■ STAFF REPORT
Carroll Swayze’s 31st annual Studio Party & Art Lovers Appreciation Day is Saturday, December 15, from 2-10 p.m. at the Carroll Swayze Studio, 2373 Donovan Rd. in the north end of Englewood just off SR 776. You can’t miss it: Just turn at the lighted “bicycle tree.”
Each year Swayze opens her eclectic art gallery and property and invites everyone for a fun night of creativity, music and yummy treats for art lovers of all ages, in appreciation of the 40+ years of love that the Englewood/Boca Grande community has shown to her. Nestled among the tall pines, ancient live oaks and palmettos, Swayze’s studio and home are an interesting mix of art, color and old Florida charm. Carroll Swayze is a fixture in the local art scene, well known worldwide for her colorful acrylic paintings of fish and undersea life. Her gallery features both her paintings, her latest creations and the amazing hand-blown glass of Master Gaffer Rich Fizer, who will be exhibiting his latest glass manatees.
Guests are encouraged to wander through one of the best working art studios in Florida, get a glimpse of Swayze’s latest “secret project” and add to their art collections at Carroll’s “One & Only Art Sale of the Year.”
“We have lots of surprises for everyone this year,” stated Carroll. “I am working on my own version of ‘recycled art’ and will be introducing my crazy idea the night of the party. I’m a little nervous about it, because I am definitely working outside of my comfort zone, but I’m excited to see it displayed.”
New this year will be a visit from Mrs. Santa Claus for the kids around 3:30 p.m. She’ll be telling a story on the stage for the youngest art lovers around 4:30 p.m., so bring the family. The “Giant Holiday Tree” and “Glass Wall” have been redesigned and will be turned on around sunset to light up the studio.
The 6th annual Soup Competition is on again this year and open to anyone who has a creative flair in the kitchen. Participants are encouraged to create delicious recipes and bring a crock pot of their favorite soup to the party, where everyone will taste and vote on the coveted “Golden Spoon Awards” created in glass by Rich Fizer. All soups need to be delivered to the kitchen by 6 p.m., and tasting will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Last year’s soup contest had 17 delicious entries and was a very fun part of the night.
Starting at 7 p.m., there will be a glass-blowing extravaganza. Rich Fizer will be doing a live glass performance on site with his mobile glass studio every hour on the hour from 7 to 10 p.m. Plan on staying and being a part of this fantastic event.
Once again, a percentage of art sales at the party will be used to support a local cause. This year it will raisie money for our local “Fishing Families,” something that is near and dear to Carroll Swayze’s heart.
“As everyone knows, our beautiful Gulf of Mexico is in trouble right now,” said Swayze. “Everyone who lives and works here, including me, depends on a healthy Gulf for their livelihoods and lifestyles. Being passionate about fishing, diving and our undersea world AND being the mother of a local charter captain makes me especially sensitive to the plight of our fishermen and the hardships that they are all having to endure through this. My family is very involved in the fight for clean water and will continue to do so. But as an artist I wanted to do more, so I started my own personal fundraiser this fall and plan to continue it throughout the year. I am donating a percentage of my sales to our local fishing families, one by one, to help them survive this devastation.”
The annual Swayze Studio open house is Saturday, Dec.15 from 2 to 10 p.m. in Englewood, Florida at 2373 Donovan Road.
Bring your family and friends for a day of art, music, fun, food and holiday cheer. Everyone is welcome. Carpool or Uber if you can. For more information, please call Carroll Swayze at (941) 266-6434 or email her at SwayzeArt@msn.com.