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Hyde Park Art Festival draws 150 vendors

Dean Mancini, 50, left, talks to painter Katie DeLaCruz, 33, about her artwork on display at the Hyde Park Village Art Festival on Saturday. Mancini drove down from Pasco County with his wife to check out the festival. “This is a nice show,” he said.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Dean Mancini, 50, left, talks to painter Katie DeLaCruz, 33, about her artwork on display at the Hyde Park Village Art Festival on Saturday. Mancini drove down from Pasco County with his wife to check out the festival. “This is a nice show,” he said.

TAMPA — A Mona Lisa and Pablo Picasso's Dora Maar hang side by side, clutching slim leather purses.

Miami artist Maria Ramirez uses the iconic images to display the original purses that line her booth.

She's one of 150 exhibitors drawing a crowd at the Hyde Park Village Art Festival, which concludes today. The juried show offers painting, sculpture, pottery, photography and other creations. Prices range from $15 to $20,000.

The open-air event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and stretches from W Bristol Avenue to W Swann Avenue, along W Snow Avenue and W Snow Circle.

Vendors offer frozen custard, grilled sausages and fresh-squeezed lemonade.

On Saturday, a thickening crowd strolled past copper sculptures and expensive portraits, wildlife photographs and mixed-media prints.

Tampa photographer Rick Howell's lens zeroed in on the side of a dilapidated shack, thick vines growing over its broken window. "It's going back into the earth," said Howell, 53.

"Domi," a Panama City artist with architectural training, paints houses that seem to twist and breathe, like Dr. Seuss drawings with class and subtlety.

For $2,100, Dominique Williams will paint your house from a photograph. She won't take money up front.

The show is the brainchild of South Florida impresario Howard Alan, who selects "unique, culture-rich cities" for his outdoor art fairs. There are no prizes, but artists submit their work in advance to earn a spot.

The economy has hurt artists, too. Glass blower Vasilie Loznianu dropped the price of a 30-pound gold vase from $1,600 to $800. The vase draws admirers, but no takers.

Another sign of the times: Potters have stopped making ash trays. Jennifer Beville, 40, said people sometimes use her soap dishes for ash trays, but she won't make them and doesn't know anybody who does.

"I don't think that's very politically correct anymore," she said.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at ameacham@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2431.

Hyde Park Art Festival draws 150 vendors 09/27/08 [Last modified: Saturday, September 27, 2008 9:10pm]
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