VENICE — An estimated 10,000 people walked along W. Venice Avenue this past Saturday and Sunday during the 18th Annual March Art Classic, according to Venice MainStreet, Inc.

People viewed and purchased paintings, jewelry, sculptures, photographs and other artwork.

“It was a beautiful weekend to be downtown,” with temperatures reaching the low 80s and bright sunshine both days, said Erin Silk, executive director of Venice MainStreet.

There were 223 artists who displayed their creations inside canvas tents set up on both sides of the street between Tamiami Trail and Harbor Drive.

Among them was artist Calvin Walton, of Stone Mountain, Ga, displayed his 3D sculptures of African wildlife.

“Man, Calvin, people really like the giraffe,” a man said he walked up to Walton. “They love it.”

Walton had sold the man a sculpture at a previous March Art Classic.

The artist and the customer chatted for a while as other people casually looked at Walton’s creations.

Among the other vendors was Frank Xavier Vitale, who moved to Lakewood Ranch two years ago after retiring as the president and CEO of the Maryland University of Integrative Health.

Before changing careers and becoming a college administrator, Vitale worked as a photojournalist and then as a world-traveling photographer for a travel magazine. He now has a one-man company, Xavier Photographic Art.

“I remembered how much I enjoyed traveling the world as a photographer,” Vitale said.

Now he and his wife, Clolita, a retired attorney, often travel, which they both enjoy. He takes pictures on those trips.

And then they travel to art shows, like the one in Venice, and sell his photographs.

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