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Picture this: a group committed to artists

Some art connoisseurs may do a double-take if you include the phrase "fine art" and the word "professional" in the same sentence. But that's what the Professional Association of Visual Artists is all about: helping artists make a living.

This 12-year-old, 33-member group promotes the interests of local artists of all crafts by maintaining a Web site of members' art and resumes, sharing news of opportunities in the Tampa arts community and maintaining a members' slide registry, among other things.

They also hold two art shows per year, for members: the Cool Art show in the summer and the yearly juried show, showing at the University of South Florida this weekend.

An annual $25 membership fee covers all costs.

"We operate out of our own pockets," says association administrator and artist Nell Liquorman.

Liquorman says the association's shows exist in opposition to bigger shows that Liquorman and some association members feel, " don't always do what's best for the artist. You send in your $25 entry fee to get in the show and then you don't get in, and they still keep your $25."

For information and a membership application, check out http://pava-artists.org/frames.html.

_ MICHAEL PATRICK WELCH

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