MARCO ISLAND — The art scene on Marco Island got a lot brighter this weekend. Specifically, the headquarters building of the Marco Island Center for the Arts received a makeover Saturday, with volunteers applying a splashy multi-colored paint job on the formerly white building.
Over two dozen volunteers came out to lend their support, their brushes and rollers, transforming the plain vanilla gallery on Winterberry Drive to a tutti frutti palette of colors reminiscent of Italian ceramics.
“Don’t stand still for more than a minute,” warned organizer Dave Rice, in front of the building in the midst of a bustling crew. “You’ll get painted.”
Much of the edging and taping had been accomplished on Friday, giving the crew on Saturday a running start, he said. Art Center executive director Lynn Holley reserved the most challenging spot, painting around the Art League sign on the front of the building, for herself, working with a diminutive artist’s brush up on a stepladder.
A wide range of skill levels and athletic agility was represented among the volunteers. Artist Carolyn Burger, very accustomed to holding a paintbrush in her hand, worked on the detail around the building’s front door. Her latest painting, she said, could be titled “The Grand Entry.”
Like Rainbow Brite’s Color Kids, the volunteers were divided up into crews by the paint color they were applying. Cheryl Coffin, in a red hat, painted periwinkle blue on the walls, along with Joan Gerberding. Russ Simmons was everywhere, working with the crew applying what organizers were calling “terra cotta,” but he said was really burnt orange, in honor of his alma mater, the University of Texas. His significant other, artist Betty Newman, could not be there to lend a brush, said Simmons, as she had to mind the store over at her new gallery at the Esplanade.
Marco Island Center for the Arts president Rosemay Wicker attended the event in a wheelchair, after an accident that left her with a broken toe. Although she could not physically paint, she lent moral support, and set a high standard for elegance, creating an island of black and white amid the sea of color.
As the painters painted and Saturday’s event gives everyone who participated the right to say that their painting is displayed at the Marco Island Center for the Arts a crew trimmed back the oak trees between the building and the street, which will make the new color scheme even more visible. Not everyone was thrilled.
“I can’t tell you how upset I am to see that tree coming down,” Holley announced to all within earshot. The row of gumbo limbo trees, however, was spared. Rice noted that the trees provided shade for much of the paint crew, and there was plenty of foliage remaining after the pruning was done.
The paint, 60 to 70 gallons in all, was provided at very favorable rates “less than half price” by Florida Paint Centers on Bald Eagle Drive. They also, through their suppliers, worked with the Art Center to provide computerized illustrations of what the various color possibilities would look like, allowing the group to have an advance look at the end result. Publix provided refreshments for the workers.
The workers, though, were asked to chip in $25 for paint, as well as supplying their own tools. Those who also found an additional victim make that “volunteer” qualified as Pied Pipers, which was the official name for Saturday’s event, the Pied Piper Painting Project. Working this way, the entire makeover is being accomplished without cost to the Art Center.