Stillpoint Studio students showcased their art at a show recently. The studio could easily be considered a Venice summer art commune. Students of different ages work together learning from each other. Seasoned artists are often experts on proven techniques, while young artists have imaginations that soar.

One of the neat things about Stillpoint Studio is Sister Maureen Michael Byrne whose laid back easy style creates a place where artists can explore. She knows her artists and says things like, “He’s not a talker. When he comes he just wants to paint.” One of Sister’s great joys is seeing her high school artists and volunteers move on to the Ringling School of Art, like Paige Dooley and Devyn Wensley.

Often wannabe artists show up at the studio to learn and do some work with clay. Molly Bartlett is a helper with that work. One of the popular projects at the studio is creating Bowls of Hope for the Food Pantry fundraiser. Artists can create the bowls or just paint. The magic comes from seeing the bowls after they are fired.

Stillpoint Studio is open year round and welcomes everyone who would like to put rainbows in their lives. Visit or call 941-416-3446.

Beat the Heat

The Historic Train Depot offers escorted Saturday morning tours from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Call 941-412-0151 or visit

Save the date

Fashion Show season is around the corner. Mark Oct. 23 for the Just B Cause Fashion show to benefit Dollars for Mammograms. It’s at the Plantation Golf and Country Club. Tickets are available starting Sept. 9., at Sandy’s Designer Clothing on Venice Avenue

One of our best

The special person of this week is Molly Bartlett. Her titles include artist, potter and Master Gardener. Molly is a regular at Stillpoint Studio working with the students who range from elementary school age to senior citizens. She especially likes making bowls for the Sarasota County Bowls of Hope project.

She volunteers at the Venice Art Center. Molly is one of the Sarasota County Master Gardners providing classes, teaching among other things how to grow food. She is often called on to do demonstrations and speak at various organizations.

Molly’s other titles include wife, mother and grandmother. She is a kind, genuine person who has the gentle spirit of an artist. Molly Bartlett is one of the women who make Venice a great place to live.

Fran Valencic is the social columnist for the Venice Gondolier Sun. She welcomes your tips and ideas. Contact her at


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