We welcome artists from our congregation and the community to exhibit their work. The community is welcome to view these works of art during display dates. Some art pieces are for sale. Contact AJ Wolff to display your work.   To see multiple pictures in slide show, click on picture.


Many artists and performers have been sharing their work via social media which has been a wonderful stress releaser in these times of shelter in place. Manatee Art Center right near MUUF just reopened. It is a pleasant open space with two galleries, is never crowded but mask wearing is required. AJ Wolff is in the current exhibit showing two of my mosaics. There are many thoughtful and amazing works showcased. It’s a great little outing. Hours are 9-5 Monday through Saturday.


Feb 15 to March 15.   “Ways of Being.” Paintings by MUUF member Peg Green. Peg says about these works: “I try to present not the individual’s Identikit features, but something of their inner nature, how they Stand and Live and Be. Every Being has a story, maybe a thousand stories, telling who they are and how they are connected to their world. When you view these portraits, I invite you to look and listen for their stories.” See more at peacepeg.com



Mary Ellen Slenker is an American painter currently living in Bradenton, Florida.  A New England native, her paintings excel in the use of color and her distinctive personal style emanates joy as she expresses her vibrant spirit on the canvas. 

As a child she displayed an innate gift at an early age and refined that talent with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.  Her love of children and art culminated in a 35 year career  an art teacher in Connecticut.   Since retirement Mary Ellen Slenker has spent countless hours exploring and deepening her talents and now enjoys creating complex art using watercolor, oil, pastels, pencil and charcoal. 

A lifelong animal rights activist, and pet-mom to animals too numerous to list, Mary Ellen Slenker has captured the heart and soul of many well-loved animals in the greater Tampa Bay area.  Portraits, landscapes and nature scenes are all brought to life with a keen eye for color, light and composition.  Mary Ellen’s philosophy is simple: “Be passionate.  Paint what you love, and love what you paint”. 

As the President of the Lakewood  Art League, and an active resident of the Lakewood Ranch community, Mary Ellen Slenker has donated many hours of her time and talent to charity as well as numerous commissioned paintings to silent auctions to raise money for good causes.  She has served as a Compliance Officer for the West Coast Florida Watercolor Society. Her artwork has been shown at exhibits in Connecticut and Florida. She is an active resident of the Lakewood Ranch community.

Mary Ellen Slenker has donated many hours of her time and talent to charity as well as numerous commissioned paintings to silent auctions to raise money for good causes.  She has served as a Compliance Officer for the West Coast Florida Watercolor Society. Her artwork has been shown at exhibits in Connecticut and Florida.

 A collection of her talent may be viewed at www.maryellensartwork.com/  email: meslenker72@gmail.com


AUGUST and SEPTEMBER 2019  John Kokajko’s photographs show the symmetry and patterns evidenced in nature all around us, such as in the unfolding leaves and petals in plants. John shows us nature’s harmonies and the structures that are the result of natural selection. His photographs illustrate interesting borders between science, math, art, and evoke a philosophical awareness that nature is amazingly complex and beautiful at the same time. He shows us that the smallest parts of nature are integral parts of the whole, that these botanical structures are evidence that on this planet everything is connected. (From Curator Matthew Woodside’s statement for South Florida Museum’s display of John’s award winning photographs in 2012)

About John Kokajko:  Born and raised in suburban New Jersey John has also lived in Berkeley, CA and the backwoods of Maine. He presently lives in Bradenton, Florida. Photography has been part of John’s life from grade school in the early 60’s.  Ansel Adams and Edward Weston were major influences.


 June and July.  Elayn Leopold, artist of the month, was born in Harrisburg, PA and attended art college in Philadelphia. She is displaying paintings depicting fruit, flowers, and faces. The portraits come from a series of 100 titled “One People.” Works are framed and done in pastel, oil, and acrylic. This is a repeat showing since a display of Elayn’s art work was here about 10 years ago.

Elayn Leopold’s most famous work is a project called “Urban Dwellers,” which includes 100 oil portraits of the homeless persons at Our Daily Bread where she volunteers to serve meals to the struggling citizens of Manatee County. Elayn got permission from each person to take their photograph, and then painted their picture.

