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‘Best year ever’ for Springfest

HOLMES BEACH — Stonecutter Sara Aune and her husband, Marc, own a jewelry-making studio on Pine Island, in the Fort Myers/Cape Coral area. But one of their favorite places away from home is Anna Maria Island.

The couple, whose full-time job is creating art at their Silver Lining Studios and taking it to art shows, say they like the way the Anna Maria Island Art League puts on its two juried shows a year — one in the spring and one in the winter.

The Aunes were two of roughly 90 artists who attended Sunday’s spring show, called Springfest: Festival of Fine Arts & Crafts, held in the park near the Holmes Beach Town Hall.

The two-day event drew an estimated crowd of 15,000 and raised about $20,000 for the Art League, said Joyce Karp, director of the Anna Maria Island Art League. “Each artist submits a set of slides, and it’s pretty fierce competition just to get into this show,” Sara Aune said. “The reason we like coming here is that Joyce Karp does a good job making sure it’s a carefully juried event. The artists must be here with their work and you can’t show anything you didn’t make.”

Officials with the Art League weren’t the only ones pleased Sunday. The artists did very well, too, Aune said.

She and her husband sold 20 pieces of their original jewelry art, in which they cut their own gemstones such as onyx, fine jaspers, lapis and agates, with settings they designed.

“This year was the best ever,” Aune said regarding sales of her pieces.

The down economy seemed to melt into a perfect day with a light breeze, blue skies and temperatures in the low 70s.

“If the economy was bad, we didn’t see it this weekend on Anna Maria,” Aune added.

One of the highlights of the event was the “Young At Art” exhibit of youthful artwork.

Best in show for elementary school went to James Whyte.

The top middle school piece was made by Tyler Veatch.

The award-winning high school creation was made by Taylor Hayes.

The much-anticipated Best in Show for the entire Springfest was a large clay-fired sculpture made by John Cheer of Allentown, Pa.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, Ext. 6686.