EVERGLADES CITY — The January edition of “Art in the Glades” was held Saturday at McLeod Park. The park is in the heart of Everglades City, and literally surrounded by history. On one side stands City Hall, open to visitors with displays of period memorabilia. Across the street is the Community Church, also a relic, whose chimes still ring the hours.
After the general store, the Museum of the Everglades offers a fascinating glimpse at the past of Collier County in its pioneer days. Across the street, the former bank building is once again open as a bed and breakfast, with the original safe displayed in the lobby.
Opposite City Hall is the Rod & Gun Club along the Barron River, the historic watering hole of Presidents and celebrities, which also functions as a kind of museum, perhaps the best kind – one with a full bar, serving drinks and meals.
In the middle of all this history, one could stroll around, and view or purchase some contemporary art. Saturday was blessed with a Chamber of Commerce day, so unlike last month’s art show, which remained under cover, the artists, craftspeople and vendors spread out their wares in the bright sunshine. There is even a playground to occupy the kids while the parents check out the show.
The light breeze blowing through Peg Black’s windchimes made a merry tinkling. Black is from Wellington, Ohio, and works in glass, assembling colorful mosaics and turning bottles and jars into three-dimensional pieces that are both decorative and functional.
“We started with birdbaths,” she said. “My husband does all the copper,” making stands and frames for her pieces. “We’re trying to find ways to recycle,” putting an eco-friendly twist on her artwork, which is indeed made from items most people would just discard.
Once again, the artwork that had traveled the furthest came from Miguel Cabrera, showing handicrafts from his native Peru. Unlike last month, when he featured hats and other items made from leather, his exhibit was heavy on jewelry, which glittered in the strong light.
Ed Dalzell of Hollywood, Florida displayed his carved creations, from wood including monkey pod, teak, mahogany, and bamboo, as well as clamshells, conch shells, and coconuts. He also had for sale good luck charms made from sheep bones, although apparently it hadn’t worked out too well for the sheep.
Pat Mahlendorf, down from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, had a variety of one of a kind, handmade bags, hats, wine bottle carriers and button bracelets, along with a unique series of clutch purses made from the cups of bras.
“I call them ‘bra bags’ or ‘boobie prizes’ – and be sure to spell it right,” she said.
Author Marya Repko had her books of local lore and history on sale, as well as brass plaques that are being installed on some of the historic homes in town. Parishioners from the Copeland Baptist Church offered homemade baked goods and the world’s most well-cooked hot dogs, with proceeds benefiting the church.
Providing a soundtrack was guitar duo Mitch Mitchell and “Snooker Joe” Stem, who were shaded by their cowboy hats as well as being one of the few stands set up under the roof. They played songs including “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Crabbers,” a nod to the local fishery, and “You’re as Smooth as Tennessee Whisky.”
For a chance to see art without the glitz, the place to be Saturday was Everglades City.