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Suncoast Arts Fest Features Live Chalk Art

More than 100 fine artists and craftsmen will gather for the Suncoast Arts Fest at The Shops at Wiregrass on January 23 and 24. Awarded as the 2009 Special Event of the Year by the Pasco County Tourism Development Council, the Suncoast Arts Fest is presented by Hyundai and Mazda of Wesley Chapel.

While the event has been held since 2005 with increased growth year after year, this is the first time the fest will be held in January as opposed to May. The date change was made to accommodate the artists and in an effort to not conflict with dates for other art shows.

Also new this year will be live chalk art from four, local artists: Carol Donoghue, Stig Lindow, Laurie Pinna and Javiar Sanchez. Their live chalk art demonstrations will be conducted in the area in front of Macy's.

"The process of chalk art is the most important part, and the guests being able to see that process being performed is the best part of all," says Pinna. "The guests will linger longer for the event. They'll want to come back and see your progress, talk to you about what's important in chalk art. They usually don't get to see how we sometimes make mistakes and how we make changes."

WMNF Community Public Radio (88.5 FM) will provide a live broadcast throughout the weekend, along with live performances and ska, blues, jazz, rock, reggae and polka music.

"More than 70,000 people attended the Suncoast Arts Fest last year and we expect even more this year because it won't be as hot in January," says Laura Knox, the Fest's publicity and entertainment director.

In addition to the festivities at Wiregrass, other countywide venues will also host art events to continue the celebration of art and culture throughout the weekend. Participating art organizations include: Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art (Tarpon Springs), Pasco Arts Council, PHCC Alric Pottberg Gallery (Port Richey), Pioneer Florida Museum, Progress Energy Art Gallery (New Port Richey) and West Pasco Arts Guild.

Proceeds from the Art Fest will benefit Art for Kids in Pasco County and supplement funding for arts education in schools.

Writer: Nancy Vaughn
Source: Laura Knox, Laurie Pinna
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