The Visual Arts Center, in conjunction with Fishermen’s Village, will stage its third annual Arts in August festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 24.

The bi-annual event — another is held in April — invites local artists who work in a myriad of mediums to exhibit their compositions and offer them for sale. The event is open to the public. Admission and parking are free.

Between 20 and 30 exhibitors in fine art and fine craft are expected to be on hand, offering everything from “paintings to 3D, outdoor sculptures, pottery, jewelry, wooden signs,” said Stacy Calvino, business development director for the Visual Arts Center. “There’s a lot of different stuff, a lot of affordable artwork.”

Arts in August is “simply an opportunity for local artists to sell their work at Fishermen’s Village,” said Janet Watermeier, the VAC’s executive director. “It creates an opportunity for us to collaborate and get people out to Fishermen’s Village in August” — traditionally a quiet month for the restaurants and shops that populate the Punta Gorda venue.

“It creates activity in one of those doldrum weeks,” Watermeier said.

“We are delighted to once again be partnering with the talented artists of the Visual Arts Center to feature Arts in August,” said Kathy Burnam, marketing and events manager for Fishermen’s Village. “Visitors will be amazed at the variety of art to be featured all in one location as they browse the promenade.”

Calvino called Fishermen’s Village a “destination in our town. The foot traffic they have is an advantage for our artists.”

Not every artist who exhibits at Arts in August will be a member of the Visual Arts Center. So, the event serves as kind of a recruiting tool for the nonprofit.

“We have about a 50-50 split between artists who are members and those who are not members,” Calvino said. “It’s great outreach for us, because a vendor who comes to sell that weekend who isn’t a member gets to know us. And then they become a member.”

Founded in 1961, the Visual Arts Center offers local artists chances to exhibit their work on site at the center on Maud Street as well as off site. It also offers a range of classes in drawing and painting, jewelry and glass, photography and pottery.

In its short history, Arts in August has featured some distinctive artwork. Birds fashioned from PVC piping was one example of the unusual offerings.

“Last year, I thought the mermaids were unique,” Watermeier said. “Mermaids cut from wood were made to go on the wall. They had hair and hats, and it was just really clever.”

“We have one lady who comes every time, and she brings big abstract paintings,” Calvino chimed in. “She probably has the largest paintings that will be offered.”

The bottom line, Watermeier said, is “it’s fun. It’s a chance for artists to showcase their work at a venue that attracts hundreds even when it’s summer and the snowbirds have gone north.”


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