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Art show gets new name, features
Art WEB 1
Charlotte Gardner shows art in cases at Sexton Hall. The Sawnee Artists Association will present March Art Madness, formerly known as Bellezza, March 15 and 16 at the Central Park Recreation Center. - photo by Autumn Vetter

If you’re going

• What: Sawnee Artists Association’s March Art Madness

• When: Noon to 6 p.m. March 15; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 16

• Where: Central Park Recreation Center, 2300 Keith Bridge Road

• Cost: Free admittance; artists charge various prices for their work

• For more information, visit

Leaders of a local nonprofit are hoping to drive the community mad for art.

The Sawnee Artists Association will present March Art Madness, a show and sale of members’ works, March 15 and 16 at the Central Park Recreation Center.

Now in its 12th year, March Art Madness, formerly known as Bellezza, seeks to draw attention to the local arts community while inspiring others, said past association vice president Mary Negron.

She added she hopes the name change will help in those endeavors.

“We thought it was a little more catchy and might get a lot more people in this year,” she said.

Besides the new name, Negron said this year’s event will also feature several other changes.

“Usually it’s just the show where you go and you look at all the talented local artists’ work,” she said. “But this year, we’re doing demonstrations … we have a glass kiln worker and we’ll have a couple of artists who will do some really fancy things to hopefully captivate them and get them in the art spirit.”

Painting demonstrations will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. March 15 and 10 a.m. to noon March 16, while the glasswork demonstration will be 1 to 4 p.m. March 16.

Another addition this year will be a raffle benefitting the Marcus E. & Sharon B. Gunter Foundation, which provides free monthly meals to the county’s hungry.

Raffle tickets will be $1 each or six for $5. Prizes will be several original pieces of art, such as glasswork, jewelry and paintings, all donated by association members.

“It’s tough enough to make a living as an artist, so for them to donate these pieces was very kind,” Negron said.

Charlotte Gardner, past president of the association, said the event has drawn more than 500 spectators, depending on “the location and the time.”

“We hope this will be a better time than we’ve had in the past,” she said. “We hope to have a big crowd.”

Gardner noted that presenting artists will have the chance to win prizes for their work, another feature that’s new this year.

“We’re giving ribbons for the first time,” she said. “We’ll be judging in four categories … we’ll give first, second and third in each category. We think that will be nice because people always like to get ribbons.”

There will also be a best in show award of $50, and artists will get to keep any profits they make from selling their work.

“We’re not charging any commission or any entrance fees for our artists, so if they do sell pieces they get to keep all the proceeds,” Gardner said. “That’s the first time we’ve done it like that.”

The work will be divided into the categories of paintings, photography, jewelry and 3-D, which Gardner said includes pieces such as sculpture, wood working and mixed media.

She added that attendees won’t be disappointed by the variety.

“We’ve got watercolor, pastel, oil, acrylic, mixed media, drawings and all of a sudden we’ve got some oddball things in there too, like somebody made a metal wreath and … somebody made something out of wax,” she said.

Negron said she hopes March Art Madness will be the beginning of a new era for the event.

“We’re hoping this starts off something new and in moving forward, it will grow, we hope,” she said. “We’re trying to get people exposed to art. Maybe if the kids come out and they see what everybody’s doing, maybe they’ll go down [that] path and we’ve done a little something.”