A rainy forecast notwithstanding, the second day of the 30th Annual Anna Maria Island Springfest wound up with chamber of commerce weather. Plenty of sunshine for the fine arts and crafts show on Sunday helped draw more than 1,000 people to the two-day event in the park adjacent to Holmes Beach City Hall.
“I thought (Sunday) was phenomenal with the people coming in,” said Christine Galanopoulous, president of the Anna Maria Island Art League that sponsors the event.
Added Laura McGeary, vice president and event coordinator, “We have artists that have been coming here for years, kind of our core people.”
Springfest featured numerous local artists among nearly 50 presenters and included students from area schools displaying their differing mediums. Aside from the juried show, there was ample fare from local food vendors, and educational organizations proved quite informative for those interested enough to stop by their booths. Proceeds benefited the art league’s scholarship program.
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Wayne Harshberger, a sculptor from Indiana, and Luis Martinez, whose fortes are oils and acrylics, each won Awards of Distinction and $250 that accompanies each prize. The top award went to John Cheer, who claimed $450 for Best of Show.
The timing was perfect for Cheer, who is from Pennsylvania and had not been to Springfest in 10 years.
“There’s so many shows in Florida,” said Cheer, who displayed his works in ceramic, glass and porcelain. “This weekend, I just had it open and I was wanting to come back. I always liked this show, because the art league treats artists with respect. (The layout is) spacious and comfortable, and I always sell one or two large very expensive pieces.”
Rounding out the top winners were Awards of Merit recipients Ward Siegler, jeweler; Jay Canterbury, photography; and Robin Zimmerman, fiber paper. Each received $100.
There were plenty of locals at the art show, including Holmes Beach residents Olivia and Sean Langston, who literally walked across the street with their children — Layla, 6, and Kason, 5 — to enjoy the barbecue, corn dogs and homemade lemonade.
More interested in the art, however, was Jon Bonadeo, who resides on the north end of the island with his wife Suze. He makes a purchase, nearly always from a local artist, every time he comes to the show.
“I can’t say we’ve been to every (Springfest), but we’ve been to quite a few,” he said. “I’d say we have maybe a dozen paintings or something; pottery and different things. We try to get something every year to add to the mix. We don’t want to buy something from somebody in Cape Coral. We want to buy something from a local vendor.”
One of those vendors, who was not too far from home, was Dalen Smith, a jeweler from Dunedin.
“I really enjoy this show and the people; and it’s close to home,” she said.
Although their works were not for sale, local students competed for art packages and displayed their entries in a tent.
“The kids have a juried show,” Galanopoulous said. “That’s my favorite part, because they get to have some recognition.”
Organizing the youngster’s show was Lori Heintz, a retired school teacher from Michigan and a four-year member of the art league. She teaches students various mediums, such as watercolor, drawing, mosaics and jewelry.
Heintz, who now lives in Bradenton, relishes watching boys and girls “come in here and know that their piece was picked (for display) by their teachers. What it does is it validates their art and their pride. Somebody recognized me. This now expands their knowledge of the arts and what they want to do. Sometimes you need a pat on the back and this is a large one.”
The top students earning prizes and recognition in various classes were as follows:
High School — first, Sheila Medina, watercolors; second, Bailey Osborn, scratchboard; third, Autumn MacRae, ink.
Middle School — first, Morgan Wilch, mixed medium; second, Eva Speck-Ewer, pastels; third, Jolette Sanchez-Rico, pencil.
Grade School — first, Jordyn Jemisko, mixed medium; second, Aliyana Berrones, mixed medium; third, Natalie Nichols, watercolors.