The parking lot at Lake Miona Regional Recreation Center was bursting at the seams most of the day on Saturday, as it hosted the popular Summer Art Show staged by the Villages Art League.
This original Villages art group began with a few artists gathering in each others homes to paint together and socialize some twenty-six years ago. When the group became too large, they applied for ‘official club’ status, so they could meet in a larger rec center room.
Now boasting more than two-hundred members, the Villages Art League titled their Summer Art Show ‘Enchanted Tuscany,’ although the more than seventy artists’ and artisans’ work on display had many themes.
While paintings of various sizes dominated the exhibit, there were hand-painted silk scarves and clothing, ceramics, creative jewelry, mosaic work, painted china and fused glass.
Little Aidan Sullivan, 6, who loves art, was busy choosing Christmas-themed necklaces for gifts at Janet Gardiner’s jewelry display. Visiting from Methuen, Massachusetts, with his older brother, Colin, 9, and mother, Sarah, the boys were having a great time with grandma, Charlotte Villager Pam Avery. Colin liked a hot-air balloon painting best and Aiden’s favorite was a choo-choo train picture.
Summerhill Villager, Sue Vermilya, purchased a pastel watercolor painting with flowers and angel images from Jeanne Willette, who served as publicity chairperson for the show.
As Carl Woodward’s soft piano music served as a relaxing background, Lois Cimmino’s unique watercolor and acrylic paintings were attracting a lot of attention. Very fine lines, made with sprayed acrylic paint, adorned attractive color-washed backgrounds. Cimmino also had several unusual scenic collage paintings made from various textures of rice paper and Bounty paper towels. “They’re not just any paper towels,” she said. “They have to have the right colors and patterns of paint in them,” Cimmino said.
Villages Art Association (VAA) president and artist, Frank Zampardi, loved some of Diane Pattie’s photographic work. Pattie is president of The Villages Photography Club which will resume its monthly meetings in the fall at La Hacienda Regional Recreation Center.
Artist Bill Skieczius, who pronounces his last name ‘Sketches,’ was explaining his Lithuanian background to John Rybczyk, who lives in Village De La Vista North. John, of Polish descent, and Bill, were jovially comparing the ‘CZ’s’ in their last names , while John’s wife, Barbara, purchased note cards.
Helen Poor’s photography is wonderful,” visitor Marge Allegro gushed. “The flower petals look like white velvet, and look at the shells and birds! Wow.”
Villager Gail McPhee was buying up packages of hand-painted note cards for ‘cancer baskets’ she and her friends are making for charity. “We will put them in themed baskets with beach towels and other items to auction in November,” McPhee said.
Beall’s store manager, James Broderick, who lives in Fernandina Village, enjoyed the show. He gravitated toward Maryann Goniae’s table, where a variety of wine and Tuscan themed paintings were displayed.
Arrachme Collins, and her photographer husband, Peter, tended their large corner exhibit at Lake Miona. The large panels featured shades of blue, green and orange acrylic paints. Arrachme teaches sellout classes at The Villages Lifelong Learning College, and is happy some of her paintings are currently on exhibit at the Gogyoshi Art Museum in Geoje, South Korea.
“More than 25 million people visit that museum every year,” Peter said, “and then my wife’s paintings will travel to other exhibits throughout South Korea. The goal of the museum’s traveling exhibits is to bring attention to social and environmental consequences of the nuclear plant disaster in Japan.
In addition to its annual Summer Art Show, VAL hosts an Artist Showcase each year at the Savannah Regional Recreation Center the Saturday after Thanksgiving. At La Galleria in La Hacienda Regional Recreation Center, judged art shows are hung year-round, with the paintings changed every three months.
Other locales where VAL artists’ work can be viewed include the Eisenhower Regional Recreation Center’s Halsey Room — where paintings are changed every two months all year long; at Citizen’s Bank locations and at the Florida Blood Center in Spanish Plaines Shopping Center.
The object of VAL is to encourage all forms of fine arts and their appreciation among Villagers and other area residents. All Villages residents interested in art are invited to join the group’s monthly meetings and workshops.
On Mondays from 9 a.m. until noon, VAL has free workshops at Saddlebrook Recreation Center (except the first Monday of the month, which is their business meeting).On Thursday, members paint from 1 -5: p.m. at Mulberry Recreation Center’s arts and crafts room at the northern border of the community; and on Saturdaymornings, 8:30-11 a.m. members paint together in the Charlie Chaplin Room of the Paradise Regional Recreation Center on the Historic Side of The Villages.
For more information visit www.thevillagesartleague.org