Island Art Days back for its 11th year on April 2 and 3

■ BY JULIE SALVETTI     meredith haws21

Another year, another amazing art event for Boca Grande! Island Art Days is a lovely little art show on our beautiful little island. This is the 11th year for this happening, and we are pleased to have such a diverse group of accomplished artists joining us this year.

This artistic venture sprouted from a casual conversation between Julie Salvetti, pearl jewelry artist, and Robin Melvin, owner of Gasparilla Outfitters and Special Effects. Robin is an avid supporter of the arts, and many of our attending artists’ works are carried in her store. It was her vision to bring quality artists with fascinating bodies of work to an outdoor art event. Meredith Haws Balasco is our featured artist for 2016. Meredith is a jewelry designer and has been designing jewelry for over a decade. Her jewelry designs often include rare treasures found in an exotic locale, such as ancient Greek and Roman coins, Byzantine bronze crosses and French medallions.

Accomplished artist Marcus C. Thomas will be joining us this year. Marcus discovered the joy of painting after surviving a snow-skiing accident that rendered him paralyzed from the shoulders down. Through art, Marcus found new and beautiful expression for his love of nature and avid imagination.

We are also very pleased to have bronze sculptor Ben Foster joining us. Ben began by creating desktop sculptures of wildlife, marine and fly fishing themes and shortly thereafter progressed to monumental sculpture designs. Ben has an intense passion to meet his customers’ needs and dreams. He has designed monumental sculptures and special bronze pieces for collectors, developments, corporations, universities, schools, municipalities, war memorial parks and heads of state all across our great nation, as well as internationally.