NEWS RELEASE: Cedar Key, FL 3/13/2020, 2:30 pm
In accordance with the recent recommendations of Gov. Ron DeSantis that cities and counties in Florida postpone or cancel any mass gatherings over the next 30 days in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus in Florida, the Cedar Key Arts Center, in consultation with the City of Cedar Key, has decided to cancel the 2020 Old Florida Celebration of the Arts April 4 & 5. This decision was made after careful consideration of what is for the greater good and best for our community overall. Local restaurants, motels and shops are open for business and the Arts Center looks forward to hosting the festival next spring on the weekend of April 17 & 18, 2021.
2020 Invited Artists have to option of an automatic invitation to next years event, April 17 & 18, 2020 or may elect to receive a partial refund of their booth fee. All artists should have received an email through Zapplications.org on Friday evening, April 13. Questions: please contact us by email at www.CedarKeyArtsFestival.com.
Out of the Way but Worth the Journey
Historic Cedar Key is a unique Florida community. Located, at the end of State Road 24 on the Gulf Coast of Florida, 60 miles SW of Gainesville visitors do not discover Cedar Key because they are passing through on their way to another destination. Instead, they usually have to plan to journey the extra twenty-four miles past the tiny town Otter Creek, down a road that looks like it is going to nowhere to discover this community’s beauty and charm.
The full-time population of Cedar Key has hovered around 750 for the past 100 years. Winter months bring a population boom that increases the population to a whopping 1000. It is a small town of smiles and waves as residents and visitors meet one another on the streets and sidewalks. Supported by a vibrant aquaculture industry producing delicious clams and oysters, as well as welcoming those who enjoy great sport fishing, birding, or the beauty of amazing sunsets, Cedar Key learned long ago the strength of this small town is in the sense of community.
Through the long history of Cedar Key this small town has endured devastating hurricanes, the challenges of the Civil War, and the radical changes in industries that brought on economic hardships. Through each challenge the sense of community has been proven as the single ingredient to keep the town life vibrant, warm and welcoming to all who cross the bridge entering Cedar Key.
In addition to bringing high quality, creative and unique art to this small island community, the Spring Arts Festival in Cedar Key, now in its 56th year, supports the community by allowing only local non-profit organizations to sell food and goodies at beachfront City Park during the event. This juried art festival, known as the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, is coordinated by the Cedar Key Arts Center and has been listed in ArtFairCalendar.com’s Top 10 Art Fairs in America the past three years. This festival attracts some of the best artists in the Southeast and beyond. Each artist, each visitor to Cedar Key, and each volunteer contribute to the strength of the community.
Your invitation to visit Cedar Key is always open, but there is no better time to come than during the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, planned for April 4 (10-5) & April 5 (10-4), 2020. Please plan to join us and enjoy what we know to be a unique experience that will have a lasting impact on you. You will not be sorry you traveled those extra miles to this special place on the Hidden Coast. More information at www.CedarKeyArtsFestival.com or contact us at CedaKeyArtsFestival@gmail.com (352-543-5400).
As Reported in the Cedar Key Beacon April 4, 2019
News Release – Old Florida Celebration of the Arts,
Cedar Key, FL 3/18/19
Have you ever been in an Art Shop or at an Art Festival and wondered or heard someone say “I could do that?” As someone who works in an artist co-op, I can assure you, we hear it all the time, but most of the time to “do that” takes a lot more time, talent and trial & error than you think. But, if you are curious, and want to see how high quality artists create, you should plan on attending the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts in Cedar Key next Saturday and Sunday, March 30 (10-5) & 31 (10-4), as over 25 different artists in 8 different medium will be doing demonstrations between 1-4 pm both afternoons.
Watch as fiber artists Shoshana Matthews (weaver) and Mary Jefferson (basket maker) fashion intricately designed artwork from simple materials. Or, look on as jewelers like Larry Drake and Debbie Stillman, carve delicate designs by hand into their pieces. See 3D artwork being formed from metal, stone, and mixed materials by sculptors Isaac Brooks, John Grammer, and Justine Ferreri or appreciate the drawing ability of Nick Alexiades or Leland as they create amazing images right in front of your eyes
All along the three block venue, mixed media artists like Nick Ringelstetter and painters like alcohol ink painter Julie Tibus will be working. Take the time to ask questions, get to know the artists and their art, and while you are at it you just might decide you really can’t even begin “to do that” and instead, buy a piece of artwork.
The Spring Arts Festival in Cedar Key is in its 55th year. The event has been named in the Top 10 Fine Art Fairs in America the past 3 years by ArtFairCalendar.com. The festival is coordinated by the Cedar Key Arts Center and proceeds benefits the arts center. Great food is prepared and served by local non-profit organizations. Enjoy the music, fun and Children’s Art Booth in beachfront City Park. The event is free, family & pet-friendly, and allows smoking only in designated areas. For more information go to www.CedarKeyArtsFestival.com or call 352-543-5400.
News Release March 10, 2019: Old Florida Celebration of the Arts,
Cedar Key, FL
What Makes Cedar Key’s Spring Arts Festival Something Special?
The Old Florida Celebration of the Arts in Cedar Key, March 30 & 31, has been listed in the Top 10 Juried Fine Arts Fairs in America the past three years by ArtFairCalendar.com. What makes this festival, which is now in its 55th year, something special?
Perhaps it is because the event attracts both “old” and “new” artists. Last year’s winning artists Gabriel Isaac, Best of Show, and Susan Dauphinee, Best 2D, are good examples of this dichotomy. Like about half of the artists each year, Isaac, a ceramic artist from Deland, FL was new to Cedar Key in 2018. While, local favorite and long-time resident, Susan Dauphinee, now of Banford, FL, returned for another year. In 2019 the festival received over 260 applications for its 120 booths, resulting in a high-quality mix of artists in multiple disciplines, both “old” and “new” with about1/3 being from outside of Florida.
Or maybe it is because of the uniqueness and creativity of the artwork found at the event. Discovering how art evolves over the years, seeing how techniques like photography and painting are “borrowing” from each other to create new artistic expressions or realizing how mixed media artists cross boundaries, borrowing from different traditional art forms. This year over 20 artists will be doing artwork demonstrations both afternoons between 1-4, including five mixed media artists.
And of course, in Florida, it’s also always something “blue.” Inspired by the water around us, much of the artwork found at the Cedar Key Spring Arts Festival features our beautiful natural environment and its inhabitants. From paintings and photography to jewelry and sculpture, the art in nature is part of this event. There is no doubt you will find something for your home or something for yourself in Cedar Key.
So come join us for Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed & Something Blue. Saturday, March 30, 10-5 and Sunday, March 31, 10-4. Great food, music and kids art booth in beachfront City Park. The festival is free, smoke-free and pet friendly. For more information got to www.CedarKeyArtsFestival.com or call 352-543-5400.
