For Immediate Release

Contact: Jill Miranda Baker
Phone: 305-434-1584


Mariners Hospital Foundation and Gallery at Kona Kai Establishing

Permanent Art Collection in the Upper Keys

Artists Invited to Submit Work


The Florida Keys soon will have a permanent, public collection of locally inspired art, thanks to the generosity of the Leslie E. Tassell Foundation. The philanthropic group donated $60,000 to Mariners Hospital to showcase artwork in the Leslie E. Tassell Medical Arts Building at Mariners Hospital.

"This new Florida Keys Collection at the Tassell Medical Arts Building will highlight the talent and collective vision of the Florida Keys visual arts community," said Mariners Hospital CEO Bob Luse. "We want the collection also to reflect the quality of the Tassell Medical Arts Building."

The Tassell Medical Arts Building, which opened in 2002, was named after the retired businessman-turned-philanthropist, who died at age 96 earlier this year. Tassell lived in Islamorada and Grand Rapids, Mich.

Mariners Hospital chose The Gallery at Kona Kai to select and install the artwork through a request for proposal process. Gallery Director Joe Harris will spearhead the year-long project.

"There are hundreds of artists who have chosen the Florida Keys as their inspiration and subject matter," said Harris. "We will begin with approximately 40 pieces that represent the natural and cultural environment of the Florida Keys."

The idea for the art collection began with Mariners Development Director Holly Padgett and Joyce Wisner, daughter of Leslie Tassell and a director of The Tassell Foundation.

"The Florida Keys Collection will represent the best of the spirit of the Florida Keys through originality, vitality, creativity and artistic excellence," said Wisner.

Artists interested in having their artwork considered for The Florida Keys Collection can write Joe Harris via e-mail at or via postal mail at 97802 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037. The collection will include but is not limited to original oil paintings, lithographs, serigraphs, giclees, high quality prints, sculptures and other media. Send digital images or photographs with a resume and contact information. Visit for more information about the project.