It was almost like a scavenger hunt. But instead of looking for landmarks or hidden treasures, you were on the hunt for artists.
On February 16th, 20 different artists could be found scattered all over Marco Island and Goodland painting various scenes “en plein air,” or in the open air. The artists were participating in the Chamber of Commerce’s annual fundraising event, Wet Paint LIVE. The paintings created that day were auctioned later in the evening in order to raise money for the Leadership Marco Scholarship Fund.
The participants started at around nine in the morning, setting up shop at whatever predetermined location they had choose. They had only about six hours to complete their paintings so that they would be ready for the reception and live auction that took place at 5:30 PM. That’s what makes this event so unique. As the name suggests, when the paintings areauctioned many of them are still wet having just been painted earlier that day. In just a few short hours these artists start and complete a painting, frame it, and send it on its way. An impressive feat and a true mark of the their artistic talent, as well as their experience.
Unlike a scavenger hunt, finding the artists hidden in the nooks and crannies of Marco Island is only half the fun. Once you find them you’re able to watch them work through their process. You see how the painting started, and then later that day you see where it wound up. It’s an experience that non-artists don’t often get to see.
The event is in its 9th year and many of the participants have been involved since the very beginning. For instance, artist Judy Harthorn has been painting the fountains in the Esplanade every year for the past nineyears. It’s sort of her thing. Phyllis Pranksy has also been involved with Wet Paint LIVE for a number of years. This year she took a different route with her painting. Instead of a nature scene she decided to paint island favorite, Su’s Garden because of the bright colors and general familiarity with the restaurant. Participant Kim Belange also decided to take her painting in a different direction. She could be found painting in the cool shade that covers restaurant Petit Soleil. Her piece had a strong focus on the colorful canopies and umbrellas that shelter the French eatery.
Leadership Marco will distribute the scholarships come mid-spring.
The artists who participated: Inez Hudson, J.J. Stinchcomb, Kim Belange, Betty Newman, Donald Sunshine, Judy Chinski, Karen Swanker, Victor-Hugo Vaca Jr., Phyllis Pranksy, Judy Harthorn, JoAnn Sanborn, Tara O’Neill, Malenda Trick, Robert Amirault, William Ward Moseley, Popo Flanigan, Sara Jane Foltz, Nancy Norman, Gail Trent Risner and Mary Moran.