Acrylic painter Doug Michalski and sculptor Bob Richard have been selected as featured artists for the 13th annual Peace River National Art Festival, a juried show that draws entries from across the country.

The festival, a fundraiser for the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda, is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 16 and March 17 at Laishley Park in Punta Gorda. Admission in $3.

Michalski, of North Port, is a “plein art artist with a really distinctive style,” said Stacy Calvino, business development director for the VAC.

Michalski, a native of Lockport, N.Y., spent 32 years as a middle school art teacher, inspiring countless students. He progressed from painting in watercolors to acrylics after retiring to Florida. His signature bold style is created by working with a limited palette of three colors — plus black and white — to achieve light and contrast.

Richard, who spends his winters in Port Charlotte, is a self-taught sculptor who creates wood and metal pieces. He was introduced to woodworking and furniture making while studying industrial arts education at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Mass. He taught woodworking at Grafton High School in Grafton, Mass., for many years.

Richards’ abstract wood sculptures mimic the beauty of nature.

The artists’ work can be viewed at the Visual Arts Center’s galleries leading up to the festival.

They will be among 60 artists whose works will be on display during the two-day event. The artists will be coming in from Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Maine, Washington State, and many other locales.

“The artwork varies from traditional painting to abstract painting to jewelry,” Calvino said. “It’s what we think is the only fine arts and fine crafts show in Charlotte County.”

Because it’s a juried show, all the artwork my be submitted and reviewed before it’s accepted into the show.

A variety of vendors will be on hand. Food, beer and wine will be available. Live music will also be part of the festivities.

“We’re aiming to provide the community with a high-quality event, one worthy of interest,” Calvino said. “We’re hoping for fantastic attendance.”

For more information, call 941-639-8810 or go to


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