Striving for Art Fair Excellence
– News Release December 2018
Have you ever wondered what makes a great Arts Festival? If so, just ask the folks in Cedar Key as their annual Spring Arts Festival was just ranked in the Top 10 Juried Art Fairs in America for the third year in a row in Art Fair Calendar’s annual Survey*. In addition, this art event was recognized as #2 on the list of Favorite Small Town Art Shows.
When you ask members of the festival committee at the Cedar Key Arts Center, coordinating sponsor for the event, you get a variety of tips that might just add up to why this festival has earned such a great reputation and is respected by artists and festival attendees alike.
#1. Work to attract high quality and creative fine artists and artisans. Since the festival returned to a fine arts event in 2006 the goal has been to identify and attract top artists through a nation-wide application and jury process. Through this process all entries are reviewed by artist peers, scored and only the most qualified artists are invited to this relatively small show that strives to have a balance of disciplines.
#2. Create an inviting atmosphere that encourages engagement between artists and visitors. One of the reasons the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts invites only 120 artists is so there is room for Artist Demonstrations and space between booths for artists and patrons to interact. The smaller venue results in a relaxed environment compared to larger Florida art shows.
#3. Be organized and have great volunteers. In this small town of about 800 residents, it is simply amazing how many volunteers and businesses work to make the Spring Arts Festival one of the best. With answers to the question “What can we do to improve the festival?” like the one below on the post-event survey, you can see that this “village” knows what is doing.
“I can't think of anything. The show was very well run. Everyone - staff, volunteers, even the motel staff, cared about the show. It's refreshing to see so many people who are interested in not just the show but the artists. I loved the show and the town. Thank you!”
The 2019 Old Florida Celebration of the Arts in Cedar Key will be Saturday, March 30 (10-5) and Sunday, March 31 (10-4). Demonstrations 1-4pm. Prize winners are announced Saturday night at a special Artist Reception so consider coming on Sunday to see who won. Enjoy Great Food, prepared by local non-profit groups, live music and the popular Cedar Key Arts Center’s Children’s Art Booth in Beachfront City Park. The event is free, family & pet friendly with smoking/vaping allowed only in designated areas. For more information go to. Questions contact: 352-543-5400 or .
*The America's Best Art Fairs Awards are based on online voting by art fair patrons, collectors, organizers, and artists both regionally and nationally. It is the only national survey of art fairs and festivals designed to recognize achievement in art fair event production and promote the cultural importance of fine art events across America. Please visit or for the complete list of Best Art Fair Award winners for 2018.
With a Design Contest theme like “The Cedar Key Arts Center Celebrates 25 Year of Promoting the Arts in our Community” it just seems fitting that the honors go to a well-known Cedar Key Artist and Arts Center Member. Congratulations to Ann Kamzelski, 2019 Old Florida Celebration of the Arts Design Contest winner.
This year artists were asked to submit “concept” designs for a new Arts Center Logo based on the above Design Contest Theme. Ann’s classic Cedar Key Sunset was chosen from artwork submitted by 12 different artists. Variations of the logo will be used in 2019 Old Florida Celebration of the Arts promotions and will serve as an icon for the Cedar Key Arts Center in years to come. The design is reminiscent of Ann’s Artwork submitted in 2014 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Spring Arts Festival in Cedar Key. The theme that year was “Homage to the Honeymoon Cottage” and Ann’s design was chosen for the mural that now faces the Arts Center Sculpture Garden.
Ann Kamzelski is self-taught photographer who has focused on nature and travel photography for over 25 years. She has traveled extensively around the US taking photos of scenic areas across the country. She also likes the creative side of photography and blends several different photos to create whimsical images that she sells in Island Arts, a local Cedar Key Artist Co-op.
In addition to being a featured artists in the Member Artist’s Gallery at the Arts Center, Ann has won several awards in the Arts Center’s Open Community Shows over the past 10 years since becoming a member. She has also taught Art Center workshops, served on served Art Center Committees and been an important member of the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts team since it came under the direction of the Arts Center.
Ann has been published in Petersen’s Photographic, Travel and Nature Photographer, Birds and Blooms and on the Citizens and Northern Bank calendar several times, including the cover for 2011. She has had a number of photo articles published in Mountain Home Magazine and has won several Keystone (Pennsylvania Journalist) awards for this work. She has been the winner of various photography contests in both Pennsylvania and Florida and has had one person gallery shows in both locations. Ann writes a monthly article for the Grand Canyon Photography Club on photo techniques and creative processes.
For more information:
The Old Florida Celebration of the Arts (OFCA) was once again named one of the Top 10 Juried Art Fairs in America in the ArtFairCalendar.com annual survey. That’s top 102, a 100 more reasons to attend this year’s celebration March 24 & 25. The OFCA has also received, for the 3x in the last four years, national recognition as one of the Top 5 Small Town Art Shows. Sums up traveling to the tiny Gulf Coast town of Cedar Key for the 54th Annual Spring Arts Festival a trip worth a 1000 times over.
EXPERIENCE OLD FLORIDA IN AN INTIMATE VENUE
When you cross the bridge onto the islands of Cedar Key, 60 miles SW of Gainesville at the end of State Road 24, you are transported to what is truly nature’s coast. In this working coastal town locally grown and harvested oysters and clams are the main fare in downtown restaurants.
On festival weekend, don’t pass up a tasty line up hosted by the Lions Club, who also arranges live music. Food sale proceeds in the park go to local, non-profit organizations.
TEN COOLEST SMALL TOWN, TOO
Florida Celebration of the Arts
The Old Florida Celebration of the Arts (OFCA) is proud to announce the winners of the 2018 Festival Design Contest based on the theme “What Float’s Your Boat?” The Design Contest panel had over 40 pieces of artwork from 28 different artists to choose from and the selection of a winner was difficult. In fact, after several rounds of voting, the competition ended in a tie. Congratulations to winners Clint Eagar for his entry “Floating” and Miriam Novack for her entry “Float My Boat.”
The Cedar Key Arts Center is honored to have these talented life-long artists representing the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts. While Gainesville resident, Miriam Novak, may be familiar to some since she has been participating in Cedar Key’s Spring Arts Festivals for over 15 years, Clint Eagar, a relative newcomer to Santa Rosa Beach, FL only discovered the OFCA last year when the fair was recognized as one of the Top 10 Art Fairs in America.
Both Miriam and Clint were aware of their passion for art early, and, had the opportunity to begin their formal education in the arts at a younger age than most artists. Both artists were inspired and encouraged by family members to pursue art. Clint applied and was accepted to the Johannesburg School of Art in 8th grade and Miriam attended Erasmus High School in New York which allowed her to graduate with a Major in Fine Arts beginning in middle school. Clint completed his Fine Arts Education at the Fashion and Arts Institute in Dallas, Tx after immigrating to the States in 1981. Miriam graduated with Honors in Art from Brooklyn College of the City of New York in the early 70’s.
