Pensacola, Florida
Monday September 22nd 2014

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Beyond the Beach

Art and Wine Weekend Gives Pensacola Beach a New Meaning
By Jennie McKeon

Pensacola Beach has more to offer than just catching rays and waves. At the third annual Art and Wine Weekend—Saturday, Oct. 2 through Sunday, Oct. 3—you can enjoy the beach even when summer is over.

“We wanted to have a festival to showcase local artists,” said executive director of the Pensacola Beach Chamber, Maureen LaMar. “You will see photography, watercolors, jewelry, and more. The event is open to all artists.”

Pensacola Beach will be set up like an “artist’s village,” as LaMar described it. The Art Express Trolley is a free ride to and from the different venues. Riders can also purchase a wristband for the Wine and Song Trolley where you can sip featured wines and listen to a Pensacola Beach Songwriters’ Festival tunesmith.

The Art and Wine Weekend is a way for residents to enjoy their surroundings and see what local artists are up to.

“The event is to remind locals we’re here for them,” said general manager of Hemingway’s Island Grill, Nick Loizos. “Even when the summer is over, we still have a lot of great things to offer.”

Just like an indoor art gallery exhibition, you can sip wine and meet local artists—only you’re outside wearing flip flops, but that doesn’t take away from the cultured experience.
“Art and wine go together because you typically drink wine slowly so it can be enjoyed, just like art,” Loizos said.

The wine and art will vary from each location.

“We will feature half a dozen wines that we get from our distributors,” Loizos said. “At Hemingway’s, we will definitely feature our house wine, Trinchero. It’s a high-quality wine.”
For some of the artists, like D. J. Zemenick, the beach is the inspiration behind their work. Since 2005, Zemenick has been posting pictures of Pensacola Beach on her blog,
barrierislandgirl.blogspot.com.

“Before I moved here full-time, I knew what it was like to miss what’s going on,” Zemenick said. “So when I moved here, I started taking pictures of the beach and posting them on my blog to show everyone the changes on the island and to share my paradise. It’s my passion.”

Nature is not only her passion, but also in her job description. Zemenick is a wildlife observation patroller, working the late shift from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. It’s this kind of dedication that shows in her photographs, and people take notice. Her blog has recently reached 250,000 hits.

“You never know where life is going to end up,” Zemenick said. “You open a door and ask, ‘How did I get in this room?’”

Sonja Evans, owner of the Gumbo Gallery, will have a spot at the Art and Wine Weekend to showcase various artists from her gallery. Evans wanted to give this opportunity to her artists who didn’t have a place to show their artwork. Mediums brought from the Gumbo Gallery will include bowls, acrylics, jewelry, pottery and glass mosaics.

“Just like gumbo, we have a little bit of everything for everybody,” Evans said.

Evans has been an artist all of her life, but has been painting for the past six years. Evans’ work, which is inspired by God, literally sends messages to viewers.

“Each piece has an inspirational quote on it,” Evans said. “I want people to be inspired. Art should not only be admired, it should encourage people.”

With over 30 artists and 20 venues, the Art and Wine Weekend is working out to be a big festival for Pensacola Beach, but some say that locals still need to come and support the event.

“There aren’t enough people coming out,” said artist Dan Malinsky. “I hope more come out this year and acquire a finer appreciation for art.”

For Evans and Zemenick, the Art and Wine Weekend is about bringing together the art community of Pensacola.

“The Art and Wine Weekend is a great opportunity to bring artists together,” Evans said. “It also allows visitors of the beach to see what’s going on in downtown Pensacola.”
“It’s growing,” Zemenick said of the festival. “It’s a great way to show the fun side of us—that we’re not just beaches and business. People will be surprised to see the amount of artists we have in this area.”

The Art and Wine Weekend will not only have wine, but also a full range of artists who are serious about their work. It’s easy to see in some of the works of art, that this is a passion among local artists—not a hobby.

“Visual arts make the invisible visible,” Evans said. “It makes you aware of how others view the world. It’s multicultural. You can view the thoughts of everyone. Artists are the people who will change the world.”

info@inweekly.net

ART AND WINE WEEKEND
WHEN: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, and 12-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3
WHERE: Pensacola Beach
COST: Free
DETAILS: 932-1500, or pensacolabeachchamber.com