Seven years after the first bulldozer of earth was moved to create the community of Lakewood Ranch, pioneering residents were already taking the lead in bringing a bit of culture east of Interstate 75.
The Lakewood Ranch Creative Arts Association’s annual Fall Art Show and Sale, now in its 15th year, is actually older than many of the community’s brick-and-mortar institutions, including Lakewood Ranch Main Street, Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, Town Hall and the State College of Florida campus.
The show, featuring a diverse and talented group of local artists, returns 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday at Town Hall, 8175 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. Admission is free.
Among those taking part is Gail Shavitz, who is believed to be the last founding member still active in the association.
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Shavitz, a former school teacher, was already a prolific artist, working in pottery as well as several styles of painting, when she moved from Baltimore to Lakewood Ranch.
“I moved here without knowing anyone,” she said.
She joined with a group of other like-minded residents to start the Lakewood Ranch Creative Arts Association, a tangible step in making the master-planned neighborhood a real community.
These days her focus is on abstract art, which allows the imagination to run free, and offers a freedom of expression that she compares to the beauty of a musical concert.
“Every time you see a piece of abstract art, you can see something different,” she said. “It requires a lot of thought. Where do you want to take it to become a good painting?”
Barby Comins of Palmer Ranch is a largely self taught painter and jeweler.
She will be displaying her jewelry creations which include necklaces, serving utensils, and Judaica, which include references to her Jewish faith.
Among the Judaica are mezuzah, which contain prayers that are traditionally attached to doorposts in Jewish homes.
“I think it’s a good show. We have some really diverse artists and some nice people,” Comins said of the art show and sale.
Mary Litle, a long-time participant in the show, said artists include everyone from sculptors to water colorists, iron workers, and wood turners.
“We have a more diverse group of artists this year and some new people,” Litle said.
The association will hold a second show and sale March 18.