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PREVIEW

OCALA’S GUIDE TO ENTERTAINMENT, NIGHTLIFE & FAMILY FUN

SEP 2021

the arts issue

I N T R O D U C I N G A RT I STS O F T H E O C A L A A RTS F E ST I VA L


Considering Ocala? JUST LISTED

JUST LISTED

Leeward Air Ranch Estate - 2.62 +/- Acres

207 Acres - Nature Lover’s Dream

Timeless architecture and a pilots’ dream define this 4-bedroom, 5.5-bath home with direct access to 6200'x165' grass runway. Three-car detached garage and a private 60x78 aircraft hangar in this 500-acre private sport aviation community. $2,995,000

Private, secluded and architecturally designed custom home. 5-stall barn with attached workshop/storage. Adjoins Chernobyl Memorial Forest with access to Ocklawaha Prairie Area and Ocala National Forest for hiking, biking, hunting, fishing and trail riding. $2,497,500

Perfect Property for Horse Lovers

Lake Andrew - Grand Estate

Exquisite 10-acre equestrian estate is located next to the Cross Florida Greenways and Trails and the Florida Horse Park. Just 16 miles from WEC with 3.5 miles of private trails in Equine Estates. 4-stall barn with room for 10. Lush green paddocks and grandaddy oaks. 1,800,000

Gated winding driveway leads you to this 7,000 SF waterfront home on 21 +/- acres offering incredible views of the lake. 5-bedroom and 6 full and a half baths. 3-stall stable, full-size dressage arena and covered equipment building. Just minutes to The Villages $1,999,000

Let Joan Pletcher, Realtor, list and/or sell your property.

Sold in 2021 - $87,158,800 Pending Sales - $23,548,198 For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and more choices. Call or Text: 352.266.9100 | 352.804.8989 | joan@joanpletcher.com | joanpletcher.com Due to the privacy and at the discretion of my clients, there are additional training centers, estates and land available that are not advertised.


Let Me Show You Ocala!

Cedar Creek Estate

Lake Weir - Bring the Horses!

Pristine and stately estate on 10+ acres with 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. Formal living and dining room, extra-large chef ’s kitchen, owner’s suite with dressing room, walk-in closet and access to lanai. 4-car garage plus whole-house generator. $1,297,500

Best of both settings—beautiful lakefront views in the front and horses in the back. Home includes 2 bedrooms plus bonus room of your choice. Partially fenced with lush green grass and zoned for horses. 13.19 +/- acres! $2,300,000

Country Club of Ocala

10+ Acres - Gentlemen’s Farm

Unique 5-bedroom, 6.5-bath home encompassing more than 10,000 SF of living area overlooking the golf course. 3,096 SF guest/pool home perfect for entertaining. Sports court, putting green, 3-bay garage, generator and pool. $3,995,000

This 5-bedroom, 3-bath home is located just minutes to premier shopping, dining, hospitals and a short distance to World Equestrian Center. Lit arena, 4-stall barn, 4 paddocks plus 3-car covered open carport. $795,000

If you’re considering buying or selling, give us a call today! List your property with Joan Pletcher... Our results speak for themselves.

For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and more choices. Call or Text: 352.266.9100 | 352.804.8989 | joan@joanpletcher.com | joanpletcher.com Due to the privacy and at the discretion of my clients, there are additional training centers, estates and land available that are not advertised.


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CONTENTS // SEP 2021 6 // TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN THE 352 A handy guide to get you going and keep you busy this month.

Hawks Bill Turtle image and photo by Stacy Tabb of Rock & Paper; Metallica photo courtesy of metallica.com; Lover’s Key State Park photo courtesy of Florida State Parks; Up Cake art and image by Megan Hamer of Be Still Bakery

WATCH 8 // A CO MMUN IT Y CO N C EPT

Ocala—The Art of Community comes to life through a partnership between MCA and the CEP.

10 // OUT DO O R E XP O DELIG H TS

Outdoor enthusiasts gathered at the World Equestrian Center to explore what Marion County has to offer.

12 // CO N C ERT S P OT LIG H T

Last-minute tickets and local shows you won’t want to miss.

