Fine Arts Festival Brings Color to Gulfport

From left, Harold and Beverly Maurer of Tampa, browse the works and visit with glass blowing artist Owen Pach of St. Petersburg. It was the first time the Maurers attended the event but they are fans of Pach’s as they own a couple of his larger pieces that they bought in Tampa. “We follow glass and crafts,” said Beverly. Pach’s works have “unusual shapes and wonderful colors,” said Harold. “That’s what we look at. It’s an expression of a lot of warmth,” he said.

Hundreds of people enjoyed the 3rd-annual juried Gulfport Fine Arts Festival held on Saturday and Sunday, February 17 and 18 at the city’s Veteran’s Park.

Over two dozen artists displayed their work ranging from blown glass and photography to oil and pastel paintings, jewelry, ceramics and mixed media.

“I am a glass blower of 32 years and was one of the originals in Gulfport,” said Owen Pach, now of St. Petersburg. “Right now, I’m working with the people of the Imagine Museum designing and building their hot shop.”

About 20 volunteers working with event sponsor Suzanne King of SIK promotions of Gulfport helped to run the information booth, greet visitors and relieve artists when they needed a break, said Sue Harle of Gulfport, one of the booth sitters. Local restaurants also made food deliveries for lunch, she said.

Event newcomer and veteran photographer Eagle Finegan was set up in a display tent near Boca Ciega Bay.

One of her show images depicted an unusual looking bird that an expert identified as a Louisiana Great Blue Heron.

“It’s one of those birds that bird people argue whether it’s extinct or not,” said Finegan. “And, there it is. I took that photo in 2007 in Waveland, Mississippi.”

Finegan has a story for every image and a name for many of the birds she has photographed. The wild bird on her business card is no exception.

“It is a semi-pet of mine and I call him Crowbar,” she said. “He comes to my yard every breeding season and hangs out. So, this is why I had to name my business Nevermore Studios,” inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe poem “The Raven.”

John Young of Long Island, New York with some of his unique sea creatures made from pressed plywood. “I love coming down here to Gulfport. The people are great,” said Young why he chose to put his art in the show. Photo by Fred Langford.

From left, Eagle Finegan, a veteran photographer from Gulfport, holds a Polaroid 150 bellows film camera while Barry and Karen Fry of St. Petersburg join her in her event booth. “I collect old film cameras because they’re cool,” said Finegan. “They’re a great conversation piece to break the ice” with visitors.




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