Preview: Goodland’s 16th Annual Arts Extravaganza

"Sandbar Solutions” by Tara O’Neill

Tara O’Neill, award-winning artist, cultural activist and devout Floridian, is hosting her home-grown 16th Annual Art Extravaganza, from 1-4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28, at Little Bar Restaurant, 205 Harbor Place, Goodland.

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This year O’Neill will be joined by renown guest artist Peter Sottong.

O’Neill will be showcasing her latest oil paintings and fine art reproductions, as well as functional items including embellished canvas totes and noteworthy note cards. She and Sottong both celebrate thinking ‘outside the gallery’ and invite all to enjoy fine art, creative refreshments, and live music in a venue like no other.

"Five Painters and a Potter," by Tara O'Neill.

The Bozicnik family, owners of the famous waterfront restaurant for over 40 years, continue their support of the arts in Goodland by once again opening their historically-rich establishment to showcase the artists’ works. Little Bar Restaurant also has bragging rights to an extensive collection of original paintings by a variety of area artists.

O’Neill is proud of her connection to the Village of Goodland. “My work may be collected globally,” she explains, “but I thrive locally. Goodland, like me, is still recovering from Hurricane Irma, and we’re doing it together, with unfailing encouragement, support, and inspiration. And a wee bit o’ fun.”

For the past six years O’Neill has invited a different guest artist for the event and is delighted that Sottong is able to join her this year.

Tara O’Neill, award-winning artist, community activist, and devout Floridian.

“Peter and his wife Mel are part of the foundation of the art scene in this area. Anyone who has visited the Marco Island Historical Museum knows of Peter’s work with historic reproductions – but there is so much more!”

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For many years Sottong has directed his love of carving toward creating replicas of Calusa artifacts, particularly those unearthed during the 1896 Pepper-Hearst Expedition on Marco Island, including the famous Key Marco Cat. All pieces are hand carved, then cast, then finished individually, making each one unique. His most recent creations are contemporary wood-core sculptures carefully painstakingly coated with layers of ground bronze, silver, pewter, iron, brass, or copper, and finished with individual patinas.

Artist Peter Sottong with one of 14 masks he makes, featured in Collier County marketing efforts. Sottong has created replicas of the Key Marco Cat and a variety of Calusa masks, ahead of the Cat's anticipated return to Marco Island at the end of this year.
Artist Peter Sottong with one of his Key Marco Cat reproductions. Sottong has created replicas of the Key Marco Cat and a variety of Calusa masks, ahead of the Cat's anticipated return to Marco Island at the end of this year.

The Art Extravaganza also serves as an end-of-season celebration; it’s a farewell to seasonal friends, and a chance for the busy year-rounders to slow down and reconnect with each other while enjoying an atmosphere of camaraderie enhanced through art.

A big bonus to lovers of all things Goodland: the weekend coincides with the Florida Songwriters Showcase hosted by Florida fiddler J.Robert Houghtaling at Margood Harbor Park, Pear Tree Street, 6:30-9 p.m., Friday, April 26, (O’Neill joins the show as a “flash-painter” of the musicians onstage.)

Expect, among others, award-winning writer and brilliant performer John R. Butler, and Naples own Marie Nofsinger. It’s shaping up to be a hot time in a cool village.

O’Neill exhibits year-round at Blue Mangrove Gallery in Marco’s Town Center; Marco Island Historical Museum; Marco Island Center for the Arts.

Information: Tara O’Neill, taraogallery.com, 239-642-0528; Little Bar Restaurant, littlebarrestaurant.com, 239-394-5663; Peter Sottong, naplesmetalart.com, 410-980-5073.