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Fine art, music, food are a stroll away from Clearwater Jazz Holiday


Cleveland Street will become a colorful collage of art, music, food and entertainment as the second annual Clearwater Jazz 'N Art Walk struts into town.

The happening is held along with the four-day Clearwater Jazz Holiday at nearby Coachman Park.

"The event has doubled in size and now fills the 500 and 600 blocks of Cleveland Street," said Gary Hallas, consultant for Clearwater Jazz Holiday.

"We have a stellar lineup of musical entertainment and, for the first time, we're partnering with the Dunedin Fine Art Center to provide art activities for children."

The free art stroll takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Featured are the fine-art works of 40 artists, selected by a jury, who will be competing for a $5,000 purse.

One of the local artists showing and selling work is Michelle Mardis, who opened a gallery in Tarpon Springs a year ago.

"I'll be bringing my cats and dogs," she said, referring to popular line of intensely vibrant portraits of mankind's best friends. Look for lavender Weimaraners, electric blue bulldogs and tangerine cats.

"I like my subject matter to have unexpected colors," she said.

For this show, Mardis has created a new series of jazz artists, like portraits of legendary trumpet player Miles Davis and the father of Chicago blues, Muddy Waters.

Another bay area favorite is designer-turned-digital artist Michael Braun of Tampa.

While he is no musician or songster — "My relatives cringe when I sing," he says — he has some melodious roots that tie in nicely to the jazz-themed weekend.

For 33 years, he was a clothier for some hefty names in the rock 'n' roll industry like Jimi Hendrix, Sonny and Cher, Sly and the Family Stone and Aerosmith.

He has also designed wrestler costumes for burly boys like Hulk Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage.

These days, the 66-year-old is still stitching together eye-catching colors and textures — on a computer. Using software, he paints abstract designs that often resemble silky fabrics in vibrant hues.

"It's really the same thing," Braun said. "Whether it's painting for the stage or on a wall, it's about making things for people to see and enjoy."

The Dunedin Fine Art Center will help kids find their inner artist under a tent in the "Kids Educational Zone" at Station Square Park.

Musical artists slated to perform Saturday include the Hy Notes, the Alan Darcy Experience and Level 10.

Sunday's lineup includes the Ruth Eckerd Hall Jazz Lab Band, the Bus Stop Band and a 12-year-old from Clearwater.

Known as "Suite Caroline," Caroline Kudelko sings and plays guitar. She has recorded her country pop sounds in Nashville and performed locally and as far away as Los Angeles.

"She writes her own music," said her proud mom, Marie Kudelko.

In addition to working on her budding career, Caroline is a seventh-grader at St. Paul's School in Clearwater.

Hallas, the consultant for the jazz fest, said the art walk offers something for everyone.

"It'll be a great hangout on the absolutely beautiful, redesigned Cleveland Street."

Have a Diversions idea? Reach Terri Reeves at

if you go

Clearwater Jazz

'N Art Walk

What: The second annual stroll with art, music, food and children's activities.

Where: In the 500 and 600 blocks of Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For information: Call (727) 461-5200 or visit

Fine art, music, food are a stroll away from Clearwater Jazz Holiday 10/15/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 15, 2009 6:04pm]
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