When Ryan Friese relocated his Waterfront Gallery from Tarpon Springs to Dunedin late last year, he did so in hopes of playing an integral part in the thriving downtown art scene.
Soon afterward, Ryan’s father, renowned painter Daniel Friese, was commissioned to do a portrait of the Chamber of Commerce building, and the Frieses began to feel like they had found the perfect home.
On the heels of that work, the pair introduces a more ambitious project: a coffee table photo book depicting iconic portraits of Dunedin put together with the help of business owners, the chamber and local officials.
“(The book) is an amazing example of total unity between artist and community,” Daniel Friese admits.
On Thursday evening, Friese and his father host a preorder party at the gallery, with complimentary drinks, door prizes and giveaways from many of the businesses that participated in the making of the book.
Hard copies of the book, titled "Dunedin," won't be in stock for a few weeks, but patrons may purchase individual prints of the images in the book on Thursday.
The elder Friese had previously used photography as a way to prepare for his paintings, but had never thought about embracing it as an art form until he did the Chamber portrait.
He found that many business owners also expressed interest in having their establishments memorialized.
"You could see that people liked what he was doing and wanted to be a part of it," Chamber president Lynn Wargo said.
“It was an inspiration from the town. I had my own ideas of what the pictures should be, but I haven’t lived here very long, so I really didn’t know," Daniel Friese said. "They (the business owners) told me 75 to 80 percent of what to put in it.”
Eight months later, their dream has become a reality. In fact, other area chambers have already approached Friese about doing books centered on their towns.
“Neighboring chambers, like Clearwater and Safety Harbor, have asked us to do one for them,” Ryan says. “But the others would be more commercial books, not a labor of love, since we are not as connected to those communities.”
The Friese family believes the experience of compiling this book has helped them connect with their new hometown.
“It’s been a great experience, learning about the town I live in and being able to share it with all the businesses in it,” Daniel Friese said.
Want to go?
- What/Where: Waterfront Gallery Book Preorder Party, 715 Broadway
- When: Thursday, June 21, 6 to 8 p.m.
- Details: Patrons will be able to pre-order Daniel Friese's Dunedin photo book and purchase prints. Complimentary cocktails will be served, and there will also be door prizes and giveaways.
- Contact: Ryan Friese, 727-935-4846