PRESS RELEASE, For Immediate Release,  January 15, 2015


Photos available upon request

Seminole Artist Gives South Florida Front Seat View of Traditional Canoe Carving

Jan 27th Event Launches Year-Long Project at Upper Room Art Gallery

Fort Lauderdale – Starting Jan. 27, residents will get a chance to watch Seminole Artist Pedro O. Zepeda carve a traditional canoe from a Cyrpress Log , as part of a new initative by the Fort Lauderdale-based Upper Room Art Gallery and funded by the Knight Arts Challenge.  The canoe is anticipated to take at least a year to create, and the process can be observed from the front windows of the gallery.  Zepeda will visit the gallery at least twice a month to carve and interact with visitors as part of the gallery’s Tribal Arts Project.

The Opening Reception and Ribbon Cutting will be held at  7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 at the Upper Room Art Gallery, Las Olas Riverfront, 300 SW 1st Avenue, unit 129, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301.  Additional information can be found at  RSVP’s are accepted on the Facebook Event page or by calling 954-592-6021.

The John S and James L Knight Foundation awarded the grant to Upper Room Art Gallery for the preservation of traditional art forms indigineous to South Florida, with a cross-cultural interactive component .  Included in the Tribal Arts Project is the “Paddle Up on the Himmarshee Canal”, which is anticipated to take place midyear in 2015.  The Paddle Up will be a fusion of cultures, featuring tribal members in full regalia and dug out canoes, mixed with local paddleboards, kayaks and canoes.  As a public performance art piece, artist Robin Haines Merrill will be recreating the concept of the Trading Posts with a twist, along the Himmarshee Canal. “Art and Culture will be the mode of bartering instead of money, because Art has Value”, says Merrill. “The participants can receive items from the Trading Posts by an endless variety of options, like singing a song, reciting poetry, bringing a craft they’ve created or a photo of their work”.  The Himmarshee canal cuts through the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale along Las Olas Boulevard and is home to mangroves and diverse environmental landscapes.

Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge funds the best ideas for bringing South Florida together through the arts. More about the foundation’s work is available at

Contact: Upper Room Art Gallery,,

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