After teaching art to middle schoolers out of college, Miriam moved with her husband to Florida in the 1974. Her focus at that time was wood sculpture, but she also enjoyed and won awards for her photography, and fell in love with outdoor art festivals as a way to share her art and interact with and be inspired by visitors to her booth. After having her home destroyed in Hurricane Andrew and there was nowhere to do her sculpture, she discovered a renewed love for painting returning to the circular themes that had enchanted her since childhood. In 1992, she won Best of Show at the South Miami Art Festival, in 2007 she had a one-women show entitled “Evolution” at the Thomas Center Main Gallery and she has been the design contest winner for the Downtown Gainesville Art Show (2006) and Winter Fine Arts Festival in Tioga (2014). More of her work can be seen on her website at www.mnovack.com.
Clint’s career took off soon after graduation, when his talents were recognized by production art company based out of Miami with retail galleries in Florida and Texas and he was given the opportunity to open his own Design Studio in Dallas, which was followed by work with Frontline Graphics and Figi Graphics in California. As a graphic design artist his work became popular around the world and at the age of 23 he established his own Design Consulting Firm in Taiwan designing, manufacturing and distributing gifts. After returning to the US in the mid-90’s his work expanded to Industrial Design Products where he designed and distributed for familiar names such as Disney, Kirkland, JC Penny, and Pier I and most recently worked with Golf and Fitness designing training aids for large sporting retail stores like Sports Authority and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Several years ago, Clint decided it was time to step away from Production Art and “return to his roots.” He has opened a studio in Santa Rosa Beach (www.ClintEagarDesign.com). His work has been recently featured in Home Accents Today (2017) and, if you are a NetFlix fan, you may have seen several of his pieces featured on Grace and Frankie, Season 4.
Both artists were inspired by the theme, “What Floats Your Boat?” Miriam’s love of Cedar Key had inspired a series of paintings a couple of years ago, but she said when she heard this year’s theme she knew it was right up her alley and created Floating My Boat especially for the competition. Clint has fallen in love with his new coastal home and had been recently working on boats. In his artwork entitled Floating he worked in layers to create the appearance of old wood, painted over and over, peacefully resting on calm waters.
Plan to see additional pieces of artwork from these and over 100 other invited artists at the 2018 Old Florida Celebration of the Arts in Cedar Key, March 24 & 25. For more information check out our website at www.CedarKeyArtsFestival.com or contact us at CedarKeyArtsFestival@gmail.com
Old Florida Celebration of the Arts Receives National Recognition
In Art Fair Calendar’s 4th Annual National Survey Cedar Key’s Spring Art Festival was voted one of the “Top Ten Best Art Fairs in America.” It was also listed as one of the top five “Favorite Small Town Art Fairs.” This is the second time that the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts has received national recognition in the past several years. In 2014, the event was named one of the Top 50 Art Fairs in America and was also listed as one of the Top 5 Small Town Juried Art Shows.
Cedar Key’s Spring Arts Festival, which was started in 1964, is one of the oldest in the State of Florida. In the mid-1970’s it became so popular that a reported 35-50,000 visitors nearly ended the event because it was just too much for the small town of 850. By the late 1990’s the festival had become more of a craft fair but in 2006, local artists and community leaders decided that the format should return to a juried event with the vision of hosting a top quality small fine art show and the festival was renamed the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts.
The 2017 event, coordinated by the Cedar Key Arts Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to nurture and promote the arts, is planned for April 8 & 9, 10am -5pm. A record number of artists have applied, but only 120 fine artists and craftsmen will be invited. Unlike larger shows, space is left between booths for art demonstrations with room for artists and patrons to interact. On-line survey comments about the festival tell it all --- "Small town - great artists; beautiful location." "It is authentic old Florida, and has some of the best art I have seen." "The locals support this show." "It is small and personal with juried fine arts. It's a lovely little community and the show is fun to do.”
The America's Best Art Fairs Awards are based on online voting by art fair patrons, collectors, organizers, and artists both regionally and nationally. The survey, sponsored by ArtFairCalendar.com, is the only national survey of art fairs and festivals designed to recognize achievement in art fair event production and promote the cultural importance of fine art events across America. For a complete list of winners or to find out more about the subscriber’s survey visit http://www.artfaircalendar.com/art_fair/americas-best-art-fairs-the-top-50.html.
For more information go to www.CedarKeyArtsFestival.com or call 352-543-5400.
2017 Old Florida Design Contest Winner - Judi Cain
When you walk into the Gainesville Artisan’s Guild Gallery or the Keyhole Artist Co-op in Cedar Key and see the paintings of Judi Cain, the 2017 Old Florida Celebration of the Arts Design Contest winner, you can’t help but notice a boundless, perhaps even psychedelic, energy in her artwork depicting people, pets, wildlife and nature. And, if she happens to be working at the desk the day you are there you may be lucky enough to connect with this women who not only enjoys what she does but embodies the “joy of living.” But, it hasn’t always been that way….
2016 Featured Artists
Featured Artist Diana Tonnesson
Featured Artist David Mack
Featured Artist Ernest Lee
Thanks All Around
The Cedar Key Arts Center and Old Florida Celebration of the Arts Working Committee would like to thank everyone who made the 51st Annual Spring Arts Festival last weekend a success.
Finally thanks to the dedicated Working Committee Members - Donna Bushnell, Amy Gernhardt, Gini Barss, Allison Nelson, Leslie Valen, Sue Wooley, Kathy Carver, Joan Selby, Lannie Cardonna, Eileen Bowers, and Tom Deverin. What a team… great job… thank you everyone.
By Bev Ringenberg, Event Coordinator
Something for Everyone at the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts in Cedar Key
Art, Nature, History - Food, Music, Family Fun - Cedar Key is the Place to Be!
Cedar Key will be hosting its 51st Annual Spring Arts Festival the last weekend in March this year. Recently named one of the top 50 juried fine arts festivals in America by ArtFairCalendar.com (including recognition as one of the top 5 juried arts festivals in the South), the small island community of Cedar Key, Fl clearly knows how to put on a great show!
The event, which is coordinator by the Cedar Key Arts Center, strives to create an experience that is unique for both the artists and the visitors. Booths are spaced generously to allow artists and art lovers to interact. Art demonstrations are scheduled for both afternoons from 1-4 pm so that art-enthusiasts can learn more about how original art is created. Visitors are also encouraged to enjoy local art shops, exhibits at the Cedar Key Arts Center, and take their time as they stroll Historic 2nd Street enjoying the art experience. The event is free and pet-friendly.
If you get a bit hungry while in Cedar Key then you will want to head down to City Park where local non-profit organizations prepare and serve everything from local seafood and homemade goodies to root beer floats and smoothies. Or, check out one of Cedar Key's restaurants all within walking distance of the festival. While you are in the park, enjoy live music in the Gazebo both days from 11 am - 3 pm.
Kid's activities in the park include the Cedar Key Arts Center's Children's Art booth, Face Painting, Crazy Hair and an opportunity to have your picture taken with a "REAL" Mermaid. As the park is located right next to the beach and adjacent to the play structures and basketball court, there is plenty to do for the whole family.
