BRANDON – The four women chatted amicably on a recent day at Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association. It’s their usual weekly meeting place, and the tools of their trade – paint, paintbrushes, and paper – left a riot of color down the long table.
Roxanne Tobiason, 70, Doreen Donovan, 64, and Betty Fairbanks, 74, created artworks in watercolor as varied in technique as in subject matter. While Tobiason worked on a still life, Donovan concentrated on a scenic vista and Fairbanks skewed a guitar toward abstraction.
Meanwhile, Sue Allen, 66, brushed a plethora of acrylic hues on – flower pots.
“This is not what I usually paint!” spluttered Allen, while the other women snickered. The award-winning watercolorist’s foray into painted pots was for a good cause, though: They are headed to the silent auction at the end of this year’s Gallery Hop: “Bring Art Alive … Find the Hidden treasures of Greater Brandon,” set for Sept. 14.
The Gallery Hop, a joint effort by the Brandon League of Fine Arts, Center Place Fine Arts and the Greater Brandon Arts Council, aims to drum up local support of the arts.
“We like to see the public involved in anything that’s an artistic endeavor,” said Dawn Galia, executive director of Center Place. “Just seeing them involved is always a great goal.”
Indeed, the public will be privy to a diverse palette of art and activities during the daylong event, which encompasses six local venues – plus a final destination where lots of loot can be located.
“It’s for the entire family,” said Donovan.
“It’s really for the entire community” said Allen.
Tobiason, Donovan and Allen, all long-time members and former presidents of the Brandon League of Fine Arts, will display their watercolor techniques at The Green Boutique. Current league president Bonnie Phillips will be on hand, as well, providing insights into water-soluble oil painting. Demonstrations commence in hour-long segments starting at 10 a.m. and running through 4 p.m.
Budding artists also can create jewelry at The Bead Boutique, and enjoy musical entertainment by John Marc on the cello at Beaux Arts Gallery. Stained-glass jewelry artist Beth Kauffman will help gallery hoppers devise glowing creations at Orange Home Accessories, and Pottery Patch painters can try their prowess in decorating an ornament. At Sketch and Sip, attendees can make, and take home, their very own masterpieces.
At each venue, participants will receive a stamp as proof of their visit. Those collecting a stamp from each of the six businesses become eligible to win one of the baskets raffled at the evening’s reception and awards ceremony at Center Place.
The reception honors the winners of Artworks Open Show 2013, a juried show that this year drew more than 70 artworks from throughout the Tampa Bay area. Sixty-nine, two-dimensional and five three-dimensional works were judged by Christine Reichow, a Fort Myers resident and signature member of the National, American and Florida watercolor societies, said Tobiason. “The quality is very good.”
Following the 6 p.m. awards presentation, raffles will be held for baskets donated by the venues, and those painted pots will be the “objet d’art” of the silent auction.
The auction is dear to the heart of the Brandon League of Fine Arts, which donates the proceeds to Center Place for scholarships.
“The [least] amount we’ve ever given to Center Place is $500,” said Donovan.
Though the Gallery Hop was put on hiatus last year due to scheduling conflicts, the league still held its juried Artworks and the fundraiser for Center Place.
“One of the reasons we’re so supportive of Center Place,” said Tobiason, “is they are so supportive of us.”