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EXPLORE 14 // O CA L A CO MIC CO N RET URN S Comic book and anime lovers won’t want to miss the return of Ocala Comic Con this month.

16 // A RT O N E XH IBIT

Check out a handful of the visual art exhibits that will be on display during the upcoming fall months.

18 // DISCOVER LOVERS K E Y

The new, state-of-the art Welcome and Discovery Center will allow visitors to see one of Florida’s most popular state parks in a whole new way.

20 // O N STAG E

Local performing arts venues are gearing up for a new season.

CRAVE

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FEATURE 22 // A RT O N DIS P L AY

Get to know some of the artists behind FAFO’s Ocala Arts Festival.

28 // EDIBLE A RT

Not all artists use paint brushes and pencils. Some artists’ tools of choice are spatulas and piping bags.

3 0 // PASTA P ERFECT IO N

Elena Alfano, a first-generation Italian American on her mom’s side, says homemade pasta is a staple at family celebrations. And she wants to share those traditions with you and yours through Pasta By Pollio.

ON THE COVER: "You Are What You Eat #22 (Rooster with Apples)," image and photo by Stacy Tabb of Rock & Paper, rockandpaper.co


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THINGS TO DO IN THE 352 :

* TOP

A HANDY GUIDE TO GET YOU GOING AND KEEP YOU BUSY THIS MONTH.

FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK // SEPTEMBER 3

OCALA SHRINE RODEO // SEPTEMBER 3-4

The Ocala Shrine Rodeo is back for its 39th year at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion at 7:30pm both Friday and Saturday evenings. Bring the whole family and watch as a stampede of horsepower performs and entertains you. Purchase your tickets in advance online. Regular price at the gate is $25 for adults and $10 for kids ages 6-11. Kids 5 and under are free. There are a limited number of reserved box seats available to purchase online for $35. For information on reserved box seats, call (352) 402-8808. Gates open at 5:30pm. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit ocalashrinerodeo.com.

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MARLEY MAE’S FALL MARKET // SEPTEMBER 18

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Marley Mae Market & Paperie is hosting its Fall Market at Licciardello Farms, located at 1800 SE 160th Street in Summerfield. The market will feature more than 65 amazing vendors both indoors and outdoors, offering everything from candles, handmade signs and boutique clothing to pet accessories, plants and furniture—plus so much more. The event will run 10am-4pm. When shopping gets the best of you, head over to the food trucks to grab a bite to eat. For more information about the market call (352) 438-0088 or find the event page on Facebook..

AFTER DARK IN THE PARK MOVIE // SEPTEMBER 10 The City of Ocala’s Ocala Recreation and Parks Department is excited to bring back the popular After Dark In The Park movie series. This month’s movie will be the ‘80s classic The Karate Kid, from 8-10pm at Jervey Gantt Recreation Complex, located at 2200 SE 36th Avenue. Bring a chair or blanket to enjoy this free movie under the stars. Concessions will be available for purchase. For more information, visit ocalafl.org/recpark.

Ocala Shrine Rodeo by Mike Rastelli

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The First Friday Art Walk kicks off a new season this month in downtown Ocala from 6-9pm. The First Friday Art Walk occurs on the first Friday of each month, September through May. September’s event will include hands-on art activities and demonstrations provided by local non-profit arts and cultural organizations, local artists selling their works throughout downtown and extended hours at participating downtown businesses. Live entertainment, including musicians stationed throughout the downtown area and music on the downtown square, will be a highlight of the event. In the event of inclement weather, the First Friday Art Walk will move to the Ocala Downtown Market, located at 310 SE Third Street. For more information, contact the City of Ocala Cultural Arts Department at (352) 629-8447 or artinfo@ocalafl.org or visit ocalafl.org/artwalk.


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SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE MUSEUM DAY @ THE APPLETON // SEPTEMBER 18

HABITAT BOWL-2-BUILD BOWL-A-THON // SEPTEMBER 23

Smithsonian Magazine is pleased to announce the return of its annual Museum Day. Museum Day is a celebration of boundless curiosity hosted by Smithsonian Magazine. Participating museums and cultural institutions across the country provide free entry to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket. As a participating museum, you can visit Ocala’s Appleton Museum of Art by registering for your free ticket. Participants are allowed to download one ticket per email address. The ticket provides free general admission, on this one day, for two people. Ticket link is available at smithsonianmag.com/museumday/museum-day-2021. If you have questions, call the Appleton at (352) 291-4455.

