Looking for Love in Artsy Places

Sarasota-based artist Alex Balampanoglou creates art from melted aluminum. She then mixes the melted metal with plaster and liquid glue; once the mixture is complete, she creates the shapes drop by drop. “It’s a man and woman having love emotions between them. Why? I don’t know why,” said Balampanoglou. “It’s supposed to be love; it’s just one kind of love between a couple.”

For the past five years, Veteran’s Park, 5350 31st Ave S. has been the home for Gulfport’s annual Fine Arts Festival. This year, 38 artists shared their work on February 8 and 9 with hundreds of shoppers and visitors. The event was hosted by the Gulfport Merchants Chamber and SIK Promotions. 

During this year’s Fine Arts Festival, artists were asked, “Which one of your pieces represents love to you and why?” 

Kiersty Long, winner of Gulfport Merchant Chamber’s Rise and Shine Artist Grant, holds her piece titled “Dangerous Waters.” “These two mermaids are in love. One lives in warm ocean water, while the other lives in the colder region of the ocean. They meet once a year where the temperatures meet and they can only survive for so long in a different temperature. Also, where the waters converge is where these deadly jellyfish are swimming. They risk their lives, for that one kiss, once a year,” explained Long. “It’s a story of requited love.” 

“This one!” Gulfport artist Dawn Waters exclaimed when asked which one of her pieces represents love. “Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, they should be together. I think they must truly love each and they just don’t want to get together because they’re rebels and everyone else wants them to be together. “I made this when everyone thought Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga should’ve been together,” said Waters. “I thought it was funny to make them the ‘American Gothic’ and name it ‘American Gossip: A Rumor is Born.’” The piece is made by hand with a felting needle and fiber. 

Peter Suarez slow danced on a hoverboard with his stage partner, Matilda, as the Gulfport Gecko Amalgamated Marching Band played in the background at Gulfport’s 5th Annual Fine Arts Festival. Suarez, a stage performer, caught the attention of many on-lookers, proving that Gulfport accepts love in many forms. 

“This one represents my love of nature and the fact that there is so much going on with the environment,” explained artist Catherine Worthington. “I just want to be able to appreciate the creatures that live in the environment, plus, their habitats are so beautiful.” Worthington is from Brunswick, ME. Her medium is paint and stitched textiles. 


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