The Arts on Main Street are Just Fine
Sarasota is the Gulf Coast hub for the arts, and not just performing arts. The city is rife with festivals of all genres. Missed one? Just wait a week, although it might not feature the type of art you are looking for. This weekend, however, Sarasota hosted its fifth annual Winter Fine Arts Festival. I intended to observe and blog; I came home with wall sculpture.
This festival ranks up there with the best, “one of the most powerful and successful art festivals in Florida and one of the nations’s top-ranked art events.” Free to the public, it offers a cornucopia of materials and designs from artists both locally and nationally recognized. Stretching along Main Street, the event drew hundreds of visitors.
My favorite work was by an artist from Charlevoix, Michigan. Bursting with color, his hand-sculpted, towering water fountains caught the eye of most passers-by. With a price at $3,000, I had to pass, although one would have been a show-stopper in my back yard.
I did buy a small piece from Florida sculptor Su Griggs Allen. Her work is charmingly playful. By juxtaposing ceramic heads against interesting objects (like birds or boats) she creates figurative work which can stand or hang. One of her women with skinny legs came home with me.
In addition to sculpture, the show had painting, jewelry, glass, fiber, wood-working, photography, and more. A booth entitled Mystery Stone was another stand-out. The work combines carved stone inset with other pieces of sculpture, some figurative; others abstract. The artist’s husband told us, “You can’t sell art. [Patrons] need to feel it.” Yes indeed.
I also lingered at a booth called Rockn’ One Knives. Here the woodcarver had crafted kitchen knives meant to be both utilitarian and aesthetic. The photograph here shows a set of steak knives made of Australian burl wood, guaranteed to ramp up any kitchen.
My friends and I topped off the day with a light lunch at an eatery called Lila where we sipped a glass of wine and admired our purchases. Just another day in paradise.
The Sarasota Spectator