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Palm Harbor art festival beckons this weekend

PALM HARBOR

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Rocky Bridges was named after a baseball player and now, at 44, he is in a league of his own.

But it has nothing to do with baseball.

The Tarpon Springs homeboy is a renowned artist and art educator, recognized for his assemblages of found objects that are scarred and scratched, usually made of metal and treasured by Bridges for their character, dents and rust.

This weekend, he is the featured artist of the 35th annual Palm Harbor Fine Arts and Crafts Festival, sponsored by the Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

"I will be bringing new pieces made with subway signs, metal from a trip to Japan and items from a trip to China," he said.

Bridges and about 100 other artists from as far away as Canada will be showing their art in the juried show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in historic downtown Palm Harbor. Admission is free.

The Dunedin Fine Art Center will have an area where youngsters can create "pet rocks." Greek, gourmet and American fare will be available.

Sunday is pet day in cooperation with the Humane Society of Pinellas. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., pets in search of a home for the holidays will be up for adoption. There will be photos with Santa, pet vendors and a "paw print" art opportunity for your dog. A holiday pet parade will offer a prize for the best costume.

• • •

Bridges began his art career four years after the 1974 debut of the show, at the age of 14, when he exhibited some pen and ink drawings.

But it was his use of items rescued from scrap yards and roadsides, in what he terms an "urban archaeological dig," that made him a standout.

"People like to throw things away because they are old, broken or don't work anymore," he said, "and that is how we often treat old people. By giving these items new life, I am celebrating their aesthetic beauty, just like I appreciate the beauty and wisdom of older people."

Bridges' unique and provocative art has snagged numerous Best of Show awards at many exhibitions in Florida. He also has showed work at galleries in New York City, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.

There will be a special drawing for one of Bridges' paintings called Tribute Two, created for the anniversary event.

Proceeds from the drawing will benefit FEAST, a local food pantry.

• • •

The festival was founded in 1974 by Bill and Louise Hoskins to showcase their new art and antiques gallery. They invited artists, musicians and others to attend, and the community tradition was born.

A portion of the festival's proceeds benefits the Bill and Louise Hoskins Visual Art Scholarship, awarded to a local student.

And this weekend, chamber president Connie Davis asks festivalgoers to bring nonperishable food items and new toys for FEAST.

"We're promising Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce weather," she said.

. If you go

Abundant art

What: 35th annual Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce Fine Arts and Crafts Festival

Where: On and around Florida Avenue in historic downtown Palm Harbor

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Admission: Free

For information:

palmharborcc.org or (727) 784-4287

Palm Harbor art festival beckons this weekend 12/03/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 3, 2009 5:16pm]
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