For those who enjoy history, Cedar Key's Historic Society is located right on 2nd Street adjacent to the artist venue, or plan a visit to the State Museum 1.5 miles from 'downtown.' For Nature Lovers there are trails both on and off the island to explore or you can experience the beauty of the islands by taking a tour boat ride from the Marina adjacent to City Park. You will certainly see why festival coordinators chose Seeing the Art in Nature as the theme for this year's event. Commemorative Posters and T-shirts will be on sale at the Information Booth.
Cedar Key is located SW of Gainesville at the end of State Road 24. Find out more about the event at www.CedarKeyArtsFestival.com or call 352-543-5400 for more information.
It's the 50th Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, Cedar Key, FL -- weather is gorgeous; sunny with light winds. A delightful time to partake of numerous food offerings, eat in the park, with live music or simply dig my toes in the white sandy beach. A superb weekend to scour the 120 Artists booths for just the right object de art -- something in glass, oil, silver, ceramic, metal, wood, jewelry, prints, or perhaps a watercolor. I ask myself what will my find be this year? An outside item, an inside item or a gift?
Of course, the challenge is reviewing all of the artists and their wonderful creations. Just what will be perfect to pick up this year? There has to be something, there always is at the Old Florida Arts Festival.
Then, just before noon, and a lull in the traffic, I came upon Mike Segal's booth and looked around; lots of wonderful pieces of art. I chat with Mike, and just happened to mention that I'm looking for the right item to buy with my Purchase Award. And then I found what I didn't know I was looking for, there neatly arranged were smaller prints of his work! Gifts just right for
That was my FIND! What will be your find be this year?
Meet Award Winning Festival Artist - Debra Mixon-Holliday - by Sue Wooley
Making her second appearance at the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts this year, award winning Debra Mixon-Holliday shared a little about her creative process. Debra, a native Floridian who now lives in Homassassa, is a creative and talented artist who won The Best 2D Award last year. Drawing her inspiration from the environment she has lived in her whole life, Debra recognizes the beauty all around her southern habitat from flowers and fallen trees to the grasses in the swamp. Translating her artistic vision into unique works of art, Debra utilizes a printmaking technique involving the etching of copper plates. The finished work is stunning to say the least and Florida's natural beauty and inherent wildness is clearly celebrated in her work.
2015 Old Florida Celebration of the Arts
Since 2010, when the Cedar Key Arts Center agreed to become the Coordinating Sponsor for the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, the idea of putting on an ever-greener event has been in place. Over the years numerous steps have been take, but this year the coordinators agreed it was time to commit to putting on a sustainable event.
By Bev Ringenberg, OFCA Event Coordinator
Experience, Explore and Enjoy
For decades, artists have been inspired by the natural beauty of Cedar Key, a small island community located in the center of Florida’s Nature coast. Each spring, the town welcomes art enthusiasts to join them at the annual Spring Arts Festival, which was recently named as one of America’s top 50 fine arts festivals in a nationwide survey ad-ministered by ArtFairCalendar.com. This year’s festival design contest theme, Seeing the Art in Nature, captures the essence of Cedar Key and all there is to Experience, Explore and Enjoy, if you choose to get off the beaten path and follow SR24 to its western end, for the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, March 28 & 29, 2015. Read the full press release...
Old Florida Celebration of the Arts in Cedar Key, Florida.
On March 28 & 29, 2015 Cedar Key will be hosting its Annual Spring Arts Festival. What started as the Sidewalk Art Show in 1964 is now one of the most exceptional juried arts festivals in Florida. The picturesque natural setting of Cedar Key, along with the intimate location and unmatchable hos-pitality, makes the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts a favorite for 120 top artists and craftsmen and over 20,000 visitors each year. This free, pet-friendly event is open from 10 am-5pm and artists will be doing demonstra-tions both afternoons. Visitors can enjoy local seafood and homemade good-ies along with children’s art activities in beachfront City Park. The event benefits local non-profit groups including the Cedar Key Arts Center, the coordinating sponsor. Cedar Key is located 60 SW of Gainesville at the end of SR 24 in the Center of Florida's Nature Coast.
If you would like more information or are interested in featuring our event in you publication, please contact the coordinator atCedarKeyArtsFestival@gmail.com or call 352-543-5400. Website: www. CedarKeyArtsFestival.com.
Perfect Weather for the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts in Cedar Key
Artists, visitors and volunteers could not have asked for a more perfect weekend to celebrate the 50th Annual Spring Arts Festival. A nearly full moon and clear skies on Friday night, along with starting set-up at 7pm on all of 2nd Street, made it much easier for artists to get their booths up and have a reasonable night's sleep before the big weekend. Sunny skies and light winds with temperatures reaching into the 80's greeted festival visitors both days.
The Cedar Key Arts Center and Old Florida Celebration of the Arts Working Committee want to sincerely thank everyone who volunteered and worked this past weekend to make both the artists and visiting art enthusiasts feel welcome and appreciated in Cedar Key. In addition, thanks to Title Sponsor, Palms Medical Group, local Prize Award Sponsors (Island Hotel, Old Fenimore Mill, Nature Coast Realty and Cedar Key Arts Center) and Tony's Seafood who served a hot breakfast for the Artists on Saturday morning and the Cedar Key Market and Drummond Bank who helped host Sunday Brunch and the Artist's Reception.
Cedar Key Commemorating Fifty Years of Art Festivals
As preparations are finalized for the 50th Annual Spring Arts Festival in Cedar Key on April 12 & 13 a new mural to commemorate the event is taking shape in downtown Cedar Key. Plans for the mural have been in the works for over a year according to festival coordinator, Bev Ringenberg, but the first "real paint" went up on the wall last Friday morning.
Mural Artist, Travis Parks, returned to Cedar Key to do the mural. Travis has been painting murals for over 10 years and his artwork can be seen in a variety of places in the town as well as Tarpon Springs, Jacksonville, New Port Ritchey and Maui. For this project, the Cedar Key Arts Center and festival coordinators asked Travis to recreate Ann Kamzelski's photograph of the Honeymoon Cottage on the east wall of the Historic Lutterloh Building which is adjacent to the Arts Center's Sculpture Garden at 457 2nd Street. Jeff Anderson, who has worked with Travis on other projects, is assisting Travis in creating this 16 x 16 foot piece of art.
Something for Everyone at the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts
Founding a Festival…..
By Bev Ringenberg
Newcomers to Cedar Key generally aren't here very long before they hear the name Bessie Gibbs. Longtime residents remember well the woman for New York who arrived here in 1946 and along with her husband, Loyal (AKA "Gibby") bought and restored the Historic Hotel. According to a newspaper article entitled Where Bessie Lives written by Jack McClintock around 1967 the hotel was actually a bordello at the time they bought it, but it wasn't long before she had turned it in to a nationally famous seafood restaurant approved by Gourmet Magazine and written up in National Geographic.
