Pine Island Art Show held at North Fort Myers Rec Center
By CHUCK BALLARO
When the Pine Island Art Show & Sale lost its traditional host site due to construction, the North Fort Myers Recreation Center was more than happy to fill the gap.
This past weekend, some of the finest painters in the area brought their best creations for the 48th annual show and, judging by the crowd of people in the gymnasium, it was as if the show had never moved.
Hundreds came on Saturday to buy paintings of all kinds — oils, acrylics, watercolors, multi-media and more.
Vicky Werner, president of the Pine Island Art Association, which puts on the show annually, said this is the first time the show has been off the island.
“They are redoing a pier on Matlacha Park and they said we would no longer have parking facilities,” Werner said. “Things have gone very well. We have gotten very good reviews from shoppers. The lighting is excellent, the whole venue is just excellent.”
Werner said she came from Bokeelia — about a 40-minute drive to the rec center and perhaps 90 minutes to get home. But the ability to set out more paintings and more demonstrations made the decision to come worth it, even if the rec center did not have the island flavor.
Lyn Wightman was one of the artists who contributed to the show. She also provided the art for the official poster, inspired by the first bridge visitors see as they come to into Matlacha and view the “Island Time” sign.
“It’s pretty iconic and everyone loves that. We get so many people who come in on bikes from Cape Coral. That was the idea for the poster,” Wightman said.
Artists were allowed a maximum of six paintings at a time in the show, but as soon as one sold, they could bring in another to replace it.
There were also painting demonstrations. Patrick Dwyer, one of the teachers with the PIAA was working on an acrylic, which is a water-based paint that tends to dry very quickly.
“I used to paint with oils. But they were too chemically intrusive (take forever to dry) and went exclusively with acrylics,” Dwyer said. “Art is good for the brain.”
The artwork was also judged by members, with the best receiving ribbons. All the blue-ribbon winners were placed on a separate table, with a special ribbon for Best in Show.
Jan Werdin won the award with her mixed-media creation.”
“I stand back and see what it needs and I paint some more and I like to scribble on it and add layers,” Werdin said. “When it’s almost finished, I like to put something on it that people recognize and identify with.”
The Pine Island Art Association has more than 250 members, with some who come from Cape Coral and Burnt Store Marina.