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Monday, March 29, 2010

Other People's Work, Our Pleasure

It was beautiful weather for Saturday’s art fair in Tarpon Springs. You know it’s Tarpon Springs, by the way, when there are sponges on display on your way into the art fair. “At last, Florida weather!” everyone was fervently exclaiming.

The park along the “bayou,” is more manicured than the conceptual bayou I picture in my mind but quite lovely and the perfect venue for the occasion. An art fair in a swamp would be inconvenient, to say the least, and here we had warm sunshine, we had sparkling water, along with the restful shade of many old trees. It may well have been the most pleasant art fair I have ever attended, outstanding on all counts—organization (including maps), park setting, quality of work displayed, food vendors, etc. There were even volunteer booth-sitters so that artists could break away when necessary.

David enjoyed talking to other artists, two or three painters and one photographer in particular, and we found several favorite booths in the show, almost always agreeing with one another’s choices. Tampa artist Bruce Ferguson’s mangrove paintings; paintings of Florida and northern scenes, both rural and urban, by Edgar Reims of Maine; photographs from the Himalayas by Marius Moore—these were some we lingered over and praised. There was jewelry, glass collage, pottery, ceramic tile and metal sculpture, with art for every sensibility from the whimsical to the sublime. The marketing efforts of various artists, I couldn’t help noticing, ranged from relentless, nonstop self-promotion to napping behind the scenes. Such a varied, colorful and fascinating scene!

There were also food booths and live music.

“What do squirrels make of art fairs?” That was one of David’s questions. Probably, I thought, they’re most interested in food opportunities outside their normal daily experience. “Heaven has come to us!” I could imagine the squirrels chattering to each other, passing the word from tree to tree. Food was not my #1 concern, but it interested me, too. What do you think I chose for lunch? What would you have chosen?

Back to the art. I awarded my personal, private “Best in Show” award, decided only in the last half-hour before we began the long trek back to our car, to wood turner John Mascoll. If I were a woman of means, I would be bringing one of his pieces back to Michigan with me. Their simple, spiritual elegance took my breath away.


Anonymous said...

It looks like a wonderful day. I'd like to know more about those sponges, yes I would. And I long for gyros. Will you have a difficult time re-entering your northern life?

P. J. Grath said...

Gerry, take a look at these--
Re-entry? In January it's hard for me to leave Michigan. In April, it's hard to leave Florida. And when we're on the road, I always want to stay on the road forever. In short, I usually like being where I am, so I'm sure we will be as happy to see the North again as we were last year.

Dawn said...

Looks like a wonderful day of art! And food. Have a safe journey north.