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NEW PORT RICHEY'S VISUAL EVENT // MARCH ON ART

Chasco Fiesta has ended and spring has finally arrived, so it must be time for the premier art show in Pasco County, March on Art.

The event takes place around Orange Lake in downtown New Port Richey from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Started as a promotion for downtown New Port Richey, the highly selective, juried show has evolved into the equivalent of a fine outdoor art gallery, as well as show and sale. It has become a destination for serious lovers of arts, crafts and photography from all over the area.

The works created by the 115 entrants chosen for the show this year range from $8 for small pieces or prints up to thousands of dollars for large, intricate or one-of-a-kind creations.

Entrants from across Florida and as far as Kealakekua, Hawaii, will vie for $15,550 in prize money, $9,550 of it in judge's awards, another $6,000 in purchase awards, where individuals and companies pledge to buy works by the entrants. This year, more than 40 purchase awards have been made, said Marilyn deChant, director of the New Port Richey Community Cooperative, the organizers of the show.

In addition to the art, there will be an interesting variety of food, including Greek fare, strawberry shortcake, cappuccino, blooming onions, fruit drinks, apple desserts and festival foods.

A Peruvian band will play native acoustic instruments, including wooden flutes, and there will be jazz over the public address system. Organizers promise it will be played softly.

"March on Art is a visual event," said Ms. deChant. "The music is there to enhance, not to distract."

Also for sale will be T-shirts and posters with the award-winning design by Safety Harbor artist Bill Renc. The design in purples and blues shows an evening scene with a house that has one lighted window. Above the house swims a school of large blue runner fish. Posters are $3, T-shirts $10.

The focus of the show, however, will be the art.

Mark Hinton will have acid-etched lamps that have been pressure blasted from recycled glass and embellished with beads, copper and mountain stone. Lucy Phelps will have Plexiglass and bronze sculpture. Herman Harris will show recycled metal cutouts, painted and dotted. Elaine O'Heil will have raku pottery; George Blackman will have raku ceramics.

Peter Chu will have marble and stone sculpture, and Mary Mundy will have handcrafted mixed metal accessories and jewelry.

The Pasco Fine Arts Council will have a booth with a schedule of classes, artistic gift items and examples of the works created at the art center on Moog Road, as well as samples of the kinds of art displayed there throughout the year.

And these are just a few of the artists among the painters, sculptors, photographers, fabric artists, potters, fine woodworkers and others who will have their work at March on Art.

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