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Arc Tampa Bay's art show features special artists


Dale Caldwell, 43, says his painting of a docile tiger and a mouse is a story of friendship.

"The mouse is telling the tiger, 'You're a good tiger,' and the tiger is telling the mouse, 'You're a good mouse,' " he explained.

It's a remarkable composition, with the two animals realistically portrayed with dramatic lighting and shadow.

So what is Caldwell's special technique?

"I paint with my pinky up," he said.

Now that Caldwell's secret is out, head to the eighth annual Special Art by Special Hands art show and sale where you can meet a friendly group of exceptional artists, sip some wine (pinkies up), and peruse an impressive collection of original art, all of which is for sale and reasonably priced.

The show and sale takes place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Syd Entel Galleries, 247 Main St. in Safety Harbor.

"Arrive on time," said gallery owner Susan Benjamin. "The artwork literally flies off the walls."

Special Art by Special Hands is presented by the Arc Tampa Bay Foundation which supports the Arc Tampa Bay, a local nonprofit serving nearly 300 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

About 45 of the Arc Tampa Bay participants come weekdays to Harborside Studios, a quaint turquoise cottage at 176 Fifth Ave. N in Safety Harbor, to work, socialize and express their artistic creativity under the guidance of instructors.

Jason Baker, 37, is proud of his piece titled Lionfish. It's his favorite kind of fish, he says, and he has painted it with vibrant colors, outlining the edges with puffy paint. His black apron is covered with the same hues.

He's proud of the feedback he gets.

"People tell me I am really good," he said.

Besides lionfish and tigers and berries (oh my!), the emphasis of this show will be Florida fauna and flora.

New this year are decorative chairs and wine glasses, hand-painted tea towels, large-scale paintings on plexiglass and wood, and marine maps with Florida wildlife. Jewelry and ceramics will also be sold.

Prices range from $10 to $400. The artists receive 50 percent of the sale price of their work. The other half is plowed back into the Harborside Studios day program.

In addition to this show and other special events, the artwork is sold year-round between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at Harborside Studios.

Kayley Simonsen, 25, was embellishing her wineglass with "dragonflies and rainbow gumdrops" as she talked about the upcoming show.

"It's a lot of fun for me and my family," she said.

And why's that?

"It's a real money-maker," she said.

Madison Orr Hauenstein, executive director of the Arc Tampa Bay Foundation, said the focus is on these artists' abilities rather than their disabilities.

"This isn't just great art made by a very special population, it simply great art," she said.

>>if you go

Special Art

by Special Hands

When: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Syd Entel Galleries, 247 Main St., Safety Harbor. Visitors may also tour Harborside Studios, 176 Fifth Ave. N, Safety Harbor, for more art and specialty items.

Admission: Free

Info: (727) 797-8712 or

Arc Tampa Bay's art show features special artists 08/11/16 [Last modified: Friday, August 12, 2016 1:43pm]
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