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Stick Sculptor Building Circus-Inspired Big Top

Patrick Dougherty is known for his sculptures using primitive construction techniques.

Welcome to the sticks. 

This may not be the backcountry of Sarasota County, but these sticks are being sculpted into dreamlike structures by a world-renowned artist in front of the Sarasota Museum of Art.

It's part of the museum's "ARTmuse" program featuring sculptor Patrick Doughtery, who started on the work on Monday in front of the historic Sarasota High School, which will soon be home to the museum.

The public is encouraged to stop by to see the work in progress, and free docent tours are available at the museum between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Sunday through Jan. 26. (No scheduled tours for Jan. 18, 19 and 20). 

Dougherty, born in Oklahoma and raised in North Carolina, is known for building using primitive techniques, though with the help of scaffolding today, using tree saplings.

For Sarasota, he told WWSB that he's inspired by the city's circus heritage:

"I've got an idea about a circus tent being in town…this is a pole for it, it will be stick columns, and it'll have a top to it. It'll be like a circus on the top and a fun house on the bottom," says Dougherty. 

The art museum is a division of Ringling College of Art and Design to transform the high school into 60,000 square feet of art exhibition space, a 110-seat auditorium, a sculpture court and more.

To help raise funds to the museum, the SMOA Inaugural Bash will be hosted from 6 to 10 p.m. Jan. 20, on the grounds of the historic high school. Features drinks, food and Tampa-based dance band Ace Factor. Tickets start at $125 and can be purchased by calling 941-309-4732.

Photo Contest

The museum is also hosting a photography contest inspired by Dougherty's work in Sarasota called "Sticks and Clicks."

The competition runs through noon Jan. 27 and all entries must be submitted online by 6 p.m. Feb. 3.

"We invite professional and amateur photographers of all ages to come to the site and capture images as the Dougherty sculpture is being created," said Wendy G. Surkis, president of Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA. "We look forward to receiving a variety of submissions since each person will be attracted to different things going on at the site."

She said that prizes will be awarded in three categories: professional, amateur, and student. The grand prize winner will receive $1,000. 

For more information about entering the contest, visit www.ringling.edu/sticksandclicks

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