By M. Peggy Quattro
Wed., July 11, 2022 – The roots of Coconut Grove’s artist community began with the skill, talent, and character of Anthony (Tony) Scornavacca. By the time the well-loved, mustached, eccentric painter passed away in 1986 at age 59, the Grove art district was firmly established and its reputation as a cultural community reached worldwide. Scornavacca’s legacy not only includes hundreds, if not thousands, of art, paintings, and illustrations, he is also one of the originators of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, now readying to celebrate its 50 year anniversary in 2013.
The heartwarming 45-minute film is endorsed by his children – Tony, Jr., Anna, Mia, and Laura – and created by local director/producer J. Brian King. The family was thrilled to welcome the invitation-only audience at the pre-show gathering in the Backlot lounge. Tony’s lifelong friends and fellow painters featured in the documentary were there, as well as lifelong friends of the Scornavacca family and longtime Grove-ites eager to relive the joy of the Grove’s heyday.
Filled with his fabulous artwork and intimate yet humorous stories, Scornavaccais a treasure to watch. A beloved family man, Scornavacca was always working on his art, day and night, yet loved to party with his friends and cook his beloved Italian food.
The New Jersey native spoke Sicilian when he didn’t want anyone to know what he was saying, and he had great disdain for art galleries and their owners. The majority of Scornavacca’s art is currently held in private collections, and within the homes of his children and close friends.
With the joyful sentimental reaction to the documentary’s premiere, plans are underway with the family and producer to present the entertaining and significant film to the public, along with a selected display of Scornavacca’s delightful, diverse art.
Both well worth taking in, both solidify the fact that Tony’s much-loved Coconut Grove is Miami’s original “art district.” Scornavacca, the film, is as important as Scornavaaca, the man, in setting the course for the visualization of tomorrow’s Coconut Grove.