Festival Beth-El Brings Fine Art to Pasadena

Award-winning “Swimmer” by sculptor Kyle Pearce from Tarpon Springs basking in the light rain just before heavy rains and winds hit the area at the the 45th Annual Art Festival Beth-El in South Pasadena. 

For the second year in a row, the weather was cloudy, cool, and rainy, but it didn’t stop art lovers from pouring into the 45th Annual Art Festival Beth-El, which ran from January 27 to 29 at Temple Beth-El in South Pasadena.

According to the event’s Facebook page over 170 national and international artists were on hand to show and discuss their work at the show, which is regarded as one of the best art shows in the Southeast according to the Jewish Press of Pinellas website. In addition, the fine art exhibit featured an outdoor sculpture garden, a boutique gallery, and works by artists from public and private Pinellas County schools. The boutique gallery included 49 artists, with nine from the St Petersburg area.

The art festival raises funds for student scholarships and other educational and outreach programs. Over 200 volunteers worked the event, and over 8,000 were expected to attend. $8,000 in prize money was also awarded. It was endowed by the Sonya and Irwin Miller Art Fund.

Aaron Hequembourg, an artist from Monticello, Georgia, was originally trained in printmaking in Iowa. He uses a unique process, creating a printing plate to engrave paintings into wood panels. He says he uses a lot of wood salvaged from a farm that has been in his wife’s family for years.

“Some materials are almost 200 years old,” said Hequembourg. “The subjects are people that have a relationship with the farm or people in the community.” Hequembourg gives the people he uses in his art 10 percent of the money when he sells a piece.

Aaron Hequembourg, from Monticello, Georgia, with some of his engraved paintings on salvaged wood from the farm of his wife’s family. His primary subjects are people from that community.

This 10-foot-tall metal sculpture by St. Petersburg artist Donald Gialanella welcomed patrons to Festival Beth-El January 27 through 29. Gialanella, who works with a tremor in his hand because of Parkinson’s Disease, was a graphics producer for television and received an Emmy for his work on Monday Night Football in 1990, then left the business to become a full-time artist and sculptor.



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