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Art association celebrates 30 years

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  • | 4:00 a.m. March 27, 2013
  • East County
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PALM-AIRE — Nancie Shellenbaum says she may be “the world’s worst artist,” but that doesn’t keep the Palm-Aire resident from dabbling in her lifelong passion and from mingling with like-minded neighbors.

As a longtime member of the Art Association of Palm-Aire Country Club and as the organization’s membership chairwoman, Shellenbaum attends art lectures, field trips and even hands-on art fairs the club hosts.

“I love art,” she says, smiling.

As she sits alongside the association’s art committee chairwoman, Donna Vasko, the two women eagerly stand up and walk toward the Palm-Aire Country Club’s Member Gallery, a hallway where the work of the association’s members is displayed throughout the year.

In just a few days, however, part of the Palm-Aire Country Club will transform into an art gallery when the Art Association hosts its annual art show. The organization is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

The show, which will feature the work of about 40 Palm-Aire artists, will run from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 2 through April 7, at the Palm-Aire Country Club, 5601 Country Club Way, Sarasota.

An artists reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. April 2, at the club, as well. During the reception, the association will present a scholarship to a Ringling College of Art and Design student.

“We encourage everyone just to come out and see some great work here,” Vasko says, noting many of the featured artists are professional. “We do not have a sales segment. It’s to showcase (the art).”

The Art Association of Palm-Aire officially formed in 1983 as a forum for its members to exchange ideas, improve their art skills and learn more about art in the community.

Thirty-three members attended the first meeting.

Thirty years later, the art association has grown significantly with about 150 members. It hosts twice-weekly, open-studio sessions, at which artists can work on various projects and receive feedback on their work from fellow artists, and it also organizes art demonstrations and field trips to major museums and art galleries.

In fact, an art demonstration is slated for April 8, at which time members will hear from Helene Hermes, a sculptor and teacher with a background in lithography, weaving and batik.

“When we (joined in 2001), everybody on the board had a calling list of 15 people,” Shellenbaum said. “Now, we have e-blasts (and a) bulletin board (in the club). That was a big thing. We have a web page now, too.”

The club’s first official exhibit, held outside April 24, 1983, has grown into a full-scale art exhibition that attracts hundreds of art enthusiasts from throughout the Sarasota/Manatee area.

The art show also has become more professional in design.

Instead of hanging artwork from the crown molding of walls inside the club, the association now uses professional panels, like those used at art exhibitions.

Vasko and Shellenbaum say, over the years, the organization has become a significant amenity to members of the Palm-Aire Country Club.

“Not everyone is physically willing to be a golfer,” says Vasko, whose artistic endeavors have included watercolor, ceramics and calligraphy, among other art forms. “So many people find art brings them satisfaction and camaraderie.

“People say, ‘I can’t draw a straight line,’” she says. “The important thing to know is a straight line isn’t artistic.”

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

1983 — Thirty-one artists exhibited in a one-day
Fine Arts & Sculpture exhibit held April 24 outdoors.
1985 — The new Palm-Aire Country Club clubhouse
hosted the exhibit indoors.
1987 — The association introduced the first wine-
and-cheese reception for artists on the opening night of the show.
1989 — The Art Association of Palm-Aire formed
officially. Ruth Levin was elected the first president.
1992 — The refinished clubhouse included crown
molding so works of art could be hung.
1993 — The first dinner dance, now called the
“Art Gala,” was held.
1994 — The first official logo was designed.
1995 — Refurbished door panels were used
for displaying work for the show.
1998 — In-house watercolor classes became available.
The first scholarship was presented to the Ringling College of Art and Design.
1999 — The art show was expanded from three days
to six days. Membership had increased to 108 members.
2005 — The Ruth Levin Scholarship Fund was established.
2006 — The first scholarship bus trip was organized.
2008 — The association celebrated its 25th
anniversary. New exhibit panels for the show were purchased as a result of a major fundraising effort.
2009 — The club created the Member Gallery at the
clubhouse to display the works of members.
2010 — The association launched its website
and began conducting e-blasts.
— Information provided by the Art Association of Palm-Aire Country Club

Art Association of Palm-Aire Art Show
When: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 2 to April 7
Where: Palm-Aire Country Club, 5601 Country Club Way, Sarasota

When: 5 to 7 p.m. April 2
Where: Palm-Aire Country Club, 5601 Country Club Way, Sarasota


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