This year, Tara O’Neill teamed up with Jim Freeman for her “13th Annual End O’Season Art Extravaganza” on April 16-17. Tara’s paintings and Jim’s photographs were displayed and offered for sale in the Little Bar’s Papa Ray Room. The Little Bar has hosted the event for all 13 years. Tara did this event solo for 11 years, but for the last two years has featured a guest artist. Celeste Navara, photographer, and Judy Wittwer, shell artist, appeared previously.
“The reception was a great success,” Tara said, “Maybe the best ever.” As Tara and Jim talked with guests and sold their artwork, George Vellis, Tara’s super supportive husband, cranked out mimosasfor the thirsty crowd – perhaps to loosen them up a bit? The biggest crowds came earlier in the day and were obviously enthralled by what they saw. It didn’t hurt that Merrill Allen was projecting his beautiful baritone voice from the next room.
O’Neill works out of her home studio gallery on Marco Island and is represented by Blue Mangrove Gallery in Marco’s Town Center. She spends a lot of time in Goodland and is the president of the Goodland Arts Alliance. Many of her paintings are Goodland scenes, now and then. Tara says she gets her inspiration from the “mystery and history” of Goodland. Her artwork can be found inprivate collections throughout the U.S. and Europe (and on the Goodland Water Tank as you drive into Goodland). Her work has won numerous awards.
Jim Freeman also works out of his residence (as Jim Freeman Fine Art Photography) and lives in Goodland. He has been a commercial and fine art photographer for 25 years. His obsession is exploring and photographing the 10,000 Islands near and inside the Everglades. “The open skies and panoramic views of the Islands remind me of the deserts and mountains of the Southwest (where he once lived),” Jim says. Jim’s work hangs in in airports, corporate offices, and the homes of private collectors. It has also appeared in regional and national publications.