Discover Icons: Windows to Heaven

Now on display in the Visitor Center, Tampa artist Vevie Dimmitt presents her newest exhibit, Icons: Windows to Heaven. As an environmental advocate, Vevie shares her love of nature and the concerns for its preservation through her art.

The exhibit is a kaleidoscope of bright colors, textures, and memories from Vevie’s extensive travels and history. Each piece is a window into her emotions, memories, and personal experiences.

She has served on the Board of Directors of the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy for 23 years, co-chaired the Tampa Junior League’s environmental committee that started the first city-wide recycling program; convinced the City of Tampa to add tertiary sewage treatments to clean up Tampa Bay and worked with Tampa Electric Company to protect Coachroach Bay. After the BP oil spill, Vevie and her sister Charlotte traveled the Gulf Coast and created a show ‘Prayers for the Gulf’ as the featured artists of the Telluride Film Festival.

Since the loss of her son, Lawrence Hundley Dimmitt IV, to suicide in 2017, she has focused on her own art as therapy. Vevie generously donated art and resources to mental health organizations to assist with the destigmatization of suicide and depression.

Icons: Windows to Heaven
An Artist Statement by Vevie Dimmitt

Icons are hallowed Byzantine art that made its way to Russia following its conversion to Orthodox Christianity in AD 988. Icons are considered to be the written gospel. The Russian word pisat means both to write and to paint. At that time, icons were literal windows to heaven for a population that could neither read nor write.

We lost our son, Lawrence Hundley Dimmitt IV, three years ago. In my grief and anguish, I started writing and painting a series that I am entitled I WISH I HAD TOLD YOU, I AM TELLING YOU NOW. I begin writing, painting, and layering my grief: my sorrow, pain, guilt and anger, as well as my love, admiration, and sweet remembrances.

The love and support of family and friends and my gratitude sustained me as I poured out my wails and whispers and cried into the canvases. Gradually, the works took the forms of icons or windows and became my personal “windows to heaven.”

In addition to these works, the exhibition also features landscapes because, for me, nature also provides views of heaven. I believe we are all connected to everything, and that God is in all of us and everything, animate and inanimate. Heaven surrounds us. An ordinary scene of a fence post with a Meadow Lark is a view of heaven. The natural world, which we often take for granted and even abuse, is our own heaven on earth and it is fast disappearing. I treasure each glimpse and each moment in nature’s magnificence.

Bok Tower Gardens has been one of my favorite idyllic respites since childhood. Thank you for letting me share this with you.