By Natalie Strom
Artwork abounds at the Marco Island Farmers Market. Every Wednesday, from 7:30 AM until 2:00 PM, a mix of Florida’s finest artists set up booths amidst florists, food vendors, and vegetable stands at Veterans Park. A part of the cultural hub of Marco’s community, the Marco Island Center for the Arts sets up shop, showcasing multiple artists and mediums. The non-profit entity focuses on collaboration and education of the arts in all forms.
Over 40 years ago, the Art League was formed on Marco Island. It found a home at 1010 Winterberry Drive and expanded over time to include world class galleries, a beautiful gift shop and classrooms. The Art League – now the Marco Island Center for the Arts – is home to the Renaissance Academy, the Friends of the Bach Ensemble, the Marco Writers, The Fine Arts Film Festival in partnership with the Historical Society, and the Clay Guild.
Member-artists of the Clay Guild man the stand at the Farmers Market. “We have various arts and crafts to show, but you often see a lot of pottery because the Clay Guild does coordinates our booth,” explains Hannah Ineson, a painter and ceramics artist with the Center. “The booth, itself is to benefit the Center for the Arts and to publicize our events, classes and workshops.”
And there are plenty to choose from. The Center for the Arts holds classes on just about anything; pottery, digital photography, drawing, acrylic painting, oil painting, pastels, watercolor, basket weaving, knitting, stone sculpture and paper cutting. Mini workshops are offered on jewelry making, painted silk scarves and Chinese brush painting, just to name a few.
Those who are members of the Center for the Arts receive special pricing on classes and workshops. Members also hear exclusively of upcoming artist meet and greets, gallery openings and other special events.
“Our big event coming up is the Black and White Gala,” adds Ineson. On January 25, the Marco Island Center for the Arts will host its annual formal fundraising event at the Marco Island Hilton.
The night features art, an auction, dinner and entertainment. Tickets are $125 per person and can be purchased by calling the Center at 239/394-4221.
And now, back to the Farmers Market stand.
“I started doing pottery here on the island ten years ago,” states Alecia Woodrick, member-artist of the Center. Karin Villaroman and Patty Patrick also display their pottery at the stand. All create some, if not all of their art, through the Clay Guild at the Center.
Hannah Ineson is also a ceramics artist, but her medium of choice to exhibit at the booth is her watercolor paintings of Maine and Marco Island landscapes.
Judy Wittwer is also an artist of many mediums. Her current focus is with shell art, embellishing frames, clocks and mirrors. She also hand paints stone crab claws to look like colorful parrots.
Across from the Center for the Arts booth is Sandy Moore Howe, a ceramics artist and member of the Clay Guild and Center. Sandy teaches for the Center along with Annabelle Johnson who also maintains her own booth at the Farmers Market.
Week to week, the artists selling their work may change at the Center for the Arts booth, but the craftsmanship is always quality. To learn more about the Marco Island Center for the Arts, it classes, workshops and membership, visit www.marcoislandart.org.