What’s the difference between Art Night on the Bayfront and Gallery Night?
“It’s calm,” said David Hambrick, owner of Jaco’s, who came up with the idea for the event. “It’s a baby Gallery Night if you will.”
Artists hand-picked by Pensacola Museum of Art are given the perfect opportunity to showcase their art every last Wednesday of the month. The first Art Night was Wednesday, May 25 and artists were very happy with the response.
“There were more people than I expected, and it was more fun than I expected,” said Kevin Marchetti of the first Art Night. “I made contacts and even sold three pieces.”
Marchetti, who goes by Renaissance Man, has been an artist his entire life.
“My mom said I’ve been drawing since I was a baby,” Marchetti said.
But Marchetti’s medium today is metal. Once he learned how to weld he began making jewelry, which led to bigger pieces such as sculptural works, hand rails and furniture, or “house jewelry” as he calls it.
At the upcoming Art Night on June 29 starting a 4 p.m., a wide variety of artists will be in attendance.
“We have every classification,” said Hambrick. “Half of the artists work on their art at the event. Some are painting and some are making jewelry. We also have potters and glass blowers.”
Not only does Art Night bring people downtown on an otherwise uneventful Wednesday night, but it also provides artists with exposure without high registration fees.
“There are hundreds of excellent local artists in our area that need exposure,” said Sidney Copson in an e-mail interview. “Prices are reasonable, and purchasing from local artists helps the artists and Pensacola’s economy. There are so many wonderful things to do and see downtown. This helps our local economy and provides entertainment for residents and tourists.”
Copson makes her living as a graphic artist but engages in her art, which consists of acrylic paints, pastels and charcoal, during the evenings and weekends. Copson also teaches mixed media throughout Pensacola, where she finds inspiration.
“I learn from those who view my art and from my students,” Copson said. “Art is found in the most unexpected places, for instance, the wonderful graffiti on the 17th Street bridge. I try to draw the viewer in to “experience” my art. I like to convey a place or sensation, but the viewer may experience something completely different.”
One medium you don’t see enough of is photography. While there are only two photographers out of the 40 artists featured at Art Night on the Bayfront, there is enough experience and range between the two that helps fill that void.
Jim Sweida, who considers himself not an artist, but a photographer, has always taken pictures as a hobby. Sweida even made greeting cards for friends and family. While living in picturesque places such as Arizona, California and now Pensacola, Sweida has always been attracted to landscape photography.
“I like to see the outdoors,” Sweida said. “I know what I like, and I try to capture that and bring in an art element.”
For Sweida, that art element is watercolor paper. When Sweida prints his photos on the watercolor paper, the colors become more subtle, create texture and give the illusion that the photograph is a painting.
Sweida, who has been affiliated with Blue Morning Gallery for the past three years, hopes that his photographs will remind tourists and locals of any special memories they might have about Pensacola.
“I like to give tourists something to take back from Pensacola,” Sweida said. “Whether it’s a beach landscape or a local scene they’ve experienced, I want them to take a piece of Pensacola home.”
For an outdoors type like Sweida, this event is perfect. He can enjoy art in a landscape reminiscent of his photos.
“I love the outside shows, and it’s a beautiful location,” Sweida said.
While Trista Blouin’s portfolio mainly consists of portraits, she too appreciates the scenery.
“The Palafox Pier has always been my favorite spot in Pensacola,” Blouin said in an e-mail interview. “Having an evening surrounded by such a positive spirit while the sun sets on the marina is bliss. Plus, the delicious Jaco’s samples are the cherry on the sundae.”
Portrait photography runs in Blouin’s family—her grandfather owned a portrait studio. She has been studying photography for over 15 years, and she started her business in 2003. Since she began taking pictures Blouin has learned photography is not as easy as it may seem.
“People see a beautiful photograph of a sunset and think ‘How difficult can that be? I’ve got a camera’,” Blouin said. “Photographic art, if done well, looks deceptively simple and therefore can be relegated to less than an art form. Combining the craft of good photographic skills with an artful eye is way more difficult than it appears.”
Blouin finds beauty in unique features and photographs her subjects in a comfortable setting.
“Understanding skill only makes you a craftsman,” Blouin said. “I believe there is substance in even the seemingly most mundane things–a crooked smile, a weathered hand, the curve of a woman’s waist. I have a way to get my subjects to feel safe with me, and then I am able to artfully and skillfully use my lens to capture what emerges.”
Whether you’re taking in a painting or a portrait, a metal sculpture or pottery, you’re supporting the large amount of local, artistic talent in Pensacola. And even though art is the main event, there will also be food, drinks, massage chairs, live music and, of course, the colorful sunset above the Palafox Pier.
“I work on the committee for the Pensacola Museum of Art’s Culture Club each month, and I have watched the energy that has been infused into attendees when they experience what amazing talent we have locally,” Blouin said. “Art Night on the Bayfront allows Pensacola residents to enjoy a wide range of local art in one evening and keep their dollars local. The monthly event will continue the development of a strong pride in our local talent.”
ART NIGHT ON THE BAYFRONT
WHEN: 4 p.m. until sunset Wednesday, June 29 (the last Wednesday of each month)
WHERE: Palafox Pier