ArtsHOP draws crowds

A crowd gathered in front of the Island Guild Gallery, where a crowd also was inside looking at and purchasing art at artsHOP. – Tom Vaught | Sun

HOLMES BEACH – The final night of artsHOP was a huge success, as participating stores, art galleries and cash registers were busy.

At Waterline Marina Resort and Beach Club, Joanne Coke was painting colorful flowers and Kelly Hunt was working on painting with a fish.

“I’m an Island native, and I grew up here and went to Anna Maria Elementary School,” Hunt said. “I love art, and this is my way of giving back to the Island.”

Visitors enjoyed the snacks there including prosciutto, cheeses, salsa, chips and crackers.

Across the street, in the Holmes Beach Shopping Center, it looked like the annual Christmas walk with people going in and out of the shops that were open.

Restless Natives owner Adina Digus and her mother, Lida, were amazed at the heavy traffic of lookers and buyers.

To the rear of the room, at How Lucky AMI, Samantha Heil was at the cash register.

“I’ve seen many people I’ve never seen before,” she said. “The (artsHOP) organizers did a great job.”

The Artists’ Guild Gallery was filled to the brim with shoppers, and the clerk acknowledged there were many first-time visitors, and they were spending money.

Outside, Larry Wilhelm sang pirate tunes as many of the husbands milled around while their wives shopped.

At Island Gallery West, Artist of the Month Charlotte Sorsen held her reception as the crowd walked around inside. Outside, Chip Ragsdale entertained on the guitar singing oldies.