Local artist Dan Bennett doesn’t think of himself as a “cool” guy but considers himself a better man over the years. His work is scattered locally and throughout the country, cherished by all of those who embrace the beauty and uniqueness of his talents. Those who know him admire his dedication and passion for the arts, specifically his talent for restoring historic interior paint schemes, as well as restoration of stained glass.
“My glass skills were self-taught,” Bennett explained, “focusing primarily on design and glass painting. In 1990 I joined Conrod Schmitt Studios.”
With Conrod Schmitt Studios, he said, he traveled with a small elite team of artists and craftsmen who traveled the country working on major restoration projects. Included in these were Sacred Heart Church, University of Notre Dame, and Society Bank of Cleveland, Ohio. Bennett freelanced as an artist and worked on several other historic interiors, including the Woodward Lobby and Armor Room of the Detroit Institute of Art and at the Chicago Art Museum on the restoration of the Ryerson Architectural Library. Other freelance projects of Bennett’s include the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, Stone Manor in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and the Fairlawn Mansion in Superior, Wisconsin.
Bennett has lived in Vero Beach since 2002, and here he has offered his knowledge and skills to different facets of the Vero Beach community. He has two daughters, who he says, “never cease to amaze me, both good and bad.” His current work includes applying a decorative painting scheme to the expansion of the Countryside Citrus Site on Ocean Drive in Vero Beach.
When asked about what he considers to be unique about the community, he states – as many people do – the “small town feeling” and diversity of those who live here. He has a deep passion for the beach, of course, as well as local restaurants. He cherishes being close to home when he isn’t in the community contributing his artistic talent and skills.
“I was involved with the Theatre project, trying to promote the need for restoration,” Bennett explained. “I’ve donated my decorative painting skills to a non-profit organization that deals with alcohol and substance abuse. I also offer a resource of skills including mural painting, glass restoration, statue restoration, and decorative painting to the diverse population of Vero Beach.”
As far as his strongest influences, Bennett has many, all aligned with different aspects of his life. Artistically he is inspired by Joep Nicolas, a famous stained-glass artist, as well as the Impressionists. Spiritually, he is inspired by Emmet Fox, as well as The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and Sam. Morally, Dan says his mother, aunt, and best friend, Jeff, influence him the most. And politically, his biggest influence is Martin Luther King, Jr.
His most distinguished piece of work is the 16′ x 20′ School of Beaux Arts ceiling mural that he did for the Moody Mansion in Galveston, Texas. (Pictured Below)
“As you are, I once was, as I am, you soon will be.” – Mrs. Irene Haertel (better known as Dee Dee, right, illustrated by Dan Bennett, her nephew below)