“One of the things that I thought this project could serve is for others to see the variety of people who are experiencing difficulty, that they look like real people – grandmothers or grandfathers or daughters instead of someone standing on the curb.”

Titles of Works in MUUF Exhibit:
1. Southerner 16×20
2. Urban Cowboy 16×20
3. Rock Star 16×20
4. Not Guilty 16×20
5. Jazzed 16×20
6. On the Road 16×20
7. Yellow/Orange Bromeliad 26×31
8. Adams County Apples 17×31
9. Christmas Still Life 24×24
10. Tropical Leaves 21×25

For May, AJ Wolff’s “Song Bird Meditation Series” were featured in the sanctuary. The paintings came as a form of daily meditation. One painting each morning, painting a song bird that she saw while out walking in early spring. This focus on detail painting, helped to inspire other artwork AJ was doing, as well as being a delightful way to start her day.

The “flocking together” series at the members opening Art Reception at Manatee Art Center in Bradenton was where AJ received a second-place award for her mosaic “Gone Fishing.” She was so delighted to have Rev. Fred and MUUF members there to share in her celebrity moment.

March-April 2019  Chris MacCormack.    Batik Scarves

February 2019   Cheryl Van Cleaf. Digital Photography

Richard Oxley   December 2018 -January 2019

Richard was instructor at Ringling School of Art and Design from 1957-1965. He had close ties with Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship as well as UU Church of Sarasota. During the 80’s he spoke here on Sunday once a month as he shared his view that “truth is beauty and beauty is truth,” that life is a dance, and that love is all that really matters—all playfully woven together with an appreciation of the cosmos and all that happens in it expressed in poetic, simply stated philosophy.

click here for more

Richard invited our members and others to an open house at his home/studio and the variety of his artistic expression became evident to all who attended. From painting, collage, and sculpture with motifs of horses, birds, fish, suns, and moons the constant theme was joy.

In the early years at MUUF the Women’s Alliance played a key role in the functioning of MUUF and it was this group that made a gift of the celebration mural to the Fellowship by purchasing it from Dick Oxley. Carol Bartz and Bernita Franzel are privileged to have his art in their homes.
Some of Dick’s paintings were cutouts of painted heavy paper done in pastel colors—rather like Eric Carle’s work, but totally different. At one time MUUF displayed a sunset picture of sailboats and people reflected in water and also a piece showing a horse. I was lucky enough to purchase one of his works entitled “Hatchery” from a member who was downsizing and offered it in our auction. Dick moved with the times and explored digital art using the computer before many of us even knew how to turn a computer on and he marveled at break dancer’s ability to express themselves through movement of their bodies. A postage stamp commemorates his art. His paintings hang in embassies around the world.
He was a very personable man who connected with all he spoke with. Tall, wearing a white suit, he spoke slowly and drew you into his world. Just before he passed away in June 2002 at the age of 87 he requested that a memorial service be held at UU Church of Sarasota during which he intended to be present, but at the last minute was unable to come. Rev. Don Beaudreault led the service as those present shared memories and stories that Dick could listen to at home. We closed the service with “We Laugh, We Cry” and “Let It Be a Dance,” the perfect songs for him, a life well lived.


November Art Show “Images of Wonder” Photography Display

 This exhibit is all photography. “Images of Wonder” photographers are Rev. Fred L Hammond, Cheryl Van Cleaf and AJ Wolff, MFA. “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”- Dorothea Lange “A photograph shouldn’t be just a picture, it should be a philosophy.” – Amit Kalantri In this digital age of connection, smart phones have made it easy to snap a picture and share it. Most of the time we share pictures of each other and social gatherings. If we really look around and find the moment of inspiration in nature and then with luck capture it to share, is a real gift.  It is that fleeting moment of total wonder. This is what the photographer tries to capture. For the viewer it can be a relief to slow down and appreciate the beauty that makes us contemplate life. This becomes a moment of sharing what we see that inspires us. A photograph can take our breath away, can tell a story or inspire us.

