The Marco Island Shell Club is busy preparing for its upcoming Marco Island Shell Show. The 32nd annual event will be held March 8th through the 10th at the United Church of Marco Island. The show, which features awards in both artistic and scientific categories, is also part shell art fair. Not only are shell works juried upon but they are also for sale.
The Marco Island Shell Club originated over 30 years ago by a group of women who wanted to do more with the shells they were collecting along Marco’s beaches. As the years have passed, their membership, talent and contributions to local organizations have grown tremendously. They offer a variety of events and seminars, along with meeting every Tuesday, from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM at the United Church of Marco, where they promptly transform the common room into a shell sanctuary. The club encourages anyone interested to attend their Tuesday event forfree for the first time. Once they fall in love with the craft, “all they need to come with is their glue gun and we provide everything else,” explains Workshop Chairman, Sally Johnson. “This is the best place to get instruction on shell art. With an annual membership of only $20, it’s also a really good deal!”
The club sets up tables that each focus on a different type of shell art. There is a table for beginners to learn proper techniques and as they improve, they move around to other tables. Betty Senn, a “beginner” with the shell club explains some of what the shell club has taught her. “By adding a few shells to the bottom of these floral pieces, I can display them on an angle so they don’t simply lie flat.” Other members focus on picture frames, “critters,” large shell arrangements, and jewelry, to name a few. All shell pieces made, whether jewelry, apparel,floral arrangements, “critters,” picture frames and more, are made for their upcoming annual show. This means that the members of the club don’t always bring their works of art home with them. As items are made, they are priced accordingly and members can then buy their own art. No one seems to mind, however, as all the money goes towards their mission statement of education and scholarship.
“We are all about education,” emphasizes Carolyn Ginther of the Shell Club, “we have managed our money well and were able to give Florida Gulf Coast University $30,000 last year. This endowed scholarship means that every year, in the name of the Marco Island Shell Club, FGCU will be able to give $1,200 toward tuition to either a junior or senior studying marine biology.”
The Shell Club also donates money towards two competitive research grants through FGCU. “The reason it’s competitive is to ensure that it is a very worthy project,” Gintheradds. The two recipients of these scholarships will be giving a presentation to the Shell Club on March 21st.
The group also worked with Tommie Barfield Elementary this past year. “The children are doing a black and white coloring book of shells we had given them to draw. There will be about 500 of them that we will have available at the show,” continues Ginther.
This type of positive, educational outreach would not be possible without the Annual Marco Island Shell Show. It is free to attend, but there is a $2 donation box for those who would like to contribute. It is also free to enter your work. Anyone can compete, whether a member of the Marco Island Shell Club or not. The juried part of the event has two categories: artistic and scientific. There are, of course, guidelines to both. Exhibitors may only have one entry per category, but may enter in up to eight different categories.There are many divisions per category as well as many awards. Exhibitors may receive prizes, ribbons, trophies, plaques and awards.
Applications for entries and more information on guidelines may be found at the Shell Club’s website, www.marcoshell club.com. Entry space is limited so all are encouraged to hand in their applications as soon as possible.
After 32 years of experience, the Marco Island Shell Show has become the type of event that shouldn’t be missed. Experience the beauty and creations made from the natural wonders Mother Nature has provided. Purchase a piece that is pleasing to you and know you have helped the Shell Club in their ongoing pursuit towards education and scholarship opportunities.
The Marco Island Shell Show takes place March 8 – 10, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. It is located at the United Church of Marco at 320 N. Barfield Drive. To learn more about the Marco Island Shell Club and all it has to offer, visit their website at www.marcoshellclub.com