References: April 23, 1976, 'Miss Bessie,' Was the Founding Spirit of the Arts Festival; Newspaper Article by Jack McClintock (~1967) found at the CK Historical Society; Articles in 1964 Art Festival is Founded in Cedar Key (no source); June 9, 1964, St. Petersburg Times; June 11, 1964 Suwannee Valley News; Articles in 1969, April 21, 1969, Gainesville Sun, April 21, 1969, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville; Articles in 1972, March 26, 1972, Gainesville Sun; Articles 1975, Gainesville Sun, Crowd Swarms Cedar Key Sidewalk Arts Festival (no date),
The Year the Festival Got Too Big
Many present Cedar Keyans prefer to stay away from Gainesville on football weekends when the population nearly doubles and traffic is at a standstill. But, only long time locals remember when Cedar Key's population expanded to a reported 50,000 in 1975 for the Sidewalk Art Festival1 - the year the Festival Got Too Big!
Beth Davis, 5th generation resident and owner of the Salty Needle Quilt Shop in Cedar Key, vividly remembers that year. Beth's mom, Marie Yearty Johnson, was the chairman of the festival in 1975 and their house was 'festival central.' Artists made reservations by calling and with Marie often away from the house working on festival "stuff," Beth's dad, Webster Johnson, got mighty tired of answering the phone and ultimately just told artists who were calling "Sure, come on down to Cedar Key, that will be fine." Needless to say, careful records were not kept but the Gainesville Sun reported 400 artists in town that weekend and there was no doubt that the tiny town of 600, with one road in and out, was overwhelmed.
Locals recall running out of food at the park on the first day. Shelves in the Market were empty. Luz Kraujalis, daughter of Walter and Shirley Beckham, remembers overflowing hotels, visitors sleeping in cars, on boats and tents scattered all around town, backed up plumbing and running out of everything from bread to toilet paper. Many people reportedly just left because there was no place to park and "massive traffic jams."2 All of this was probably not much fun for Cedar Key's single police officer, George Daniel, either.
So, it's really no surprise that the Town Council was considering cancelling the festival entirely because of numerous complaints from local citizens. In an article in the Tampa Tribune entitled "Cedar Key Arts Festival Doomed?" by Rick Ballard2, Festival Committee Secretary, Harriet Thompson reported going to the council "almost on our knees" and apparently convinced the town to "give us another chance." Changes were made, the number of artists was limited to 200-250 and limited to "fine arts and sculpture eliminating all craft and photography," advertising was restricted, rules were made about camping and increased law enforcement assistance was brought in from the Sheriff's Department and Gainesville.3
The 1976 show, which was dedicated to founder Bessie Gibbs, was considered a success and as reported in the Tampa Tribune, "Over the past few years the festival had emerged from the ranks of the unknown to one of the finest and most highly respected art shows in the Southeast United States." Historical Society Articles from 1977 and 1978 report crowds of approximately 35,000 and balance seems to have returned. There are no articles after 1978 at the Historical Society about the Spring Arts Festival, but locals report that the quality of the festival gradually declined and the event no longer was a venue for fine artists and craftsmen in the middle years between 1980-2005. It was not until 2006, that efforts were made to bring back a juried Fine Arts event, now known as the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts. And, again, the festivals reputation is growing, but this time, organizers are working hard to keep the venue "just right" with 120 fine arts booths with representative work from all medium including ceramics, drawing, glass, mosaics, painting, mixed media, photography, metal, sculpture, jewelry, fiber/leather, and wood while attracting a crowd that makes everyone happy - artists, locals and visitors alike!
So, please plan to join us April 12 and 13th for the 50th Annual Fine Arts Festival in Cedar Key. For more information go to www.cedarkeyartsfestival.com or call 352-543-5400.
Thanks to the Cedar Key Historical Society for their assistance.
Remembering Festival - A Child's Eye View
Children have been part of Cedar Key's Spring Arts Festivals from the very beginning. They have been artists participating in the main event or in art competitions organized through the Cedar Key School and have helped out with food booths or in restaurants around town on busy festival weekends. Here are a few special stories.
June 6 & 7, 1964: Carmen Day
Hardly a child, but still a teen, Carmen Williams, remembers the first Spring Arts Festival in June of 1964 very well. She was in her first year of college and was headed home for the summer when her father, P.D. Day, called and told her that he'd made some picture frames for her paintings out of cabbage fan stalks and he wanted her to enter them in the upcoming Art Show. Little did she know, that at 17 she would be awarded 3rd Place by popular vote for her oil painting of "Second Street" in the inaugural event.
Carmen became interested in painting in her early teens, and recalls taking a class from Mr. Rigly, who was a part-time visitor to Cedar Key and "must have been a Brit based on the way he talked." She says she used to follow some of these visiting artists around when they were painting and remembers a Mr. Greenwood who took interest in her work and taught her a lot. This led to her enrolling in Commercial Art Classes at the Tomlinson Education Center in St. Petersburg after high school.
However, after getting married in 1965, Carmen did not have much time for her own art although she did teach art to Cedar Key Elementary School students in the 80's. It was not until the mid-90s when she took a class from Cathy Christie, a Canadian Art Teacher who had retired to Cedar Key and later founded the Cedar Key Arts Center, that her painting took off again. Carmen remembers a portrait she did of Earl Brown that Cathy Christie particularly liked and that "she (Christie) stayed on her butt to paint" after that.
Carmen opened the Barefoot Gallery in Cedar Key in 2000 and what started off as simply her studio, became a dynamic addition to Cedar Key's Art Community until she closed it several years ago. Whether she knows it or not, Carmen inspired some other young artists at the first festival, including….
March 27 & 28, 1965: Beth Johnson
Eight year old Beth Johnson had a best friend, Nina Day, and she remembers how cool it was when Nina's big sister Carmen won 3rd prize in 1964. Although prizes at the first festival were award by popular vote, the following year there were actually judges, so you can imagine how proud Beth was when she was chosen winner in her age group for her watercolor "Sunset."
Since that time Beth (Johnson Davis), has "done just about everything except work at a car wash and tend bar." She became an elementary teacher and taught in Chiefland, Bronson and Cedar Key and later served on the Levy County School Board for 12 years. Today she owns and operates "The Salty Needle Quilt Shop" in Cedar Key and expresses her artistic side through large and small quilted creations that require tight attention to detail to construct but allow her to truly express her wilder side when she does "free-motion" quilting.
April 22, 1973, Growing Up with the Arts Festival -A Local Festival Gift, By Luz Beckham Kraujalis
There is not an April in my memory that does not include Festival lore. At 16-years old it meant working days in preparation and for two days at the park for your school club food booth or your restaurant job. For me that usually meant many long hours of both. For three years my birthday was wrapped around the Festival and the only celebration was the extra money I was able to bring home from a long, hard weekend.
