To no one's surprise, this year's Pasco Arts Council show has fewer entries than previous years.
"With the economy down, we expected this," said Ann Larsen, executive director, a reference to the show's entry fees.
But that's not at all bad news, she quickly added.
"The advantage: We don't have to crowd as much. It's a more open show and very attractive."
In the past, the open show has attracted as many as 100 entries. This year's show has 56 pieces by 56 people.
The show officially opens at 10 a.m. Saturday with a reception and continues through Dec. 10. Winners chosen by show judge Lynn Whitelaw, director of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, will be announced at 11 a.m. The coffee and juice bar will be open, and sweet treats will be served until the opening event ends at 1 p.m.
"The entries run the gamut, from concept abstract to realistic," Ms. Larsen said. More than half are paintings — watercolors, oils, acrylics — with the rest mixed media and fine craft, such as clay and fiber.
The entries came from Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties.
One of the most interesting is a small art quilt suitable as a wall hanging by Gayla Vorhies of Holiday.
Named Piper in the Garden, "it's free-form, painterly," Ms. Larsen said. The most striking image is a painting of a dog appliqued onto the quilt.
"It's a beautiful art quilt; we wouldn't allow a pattern or a kit," Ms. Larsen said.
Another interesting piece is by septuagenarian Otok Ben-Hvar, who was in the news recently for occupying a telephone booth for 30 days in downtown New Port Richey as he chased his third world record for the Guinness World Records. (He garnered two others for longest lawn mower drive and most unusual nuptials after getting married in an ambulance.)
His DNA Self Portrait in the upcoming show came out of his experience of being in that phone booth.
"He plucked the whiskers out of his beard and put them back in this conceptual piece," Ms. Larsen said. (It's under glass, so they wouldn't fall into the Cheerios if hung above the breakfast table.)
"It needs to be seen to be believed," she said. Just like Ben-Hvar himself.
Times staff writer Camille C. Spencer contributed to this report.