My New Hometown

Steel Sculptor Pamela Olin Moves to Sarasota

Pamela Olin goes to the dogs—the Southeastern Guide dogs, that is.

By Ilene Denton May 2, 2016

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“I find welding steel sculpture to be very empowering.” 

Image: Chad Spencer

Steel sculptor and Apple “creative” Pamela Olin moved here a year ago from Chicago with her husband, Howard Maybloom, when she got a job transfer to the new Apple store at the Mall at UTC. There, she presents customer training workshops. In her spare time, Olin creates steel sculptures in her garage-turned-welding studio, volunteers at Southeastern Guide Dogs and is starting a company with her husband called Gulf Coast Smoked Fish. “I don’t sleep a lot,” she says. “But you know when it’s stuff that you love, you make the time for it.” 


“I show in galleries in the Chicago area, and do a lot of corporate and health care work throughout the country. Disney commissioned me to do two wall pieces for the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando. One is based on The Lion King and the other is based on The Little Mermaid; they’re hung in the two main elevators in the critical care wing.  Aside from the obvious ‘Oh, my God, Disney noticed me,’ what it does [for families] in that environment means more to me than who commissioned it.”


“Right now my garage/welding studio is doubling as a mosaic studio. I’m working on a Superheroes on Parade guide-dog sculpture that will be displayed on Palm Avenue in downtown Sarasota in October; it’s a fund raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs. I’m covering it in two-inch to half-inch round mirrors, because these dogs truly reflect life. I also volunteer with their graduating class, and I created a team for their April walk-a-thon. There are few things that are as worthwhile.”


“The first time I got to be in front of people here was in March, when my work was exhibited in the Creators and Collectors Tour galleria at Ringling College. I would dearly love to get involved with the college; I know there will be a metal workshop in the new art center they’re building.” 


“I used to teach an introductory course in welding at Harper College in Chicago. They told me I’d have to have at least six people sign up to make this class go. Well, 300 students later, it was clear there was an interest in it.”


“We used to have a restaurant in Chicago, and down here we’re starting a company called Gulf Coast Smoked Fish. We’re making smoked salmon, sable, whitefish—traditional methods with modern flavors, like everything lox. We have people clamoring for samples.”

Editor's note: Scott Joseph Moore at Moore Art Expressions created a mold of the original dog sculpture for Southeastern Guide Dogs' Superheroes on Parade initiative, then cast and delivered more than 50 editions of the sculpture, to be painted by local artists, including Olin, and displayed on Palm Avenue on October 8th and 9th.

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