My little brother, Mel, was hired along with other local young boys by the City to clean the streets behind the artists. During this job on Sunday, he found my birthday present located in a trash pile on the street - a beautiful hand-thrown piece of pottery, broken cleanly in half.
Mel presented this gift to me still in two pieces, one in each hand, with a rather large proud smile. Today it is glued together, prominently on display in my kitchen and is one of my fondest memories.
You can see Luz's Birthday Gift along with Carman Day's "Second Street" and Beth Davis' "Sunset" at the Cedar Key Art Center's April Exhibit entitled 50 Years of Art Festivals in Cedar Key. Opening: Saturday, April 5, 5-7 pm
A Festival Tradition Continues….
By Bev Ringenberg
Although Jim Carrick, singer/guitarist from St. Augustine, FL, played music in Cedar Key in the 80's "down on the waterfront" it was not until 1990, when the new owners of the Island Hotel, Tom and Allison Sanders invited him to play in the hotel's courtyard, that his festival tradition began. Since 1990, Jim has played at both the Seafood Festival and Arts Festival every year. Along with some of his own "followers "(aka groupies) he draws an enthusiastic crowd both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Jim says he has always been treated well at the hotel, especially by present owners Stanley and Andy Bair who have even dedicated a room with his name on it (and a golden star, no less). He hasn't been visited by any ghosts, but he reports hearing footsteps about 3:30 am in the hallway on many occasions and has been told "that's just Mrs. Bessie getting up to make biscuits." He has many fond memories of playing music on the balcony, Andy's delicious breakfasts, and spending time with Cedar Key residents who have become life-long friends.
When asked about his music Jim describes it as "traditional Americana." "You're not supposed to call it Folk Music anymore, but to me it is storytelling in song." He likes to take "old songs and bring them into the now." He calls it old song interpretation. His companion on this visit, Marianne Lerbs, an artist and musician herself, says his songs are so descriptive that they remind you of a painting, "You can just see it." Some of his favorites are old railroad songs with the guitar played in a way that you can hear the train in the background as the story is told.
Jim has played all around the country with many well-known musicians, including most recently Willie Nelson at the Amphitheater in St. Augustine in 2009. But, when asked where his favorite place to play is, he answers without hesitation "right here, this is home." He met Tommy Jones, "one of the greatest guitar players he's ever played with," here in Cedar Key. And enjoyed playing in the courtyard with Spanky and Our Gang about 5 years ago.
Reminiscing about his years in Cedar Key, Jim says, "In many ways it is still the same, friendly people, it takes a special person to want to live here, it still has the feel of Old Florida." Some things have changed though, "it was wilder back then," he says but the "cops were friendlier, they've gotten meaner since 2007 when property values went up." As far as the Arts Festival goes, he feels there's been a noticeable improvement in the quality of Art since the event returned to a fine arts show in 2006 but likes the fact that the Seafood Festival is different with arts and crafts.
So, as you are planning your time for the 50th Annual Spring Arts Festival in Cedar Key, April 12 & 13, take some time to stop by the Island Hotel Courtyard and enjoy some of Jim's musical storytelling. And remember, Jim likes to catch up with the locals late Sunday afternoon or early evening at what he sometimes calls the "Thank God they are gone party."
Cedar Key Arts Center and Lions Club Join Forces
By Bev Ringenberg
With the 50th Annual Spring Arts Festival just two months away, coordinators are excited to announce a broadened cooperative arrangement between the Cedar Key Lions Club and the Cedar Key Arts Center (CKAC). The CKAC, through its Old Florida Celebration of the Arts (OFCA) Working Committee, will continue to be the Coordinating Sponsor for the event, but now the Lions Club will be responsible for all Park activities including, non-profit food & information vendors, music, tent, and waste station, functioning as a subcommittee of the working committee.
Over the past 5 years, since the CKAC accepted the City's request to take over coordination of the Spring Arts Festival, the OFCA Committee has been responsible for both the artist venue and the park venue. Although the Lions Club had continued to lend financial support to the festival through Grant each year, they were not responsible for all park activities, as has been their role at the Annual Seafood Festival.
Booth groups are dedicated to assuring that the non-profit school, church and service groups in Cedar Key benefit from the Park sales and it was agreed that having the Lions Club coordinate park activities at both festivals might reduce variation and confusion between the two events. City Officials agree, and are pleased that the Arts Center and Lions Club have identified a way to work together each year to coordinate the Spring Arts Festival.
Other 2014 OFCA Sponsors include: Title Sponsor - Palms Medical Group (for the 5th year); Prize Award Sponsors - Island Hotel, Old Fenimore Mill, Nature Coast Realty, and CKAC; Mural Co-sponsor - Norm D. Fugate, PA; Supporting Sponsors - Capital City Bank (Ribbons), Drummond Bank (Reception Beverages); Keyhole Artist Coop (Postcards); Island Arts (Posters) and generous Gifts-In-Kind: Tony's and The Market (Saturday and Sunday Artists Breakfasts), Cedar Key Canvas (Artist Bags), Bill Kilborn (Graphic Support), TV20 (Gainesville) and WEDU (Tampa).
News Release for Mid-Feb 2014
Picture: Bill Roberts in his booth talking to a customer, green purchase award ribbon in the background.
50th Annual Spring Arts Festival Just Around the Corner - Plan to celebrate the event by being a Purchase Award Patron this year.
WHO and WHAT IS A PURCHASE AWARD PATRON? A purchase award patron is anyone who wants to help the festival by committing ahead of time to "go shopping" at the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts in April each year. Patrons can be business owners, individuals or even someone who decides to buy a Purchase Award as a gift for a friend or family member (essentially a "Gift Certificate" to buy art).
WHY DOES IT MAKE OUR FESTIVAL BETTER EACH YEAR? A well-funded purchase award program demonstrates community support for the festival. When artists are deciding which festivals to participate in each year they often look at the amount money committed to purchase awards in prior years. A strong Purchase Award Program attracts top artists and creates loyalty in our most popular artists. This in turn improves the quality of art displayed at the festival and consequently strengthens Cedar Key's reputation as a destination for art enthusiasts, thus bringing visitors and support to our island community throughout the year.
In addition, since 10% of your Purchase Award pledge becomes a tax-deductible contribution to the festival, Purchase Award Patrons help ensure the long term success and survival of the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts. All, while having fun shopping!
HOW DOES IT WORK? Purchase Awards are sold before the festival in denominations of $250 (each with a buying power of $225). The week prior to festival, Purchase Award Coupons are distributed and patrons have all weekend to choose a piece of artwork and make their purchases directly from the artist using the coupons. Coupons can be combined with other forms of payment or patrons can receive "change" from the artist. If a patron cannot find anything they like, the festival will refund the coupon price (minus the 10% donation).
OTHER PATRON PERKS: Patrons receive an invitation to the Artists' Reception and Awards Ceremony at the Cedar Key Arts Center Sculpture Garden Saturday evening, 5:00-6:30 pm and a big ribbon to give to the artist when a purchase is made. Artists are proud to display these ribbons in their tents.
