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Springfest brings timely boost for local artists

HOLMES BEACH — The popular Springfest Fine Arts Festival on Anna Maria Island will be held Saturday and Sunday, helping local artists get through the economic slump.

Springfest — along with the companion art festival, Winterfest — is a major fundraiser for the Anna Maria Island Art League.

“Our mission is to support artists and provide art for the community,” said Joyce Karp, director of the art league, “This is an opportunity to celebrate and enjoy art and provide a venue for artists.”

Having festival venues close to home has been beneficial to several of the local artists.

“I used to travel much farther to do festivals,” said Holmes Beach batik artist Robin Zimmerman, “but I’m finding more local shows to do.”

Zimmerman said the festivals have to be within driving distance so she can return home at night and pack a lunch, cutting down on the extra expense of hotels and restaurants.

“My big motto is keep it small, keep it all,” said the artist who has been in the business for 30 years.

For Holmes Beach painter Robert Johnson it is a matter of keeping the price of his artwork reasonable to make it during this economy.

“This is not the time to be selling big-ticket items,” said Johnson. “People want value, bigger and cheaper.”

He said he has lowered his prices to entice more buyers.

But Zimmerman and Johnson, both full-time artists, said the steady number of northern visitors to the island and the several art festivals held on the island during the season have helped.

“There’s enough tourists,” said Zimmerman. “I’m seeing different people at the shows.”

Johnson said the popularity of Anna Maria Island for out-of-town visitors also has helped him get through the tough times.

“Luckily Anna Maria Island is still drawing a good crowd,” he said. “All are really good at supporting the local artists.”

Lillian Delgado is hoping the economy turns around so she can be a full-time artist.

“It’s my passion,” said Delgado, who works full time as an accountant and travels to shows on her days off.

The painter of tropical and floral plants said the local festivals help keep her costs down.

She also said her artwork helps her attitude during the economic slowdown.

“Because I work as an accountant, I see how people are struggling every day,” Delgado said. “This is my escape from what’s happening.”

Zimmerman said her artwork also lifts the spirit of the people who buy it.

“They’re on vacation and enjoying the sunshine,” Zimmerman said, “and want to take back a souvenir because of the good time they had.”

Along with the 100 or so artists, the juried fine arts festival will have food vendors, music and the Young at Art children’s art exhibit.

Student artwork from elementary, middle and high schools throughout the county will be judged in several categories for best of show and two honorable mentions.

“This is an opportunity for children countywide to have their work displayed for the community,” Karp said.

The festival will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the field behind Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive.