As she drove through the Everglades more than 10 years ago, Viola Pace Knudsen was inspired. After examining the work of an unassuming street artist who sold pine needle baskets, Viola returned to her own backyard, surveyed her 12 evergreens, and started collecting material.

A Place of Miracles

The Scully-Welsh Cancer Center at the Indian River Medical Center is indeed miraculous. It was built on faith – not religious faith, per se, but faith in the future of health and healing in Vero Beach. It offers the best of the present: state-of-the-art technology; an affiliation with Duke Cancer Institute; the capacity for life-changing clinical trials; and a commitment to each patient’s physical, emotional and spiritual comfort. It was made possible by multiple donors, including Bill and Marlynn Scully and Pat and Carol Welsh. The two couples donated $12 million each, one half of the estimated $48 million capital campaign.

A True Tale With A Happy Ending

David Kilpatrick remembers sitting at the screening of Warner Brothers’ Dolphin Tale feeling at once like a proud professional and a wide-eyed child. The seasoned veterinarian who owns Southside Veterinary Hospital in Vero Beach and consults with Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce is best known for his involvement in the rescue of the movie’s star, Winter, a bottlenose dolphin stranded in the Indian River Lagoon near Titusville, Fla. in 2005.

Going To The Chapel

“Most women, from the time they’re 10 years old, have some idea of what they want their wedding to look like,” says Fé Domenech of Florals by Fé. And according to Domenech and the many other wedding gurus we spoke to, Vero Beach lends itself to any fantasy.

It Takes a Village

Jay McLaughlin knows something about celebrity. The last time he was featured in a Vero Beach Magazine article in March 2010, we called him a “fashion king.” At the time, the New York-based fashion designer and high-end retail mogul was the “new” news in town thanks to his purchase and renovation of a Vero Beach home and the opening of J. McLaughlin, a women’s clothing store on Ocean Drive.