In addition, Patrons are recognized in festival week publications.
2014 Design Contest Winner Tony Krysinsky
by Sandra Buckingham
There is one unique landmark that says “Cedar Key” like nothing else does. It’s the most sketched, painted and photographed structure in town, instantly recognizable to anyone who has visited this tiny island city on Florida’s Gulf Coast.... and it is slowly but inevitably, year by year, crumbling into the sea.
“It” is the Thomas Guest House, also known as the Honeymoon Cottage - a tiny wood-framed, stilt cottage built more than 60 years ago as a weekend getaway for the Thomas family of Gainesville. It perched like a miniature island 300 feet from shore, connected to land by a long narrow boardwalk, also elevated over the water on stilts.
The Thomas Guest House would have been in its prime and, one imagines, full of weekend seaside joie de vivre, at the time of the very first Cedar Key Arts Festival. However two decades later, in 1985, the cottage was mostly destroyed by Hurricane Elena. Every year since then, time and weather claim another piece of what’s left. Its remnants will likely not survive another bad storm, let alone a hurricane. This endearing structure was chosen, while it still stands, as the theme image for the 50th anniversary of the town’s annual fine arts festival, now called the “Old Florida Celebration of the Arts”.
Florida artist Tony Krysinsky winner of the 2014 Design Contest for the festival, rarely does contest art, but he says that when he learned what the theme was for 2014 he just had to submit an entry. He has been coming to the festival for the past five years, and like many visitors, fell in love with the time-warp feel of Cedar Key and its unspoiled natural surroundings.
“Oh, my gosh,” he said on first discovering Cedar Key, “don’t tell anyone about this place!” Too many people will come, and that will spoil it.” That’s high praise from an artist who, although born and raised in New York, has spent most of his adult life in Florida. Originally drawn to this state by the lure of its surfing beaches, he ended up staying for an undergraduate degree. After doing graduate studies in fine art in New Orleans, he returned to Florida and now lives with his wife and son on Perdido Key (“the beach boonies” he calls it) on the Panhandle near Pensacola.
An interest in woodwork has always gone hand in hand with Tony’s love of painting. While looking for a way to incorporate a tactile texture into his art, he found a technique that involves engraving the outline of an image onto a tempered hardboard panel, then applying colors in layers of acrylic glaze. This has become his favorite medium. The works have a distinctly coastal vibe to them, with the imagery, color and quirkiness one associates with sea-side Florida.
For his winning entry, Tony decided to imagine the cottage as it once was, in its heyday, instead of rendering it as the relic it is now. He found a few archival photos that show its original structure, then looked at historical summaries of that period to get a feel for the times. The 1950s were a bit of respite between the horrors of World War II and the anxiety of the coming Cold War. It was a time for hula hoops, transistor radios, modern jazz, Elvis and rock ‘n’ roll. Half the homes in America had a black and white TV, capturing network signals from the air with rabbit ears or rooftop antennas. And the launch of the first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik, began the space race.
Cedar Key Arts Center's February Exhibit Pays Homage to "Honey's Cottage"
Opening - Saturday, February 1, 5-7 pm
Photo by Ann Kamzelski
You've probably heard that Cedar Key's Honeymoon Cottage was originally built in the 1950's as a guest house by Philip and Peggy Thomas of Gainesville for weekend getaway. But did you know that it got its present day name, Honeymoon Cottage, not because of honeymooners but because it was Mr. Thomas' pet name for his wife's special place, Honey's Cottage. Somehow, sometime over the years it gradually became the "Honeymoon Cottage." No one seems to know exactly how or when this happened, and many locals resist this rather 'Disney' name, but nearly everyone agrees it is sad to see this picturesque part of Cedar Key fading away into the sunset, soon to be gone forever.
The Opening will be Saturday, February 1, 5-7pm and the exhibit will run throughout the month of February. And mark your calendars for the 50th Annual Spring Arts Festival in Cedar Key, planned for April 12 and 13th where a new mural commemorating the event and the Honeymoon Cottage will be dedicated.
Past Press Releases
INDIANA AND TENNESSEE MUSICIANS BRING THEIR ACOUSTIC MUSIC
On Sunday, January 15, 2012, the 2nd annual “Acoustical Afternoon for the Arts” benefit concert and silent auction will be held from 3pm-5pm at the Island Room Restaurant in Cedar Key, Florida. The silent auction will showcase pieces from a number of art festival artists including a live painting performance by well-known artist Susan Dauphinee of Cedar Key. There will be a variety of appetizers served, a no-host bar will be available, and doors will open early at 2:30pm. Tickets are $20 each and go on sale December 15th.
Proceeds will promote the 2012 Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, a juried fine art festival that has been happening in Cedar Key every April for the past 48 years. Reduced funding has made it necessary to raise additional monies to insure the continuation of the fine arts festival. Last year’s first benefit concert with the silent auction was very successful and tickets sold out early. The Cedar Key Arts Center, a non-profit organization that promotes the arts in the small gulf coastal community, is the coordinating sponsor for the festival.
The musicians volunteering their time and talents for this benefit are Joe Peters and Linda Hicks (West Lafayette, IN) and Bishop Davidson (Nashville, TN).
Joe Peters has released five CDs of original music since 1998, and can often be found playing in the Hoosier state. Joe grew up in the Midwest during the late 60s and early 70s, and his songs hearken back to a time when young people sought the experience of peace, love and adventure and expressed this search in their music. Linda Hicks found her niche in the folk music scene, drawing from the influences of bluegrass, old-time, celtic, traditional, and contemporary folk music. Linda and Joe often perform together as a duo, and have just released a joint album, A Thousand Ways. In addition, Joe has also just released a new Joedai Warriors album, Over The Edge. Bishop Davidson is a newly-formed duo comprised of MJ Bishop and WT Davidson. MJ hails from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and, after spending 30 years in Seattle, moved to Nashville in the Spring of 2010 to further hone her songwriting skills and begin work on her fourth album. She continues to write in the Americana vein, her music being laced with the sweet, familiar melodies of folk. WT was born and raised in Iowa City, IA, where he cut his teeth playing at the Mill and the Sanctuary while still in high school. His influences include a great deal of traditional jazz artists like Jack Teagarden and Fats Waller, bluesmen like Bill Broonzy, the older and more soulful country of the Merles – Travis and Haggard, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and a raft of Motown and Stax records and of course a lasting Beatles problem. After moving to Nashville in 1974, WT has had cuts by Ray Charles, Crystal Gayle, Michael Johnson, Gary Stewart and Ray Stevens, to name a few.