2018 September Art Show

Five MUUF members:  Peg Green, Bernita Franzel, Chris MacCormack, Cheryl Van Cleaf, AJ Wolff.


Artistic members of MUUF presented a display in December


Artistic members of MUUF presented a display in the Spring



Tim Parker

The art on the walls during December 2016,  was by Tim Parker from Naples. Viewers could purchase his work. Talk to Chris MacCormack, 941-727-5183 to purchase one or check out his website..

ART 2D ,2076 J and C Blvd, Naples, FL 34109   http://www.art2D.com


2016  Al Levie

The art on display year round at MUUF includes a painting by the late Al Levie, an active member at OCCUPY and various MUUF activities. The Estate of Al Levie donated the work to MUUF. Other art work in the MUUF permanent collection will be included on this site at a later date.

2015 and earlier

Marilyn Barry Codd Graciela Giles Peg Green | Ava Hils | Grace Hirsh |Chris MacCormack | Herbie Rose Al Usack

Marilyn Barry Codd

Marilyn Barry Codd majored in Art at Hunter College in New York. After Marilyn was an employee as a Graphic Designer by the IRS in Missouri, she became Art Director for Allstate in Illinois. Later Marilyn took up stained glass crafting and painting. Her favorites were the many lighthouses of the Great Lakes in watercolor. Expanding her art life were the be-jeweled, sparkling, sculptured heads and torsos – her alter egos, which she called: the “Glamazons.”  Marilyn designed and made our first Manatee UU Banner. Marilyn died in 2016 with a memorial service at our Fellowship.

Graciela Giles

Music and art have always formed a creative duet in the life of Graciela Giles.Her award winning paintings have been selected for numerous exhibits and are in private collections world wide. She teaches watercolor workshops at her studio in Village of the Arts, Ringling School of Art, Art Center Manatee and Continuing Education. The Rose/Giles Studio is at 923 13th Street West, Bradenton, FL.  941-746-4469.

Peg Green


The MUUF Art Gallery currently features  the exciting  paintings and fabric artwork of Peg Green. Peg has lived in Sarasota for one year. She grew up in Cleveland, OH and studied at the University of Chicago earning a PhD in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Peg lived in Colorado Springs for 15 years where she was a founding member of the Casa Verde Co- housing Community and the High Plains UU Church. She spent two years living in Outer Mongolia as a Peace Corps Volunteer where she established the first Mongolian-American Friendship and Learning Center.  After caring for her sister for several years in Washington DC, Peg moved to Sarasota to be near her daughter’s family.


Peg Green is a lifelong artist who loves bright colors and bold designs. Best known for her Fabric Art, her unique style is a creative interweaving of spiritual and sensual qualities. She uses nature and personal experience as primary sources of inspiration and also draws on archetypes and symbols from myths and cultures across the world, as well as feminist and shamanic sources.

Her work is strongly influenced by her recent three years study of Intuitive Painting, following the teachings of Michele Cassou, in using a deep meditative process to access the “primitive, vulnerable, and playful forces of creativity.”

For the past 20 years Peg’s artistic talents have focused on art quilts, and she is an active member of the national Studio of Art Quilt Associates. She invites you to view her artwork at http://peacepeg.tripod.com/.  If you would like to purchase one of the pieces of artwork at MUUF, please call Peg at 703-774-6737 or contact her by email peg7000@gmail.com.

In 2017 Peg had a Fabric display at Sarasota Unitarian Universalist Church from June to September.

Ava Hils

Ava displayed her stained glass artwork in the window at the back of our sanctuary. The light shining through the designs she had created was beautiful. Some designs were especially for UUs.

Ava was born in Regensburg, Germany in 1940. After high school, she married one of her teachers, and so was home-schooled for the next 20 years. She has two daughters and one son. The daughters studied Graphic Design and French. Her son studied Computer Programming. She didn’t study but learned how to handle a difficult husband and raise three children to be good people in life.