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Habitat for Humanity of Marion County is excited to announce its 11th Annual Bowl-2-Build Bowl-a-Thon. The event raises money to help Habitat for Humanity build new homes for families in need and features an afternoon of family fun with raffles, a silent auction and a chance to win great medals for the top bowlers. Teams of up to six people can register for the event. The $25-per-bowler registration fee includes two games of bowling, shoes and an event T-shirt. Check in is from 4:30-5:15pm, and the event runs from 5:30-8pm at AMF Galaxy West Lanes, located at 1818 SW 17th Street in Ocala. Learn more and register at habitatocala.org/bowlathon.

DANCE ALIVE NATIONAL BALLET’S MEET THE DANCERS // SEPTEMBER 24 Dance Alive is hosting its first evening of entertainment for the 2021-2022 season at the Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club from 6-8pm. This family-friendly event will offer a front row private performance by the dancers of the company. Food and drinks will be available, and guests can bid on exclusive adventures in the silent auction. Tickets are $50 per person. Learn more about Dance Alive at dancealive.org, and purchase tickets at https://bit.ly/2VLrIrp.

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The Humane Society of Marion County’s Fifth Annual Art For Animals event will take place from 3-8pm at the Ocala Downtown Market pavilion, located at 310 SE 3rd Street. The event will feature arts and crafts for the whole family, portraits, dog yoga, live music, food and more. After the event you can continue the creativity at Fist City Tattoo, located at 1905 SW College Road, on September 25 from 12-9pm, when you can get a tattoo and help a homeless animal—100 percent of the shop’s proceeds benefit the animals at HSMC. Visit with HSMC’s Dog of the Month, and enter to win a free tattoo and other great prizes all day. Find out more information on the event’s Facebook page.

9/11 MEMORIAL EVENTS // SEPTEMBER 10-11 Join the City of Belleview in remembering 9/11 with a ceremony honoring first responders, followed by a walk of remembrance around Lake Lillian. The event will begin at 10am and include the Presentation of Colors by the Belleview High School ROTC, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” sung by Autumn Encarnacion, and speakers Mayor Christine Dobkowski and Belleview Police Chief Terry Holland. For more information, contact Amanda Valderrama at (352) 233-2122 or avalderrama@belleviewfl.org. In Ocala, a motorcycle escort will accompany the 9/ll Traveling Memorial Wall to the Ocala-Marion County Veterans Memorial Park on September 10. The wall lists the names of all those who died, including police, military and civilians, 20 years ago on September 11, 2001. The ride will begin at War Horse HarleyDavidson. Registration for riders will be from 8-9:45am, with kickstands up at 10am. Lunch will be provided after the escort. On September 11, a free memorial program will take place at 10am at the Ocala-Marion County Veterans Memorial Park. Find this event on Facebook for more information.

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ART FOR ANIMALS CELEBRATION // SEPTEMBER 24-25

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NPD CLASSIC CAR SHOW & BEER FEST // SEPTEMBER 25 Ocala Main Street presents the National Parts Depot Classic Car Show and Beer Fest from 11am-3pm. Classic cars, craft beer, live music and food trucks will fill the streets of downtown Ocala. Awards will be selected by local VIPs as well as a People’s Choice Award. Register your classic car and purchase tickets for the Beer Fest at https://bit.ly/2VGOXSS. Follow Ocala Main Street on social media and visit ocalamainstreet.com/events for all event updates. SEP ‘21

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WATCH // EXPLORE // CRAVE

A Community Concept Ocala—The Art of Community comes to life through a partnership between MCA and the CEP. // B Y K A R I N FA B R Y- C U S H E N B E R Y

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Money earned through book sales and sponsorships will be used to further Marion Cultural Alliance’s mission to champion, convene and create opportunities for artists and arts organizations. “For the past 21 years MCA has been a major funder of cultural grants,” says Baillie. “Since 2001, MCA has given more than $400,000 back to the local arts community.” Jaye and the rest of the Marion Cultural Alliance crew is very excited to share

Ocala—The Art of Community with their friends and neighbors. “Ocala and Marion County continue to gracefully evolve,” she says. “To be able to share all that our area has to offer in a beautiful coffee table book is really special.” Ocala—The Art of Community // For sponsorship or additional information, contact Jaye Baillie at (352) 369-1500, or visit mcaocala.org to learn more.

