Donation in Memory of Elizabeth Hutchinson-Sperry
Elizabeth Hutchinson-Sperry, local artist and wife of Frank Thomas Sperry died on January 19, 2022, in Port Charlotte, Florida. Born July 9, 1938, in Washington, D.C., she was the youngest daughter of Major C.B. Hight and Elizabeth Mahon Hight. She was married to Robert Bosworth Hutchinson of New York, who died in 1988.
Elizabeth graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1959 with a Bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy. She joined the IBM Corporation in 1960, Washington, D.C., as an Executive Secretary. When the family moved to Columbus, Ohio in 1972, Liz began attending a private art studio as well as Ohio State University. Upon retirement and moving to Punta Gorda, she joined classes at Edison Community College.
In 1985 a core group of Punta Gorda artists and citizens began a movement to develop a plan for a permanent Visual Arts Center. It all began with a door to door-to-door canvas request for donations, an effort very well received. With strong support of the city, plus Don Witter, then President/Owner of First Federal Bank, Fred Babcock of Babcock Ranch, and board members of the Charlotte County Art Guild, a building campaign was in full swing. The Guild, at that time, was led by Linda Pflug, President, with Henry Lohse, Vice President, Liz Hutchinson, Exhibit Chairman, Norma and Lou Reder, Vern Durstein, and many others. A building committee was formed. The City of Punta Gorda made the vacant lot at the corner of Maude Street and Marion Avenue available for the building site. The Visual Arts Center remains today as a vibrant part of this community and Southwest Florida. Serving as Exhibit Chairman for many years, Liz established the "Harvest of Art" as the annual season-opening exhibit as well as helping formulate the plans for the on-going Biennial National Show.
A graduate of Leadership Charlotte (1995) and President of the Punta Gorda Downtown Business Alliance (1996), Liz along with other leaders established the Punta Gorda Historic Mural Society in 1994. The goal was to produce historically accurate murals throughout the city. The PGHMS continues, led by Kelly Gaylord, and her dedicated society of mural artists creating beautifully accurate history walls within the city.
Liz studied with noted artists Daniel Greene of New York, Helen Wyck of New York, as well as Gale Bennett of Fort Myers, Florida. In the late 1990s when Mr. Bennett opened his ArtStudy Giverny Program in France, she joined him as Assistant Director and Instructor. That began an eight-year association with ArtStudy, spending summers on location in Giverny teaching the classical impressionist manner in Claude Monet's iconic gardens.
A well-known local teacher, Liz received many awards for her work including the Charlotte County Achievement In Arts Award in 2009 and the prestigious Naples Portrait Award for her painting of Dr. Benjamin Carson, then of Johns Hopkins Hospital. She opened Red Hat Studio in 2000 at 311 Taylor Street, Punta Gorda's first working art studio. The familiar logo of a little girl in a big red hat is first granddaughter, Alexandria. Her paintings, especially those during the Giverny years, are held in many collections. Thirty artists a week made up the studio participating in exhibits and regularly collecting prizes. In 2013 RHS members developed the Masterpiece Program, the mural-sized paintings mounted on the northwest wall of the VAC.
In 2007 she married Frank Thomas Sperry of Holland Patent, New York. After living in Port Charlotte for several years they returned to the house on Taylor Street. This house is a historic home built in 1923 for the daughter of Sidney Parnell, the first sheriff of Charlotte County. The home was remodeled and Red Hat Studio was added in 1999.
Her daughter, Christina Elizabeth Hutchinson, preceded her in death in 2014 as well as Liz's sister Lilla Hight Nash in 2020. Liz is survived by daughter Grace Hutchinson Minor of St. Augustine, Fla., grandchildren Alexandria Elizabeth Minor of Columbus, Ohio, Jack Dempsey Minor of Athens, Ohio, and Kleo Leticia Minor of St. Augustine, Florida.
"It's been a wonderful life" she has said, "full of great adventures, precious friends and love."
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Elizabeth Hutchinson-Sperry Memorial, Charlotte County VAC, 210 Maude Street, Punta Gorda, FL 33950, for the purpose of funding prizes for their prestigious National Biennial Exhibit.
If you wish to donate in memory of Liz, please follow the instructions below:
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