She lived in the Bradenton area for 25 years, the first 10 of them on Anna Maria Island with her American husband, where they had a Glass Business. That was the inspiration to learn how to work with Stained Glass. For many years she had a Stained Glass Studio in her house in Bradenton, where she used art work to support Rotary, to eradicate Polio once and for all in the whole world and to support a program Feeding Empty Little Tummines (FELT) for feeding homeless students in Manatee County.

Grace Hirsh


A retired RN, Grace always liked to draw, but did not start to paint until she retired in 1992. She studied with several local artists and took classes over the years since retirement.

She worked in oils, but after discovering the joy of watercolors, concentrated her efforts in this medium. She also started doing some work with pastels. Her colorful florals and nature scenes reflect her love of nature. The Anna Maria Art League has displayed her work over the years. When Grace died, MUUF held a memorial service.

Chris MacCormack

Chris300Chris MacCormack has been a member of MUUF since 1997 when she moved to Bradenton from Tampa. In 2003 she began traveling overseas regularly to teach English and also began painting again. She has taken classes at the Village of the Arts and at Manatee Center for ART. She enjoys painting scenes from her own photos of Florida and her travels in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Honduras, Turkey and Thailand.

Chris has a new house with a home studio/classroom for teaching Art and Spanish.

7506 17th Ave. W, Bradenton.

Herbie Rose

Jamaican born, Herbie Rose is a graduate of the Phoenix School of Design and the Pratt Institute. His work is instantly recognizable and hangs in many corporate offices and private collections around the world. He has conducted workshops and produced a program for Channel 21 , METV.  He had a studio in the Village of the Arts until he retired. “When I’m creating I try to tell a story, the season, the weather, putting the viewer in my shoes, surprising the eyes with color. Most of all I want to show the love I am experiencing.”  Herbie Rose died in 2017.

Al Usack

A Word From The Artist

I was born in Chicago in 1930.  Following the loss of their business during the depression, my family moved to a farm in Northern Wisconsin in 1934.  I received a Bachelor’s Degree in science and math education from River Falls State College in Wisconsin in 1952 and after a two year hitch in the Army, I got a Master’s Degree in Geography in 1957 from the University of Wisconsin.  I worked for the U. S Government in Washington D.C. as an economic analyst until my retirement in 1985.

I loved to draw and paint when I was a small child — I still have a report that I did in the 3rd grade that tells the story of Evangeline through words and drawings.  However, once I became a teen, my attentions changed from art to sports and scholarly pursuits.

I took up art again in my mid-thirties when a woman from our UU Church in Fairfax decided to teach a course in acrylic painting (she was a water colorist but wanted to delve into a different media).  My wife Lola and I took this course for several years and we thoroughly enjoyed learning to paint a variety of subjects as well as the company of other would-be UU artists who attended the weekly class.  We had a great time, especially when we drank the leftover wine in the church while painting – sometimes even dipping our brush into the wine instead of water!  Our class also had an art display each year and I sold a number of paintings for a nominal amount.

From that time on, I painted off and on during my leisure time. I took several courses, including one at Prince George’s Community College after I retired and one at the Manatee Art Center after I moved to Florida.  Mostly though, I have just painted on my own.

All of the paintings except the water color with the Mastodon hunters are done in acrylic.  They include several that I did in the original art class – the two primitives, the forest scene and the Brazilian farmer.  They also include two paintings I did while taking the Art Class at Prince George’s College – the painting of our model and a copy of a classical Chinese painting.  With my partner Ed’s encouragement, I have spent more time at the easel in recent years.  Among these paintings are three views around the tower at Emerson Point – the tower itself, a tree in the pathway through the woods, and the shoreline nearby.

There are three paintings of views at our favorite summer hangout – the Deep Creek area of Western Maryland.  These include the old railroad station in Oakland, a view of the Youghiogheny River near the Farmer’s Market there, and Tolliver Falls further up on the Youghiogheny River.  The other paintings are taken from photos that I found in various places that seemed good subjects for the kind of painting I like to do.

This is the first time that I have had a showing that just included my own paintings.  Most of these were hanging on the walls of our home in Palmetto, and now with limited space in future down-sizing, it is with reluctance that I part with them.  I also have many more paintings if anyone is interested in looking them over.

Al died in November 2019.


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