PHOTOS An anniversary of art: Marco Island's Artist Colony celebrates first year at Esplanade

Local artists from three galleries showed their work and interacted with art lovers at the Last Wednesday Art Walk inside the Esplanade.

Residents, tourists and families strolled through the Esplanade’s courtyard last Wednesday night, visiting 10 artists who had their work on display at Portside Studios, Rightside Studios and Waterfront Gallery.

“It’s something different in Marco,” said Betty Newman, an artist at Rightside Studios about the event, “This is really the center of art on the Island and this is a way for people see the art and have an enjoyable evening.”

November’s theme was “Celebration,” which celebrates the event’s one-year anniversary. Because of the theme, artists were inspired to enter colorful, bold celebratory pieces into the people’s choice contest held at each art walk. Gallery-goers received ballots prompting them to vote for their top three favorite pieces.

Newman entered a vibrant painting called, of course, “Celebration.”

“I thought it was fun and full of color,” said Newman who created the artwork a couple of years ago, “It fit right in, so I entered it.”

Interactivity continued at Portside Studios next door. Inez Hudson set up her equipment towards the back of the studio and demonstrated the creation of her oil paintings as attendees stopped to ask questions. Young, aspiring artist Roth Woolley, 8, watched the painting process with his mother, Kristen Woolley.

“I brought my budding artist to see art first hand,” said Kristen Woolley who is visiting the Island with her family from Pennsylvania.

At Waterfront Gallery, Anthony Dallmann-Jones answered questions from attendees about his prized abstract light sculpture, which is made of glass, lit with multi-colored light and mounted on a wood frame. Dallmann-Jones said he was only recently able to display the piece in the gallery.

“It was in a box for a long time,” said Dallmann-Jones, an artist and full-time professor at Marion University. “Then a space became available that would not light up any other artists’ work. That was key.”

Darren Clark, a concrete artist at Rightside Studios, finds the interaction between artist and gallery-goers beneficial for his art.

“The relaxed atmosphere is less intimidating for people, so they can ask questions,” said Clark who creates functional, color accented pieces with concrete, like vases, chess sets and rings.

“Working with concrete, it is especially important for me to explain the process in creating my art and be able to show it.”

As the night went on, a steady stream of attendees trickled into the galleries, taking in the artwork and enjoying refreshments of wine and snacks. The Marco Island Strummers played tunes for participants at each venue.

“I’m impressed by the local artists,” said Fran Madigan, a tourist from Canada while she looked at a wall of paintings, “It’s nice to have a way for people to see what Marco has to offer when it comes to art.”

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