By Jesus Calo
It was a sunshiny weekend to take in the beautiful Goodland air and celebrate local art. The Fifth Annual Harbor Arts and Music Festival was sponsored by the Goodland Arts Alliance (GAA) in MarGood Harbor Park, March 11 – 12. The GAA and Collier County Parks and Recreation provided fine arts, crafts show with live music, great food and enough color to paint the town. This event was set to raise funds for the restoration and preservation of a set of historic fishing cottages dating back to the 1920’s located within the boundaries of scenic waterfront.
World-class painters, sculptors, jewelers, photographers and crafters joined this year. The musicians appearing live from the MarGood stage included JRobert Houghtaling, Merrill and Jim Allen, Raiford Starke, Tom Porter, Michael Oakland and Ben Olson. Each day ended with an all-band jamboree. The event also featured an unprecedented raffle package that included a Thunderbird sailing charter, dining certificates at Little Bar Restaurant, Old Marco Lodge, Stan’s Idle Hour and Marker 8.5, and a certificate from Kirk’s Fish Company.
Among artists and creatives alike, Ft. Myers painter Marisa Hatfield displayed her artwork at one of the tents. The day felt optimistic and she made her way over in hopes to commission her art. Every painting had a story related to it, each canvas was unique with expression. “I hope to bring joy through my artwork,” Hatfield said. “There are little rays of sunshine in all my paintings.” The warm colors featured in her artwork made the visit enchanting. This was one of the many artfully inspired tents that were set up all along the lawn.
The purpose of the weekend was to raise funds for the four remaining cottages and one cistern water system on the MarGood Harbor Park property. Through the efforts of a petition filed back in January 2015, the cottages were designated as historic structures. The cottages represented basic accommodations for fisherman and tourism to the area throughout history. Currently, there is no public access to the properties but visitors could view into the homes through the windows and fence line. You can witness the antiquity of Goodland culture when you peek into the shotgun homes.
The restoration plan was submitted to Collier County to fund the project. This decree paved the way to lease the cottages from the county, restore them, and repurpose them for the benefit of the community and visitors alike. The restoration plan was also used for grants to renovate the cottages. Once the necessary funds are acquired, with the help of the local community, the restoration process will soon begin. Volunteer Nancy Olson and longtime Goodland seasonal visitor, Pam DeSmet stated that it’s going to take a lot of elbow grease to get the homes as good as new. Each cottage will be tended to for termites and the architectural structure of the small homes will be checked.
The proceeds from the weekend went toward fulfilling the GAA’s long-range goal to establish a permanent home in the four cottages existing within the MarGood Park boundaries. Goodland Arts Alliance aims to preserve, promote, and advance the cultural presence in the historic fishing village of Goodland through art, history, and education.
For more information about the GAA visit www.goodlandartsalliance.org.