The Florida Watercolor Society’s 47th Annual Convention offers something for everyone interested in the arts.
The life of an artist can be a solitary one. Artists retreat into their own worlds, often going hours without human contact to focus on letting their hands re-create the images floating in their mind.
But when creative types come together at events such as the Florida Watercolor Society’s 47th Annual Convention and Trade Show, they’re presented with fresh outlooks. That’s why the theme of this year’s event, which is being held in Sarasota for the first time since 2013, is inspiration.
“It’s great to have this community of artists who will gather with this same interest,” says Florida Watercolor Society President Jerome Chesley. “There are over 600 people from across the state coming who want to grow, experience art and be inspired.”
The goal of the annual FWS event is to bring its members together through workshops, demonstrations, an annual exhibit, trade show and banquet.
Every year there’s also a famed watercolor artist who serves as a juror for the annual member exhibit, which is now on display at ArtCenter Manatee. This year, it was judged by artist and architect Thomas Schaller.
But the convention isn’t just for FWS members. Part of the society’s mission is to “educate the public as to the importance of watercolor.” Chesley says those who appreciate various artistic mediums will benefit from attending the society events.
He says artists, art teachers, students and others can benefit from an interaction with suppliers at the trade show, which is free and open to the public, to test products and learn about the latest tools to enhance their craft.
Chesley also encourages local art aficionados to pay the $25 weekend admission because they’ll get an inside look at what goes into the creation of watercolor paintings through demonstrations by many of the top artists in Florida, including Longboat Key resident Roger Rockefeller and Sarasota resident Jill Krasner.
Visitors and residents alike can also celebrate this painting style by visiting The Ringling’s “Watercolors from the Permanent Collection,” now on display through Feb. 3. Chesley encouraged Executive Director Steven High to schedule the exhibit at the same time as the convention because he wants visitors to appreciate another cultural institution that Sarasota has to offer.
“I’m excited for people to experience our city,” Chesley says. “It’s the cultural gem of the West Coast.”