Spring Arts Festival Celebrated under Clear Skies
Best of Show: Jean Yao, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Best 3-Dimensional: Terry & Vickie Hunt, Arcadia, FL
Best 2-Dimensional: Susan Daupinee, Cedar Key, FL
Awards of Excellence
Emily Cheek - Painting
Judge - Roy Slade of Tampa, Florida
Artists, clammers mix at Cedar Key's art fest this weekend
By Alexandra Hamilton
Some people say the quiet island of Cedar Key is known for its clams. With its warm, shallow waters, the city boasts being one of the top producers of hard-shell clams in the United States. On the other hand, Event Coordinator, event coordinator of Cedar Key's Old Florida Celebration of the Arts festival, says Cedar Key, a small island town about an hour's drive from Gainesville, is known for two things — its clams and its art.
Facts:Old Florida Celebration of the Arts
What: Annual Cedar Key arts festival with than 120 artists, food, live music and more
“We have the clammers and the artists, it seems,” Cassiano says. “It's a good mix.”
This weekend, Cedar Key's historic Second Street is all about the arts for the 47th annual Old Florida Celebration of the Arts festival, one of the oldest art festivals in the state of Florida. But the town's famous clams will also be sold alongside the artworks of 120 artists from throughout the U.S. and as far away as California, Texas and Ontario, Canada.
Artists specializing in fine art, jewelry, sculpture, painting, ceramics, glass and fiber will be attending the juried festival, including seven local artists from Gainesville — Miriam Novack, Virginia Chen, Hugo Cruz, Diana Christiansen, Jack Wicks, Greg Stephens and John Moran.
The top 15 artists chosen by Roy Slade, director emeritus of Cranbrook Art Museum and former director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, will receive prizes totaling $10,000. Purchase awards totaling $7,000 are also being given to artists.
Cassiano says she expects about 20,000 people will attend the two-day festival, which is free and open to the public. Different from previous years' festivals, this year's event will feature a new form of entertainment — art cars. Four cars decorated to a theme by artists from Alabama, Georgia, Virginia and Florida, including a car from Alabama titled “Aliens on Board” by Jim Shores, will be on display for people to view.
Local bands also performing during the event including Whitey Markle & The Swamprooters, The Evans Acoustic Reunion, a band of family members that plays a wide range of music, and a Celtic duo that features Lisa Lynne, a harpist from California, and George Tortorelli, a bamboo flutist who has been living in Gainesville for the past 30 years.
Apart from the wide range of artworks people will be able to peruse and purchase throughout Saturday and Sunday, the most unique feature about the event is the food it sells, Cassiano says.
Local civic organizations, school groups and church groups are selling a wide variety of food items, including locally caught seafood, oysters, Cedar Key's famous steamed clams from the Cedar Key Aquaculture Association Inc., hamburgers and hotdogs, as well as a variety of desserts and beverages. No outside vendors are allowed to sell food at the festival.
“Everybody loves the food,” Cassiano says. “It's different from typical festivals.”
Moran, the Florida nature photographer from Gainesville who has appeared in art shows throughout Florida since 1998, is participating in the festival for the first time. He says he's looking forward to this weekend's event because of its location in Cedar Key; with the island's surrounding waters and lack of drive-thru traffic, he says it's his favorite coastal destination in the state.
“I just love Cedar Key,” Moran says. “It's a remarkable town with a distinct sense of place.”
Novack, an artist who has a unique style of painting that features fractured images and colorful, intricate patterns, has been participating in the festival for about five years.
She says when people look at her art, “it's like looking at the world through a kaleidoscope.” Many of her pieces exhibit themes of yoga, meditation, music, peace, Jerusalem, and some also exhibit beautiful nature scenes of Cedar Key, which are all being featured at the event.
“When the weather is great, there's just nothing more beautiful,” Novack says of Cedar Key.
Artist Spotlight on Robert Goodlett, Rainbow Springs and Cedar Key,
by Sandra Buckingham
Robert Goodlett is one driver you don’t want to tailgate on the county roads of rural Florida.
Sooner or later, he may slam on his brakes for no apparent reason and abruptly swerve his car into the weeds on the shoulder. Before you decide whether you’re watching a mad man or a heart attack in progress, he’ll jump out, clutching a camera and run off across a field. There’s a red sunset sky and golden light glancing through the branches of a live oak and burnishing the tips of tall grass. For a landscape artist, it’s that ephemeral combination of perfect light and perfect setting that begs to be captured, even if it means running through a cow pasture dressed in Sunday best.
Goodlett has been painting since his mother gave him a Grumbacher set of oils at age nine. He is a Floridian artist in every possible way. Born and raised in south Florida, and a longtime resident of north-central Florida, his artistic interest in the unspoiled landscapes of this state was kindled early when he saw a large Albert Backus painting on the wall of a Coral Gables bank. Backus, of course, was the artist credited with inspiring the Highwaymen, that now-famous group of black artists centered around Fort Pierce on Florida’s Atlantic coast.
Although painting has always been a passion for Goodlett, for a long period it was no more than a sideline. He made his living as a builder and a professional musician. For years he played guitar with one or another of several different itinerant bands, but as life on the road made a normal family life increasingly difficult, he began to consider the market potential of his paintings as a source of income.
At first, finding gallery representation was discouraging. His traditional approach was so uniformly unsuccessful – “Hello, my name is Robert Goodlett, I’m a Florida landscape artist” – that he could see the rejection coming before words ever reached the lips of a gallery owner. So he stopped entering galleries with a handshake and started walking in the door with a painting held in front of his chest, making a first impression with the art, not the artist. Suddenly “Hello, my name is …“ became unnecessary background noise because, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
From that point, Goodlett started painting more and more, eventually giving up the life of a traveling musician to support himself full time as a painter. He built a home, complete with studio, in Rainbow Springs, near Dunnellon. He paints every day, all day, and often again in the evening, but loves every moment at his easel.
Goodlett is entirely self-taught, having perfected his craft through observation, reading and trial-and-error. In the studio he experiments with color, composition and style, using different palettes or level of abstraction. Although he works extensively from his vast personal collection of photos, these images are only a point of departure for his quintessential renderings of Old Florida – the coastal marshes, rivers and hammocks unspoiled by civilization. He might have to remove a car wash sitting behind a cluster of palms or ignore telephone lines crisscrossing a sunset to get there, but he gives artistic license free reign to trump mundane reality.
Goodlett’s pragmatic side keeps an eye on his market. Most of his pieces are sized to fit in a suitcase, making them all the more sellable to the tourists and snowbirds who frequent Florida’s galleries. For art shows, he includes both smaller and larger pieces, so there is something for every budget. As a longtime member of the Cedar Keyhole Artist Co-op, he puts in his share of time behind the counter at the co-op’s gallery on 2nd Street in Cedar Key. He sets up a table easel next to the cash register and passes the time working on his next piece when he isn’t chatting with customers or ringing up a sale.
This year he was honored when his work was chosen as the poster art for Cedar Key’s 2012 Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, an annual fine arts festival taking place this year April 28-29. He will also have a booth at the festival, with many new pieces on display. For more information on this event, go to cedarkeyartsfestival.com. To see Robert Goodlett’s online gallery go to http://robertgoodlett.com.
, Cedar Key Old Florida Celebration of the Arts. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.