Photo courtesy of the Marion Cultural Alliance

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he old adage there’s no place like home has never been more true. Ocala is filled with unique businesses, arts opportunities, beautiful natural spaces and more. It’s where we gather with family and friends, and it’s where memories and traditions are made. And now the Marion Cultural Alliance and the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership are joining efforts to create a unique coffee table book that highlights the best of our community and arts scene. “Ocala—The Art of Community will be an extraordinary commemorative book that celebrates Ocala’s wonderful way of life and showcases the community,” says MCA Executive Director Jaye Baillie. “At the end of the day, it will be a keepsake book that shows how we live, work, play and thrive in Ocala. The book will cover every aspect of life—our neighborhoods, our schools, our growth and special events—and also the arts that envelop us in so many wonderful ways.” Ocala—The Art of Community will also highlight upward of 60 businesses and organizations that represent the fabric of our community. The one- to four-page features will be told through original photographs and will include editorial that goes beyond just the basics to share a business’ culture, interaction with the community and employee stories. Interspersed with the businesses will be editorial covering some of Ocala and Marion County’s most beloved locales. “A focus group will help select these locations,” says Baillie. “We’ll ask what makes Ocala great? What’s unique about Ocala? Places like Juniper Springs, our downtown and our community’s hiking trails will be featured through beautiful photography.” The concept for the book came to fruition in late 2020, and the finished product will be published in late fall by Riverbend Books out of Atlanta.


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WATCH // EXPLORE // CRAVE

Outdoor Expo Delights Outdoor enthusiasts gathered at the World Equestrian Center to explore what Marion County has to offer. // W R I T T E N A N D P H O T O G R A P H E D B Y R O N A L D W. W E T H E R I N G T O N

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he residents and visitors of Ocala/Marion County are living the dream. While so much of America is bound by weather limitations of the four seasons, here, we can be outdoors 12 months out of the year. Small wonder, then, that the North Central Florida Outdoor Expo was such a hit with attendees on a recent Saturday. Held in an air-conditioned World Equestrian Center expo center, the event, which featured dozens of vendors and exhibits, was hosted by K-County and Wind-FM. Local dignitaries, such as Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn and Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods, were amongst the attendees relaxing on a pleasant day. Many attendees were making a donation at the “exhibit” of canine Molly of local legend Molly’s Law. Friends of Silver Springs State Park were enthusiastically sharing stories about Marion County’s outdoor showplace. Very popular among the exhibits was the Firehouse Urban Axe Throwing, where guests got to try their hand at the art of axe throwing. After exploring the exhibits, many guests took the opportunity to sample menus at WEC’s local restaurants and take in a few equestrian competitions. 10

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Diana Martin

Stephen Hickman, Gavyn Eising & Dannielle Sprecht


WATCH // EXPLORE // CRAVE

Alex Daugherty, Tyler Lea, Cailey Lea, Emily Short, Slade Murphy, Darren Irwin & Bo Lancaster

Ayden Mans

Quinton Jackson and Master McCormick

Chad Weber and Dan Dickson

Deb Horuath & Lilly Baron

Daniel Lawrence & Tara Pieri

Jeff Barnes & Dean Johnson

Morgan & Lonnie Blackburn

Casidy Morgan & Suzanne Carroll

Sheriff Billy Woods, Billy Padgett & Lauren Dickson

Barbra Toeppen-Sprigg, M.J. Walsh & Marianne Marcoux

Bryan Caraccioli & Forrest Opitz

SEP ‘21

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WATCH // EXPLORE // CRAVE

LOCAL LISTENS

CONCERT SPOTLIGHT JACK KNIFE

O’Calahans // September 4

HOUSTON KEEN Charlie Horse // September 5

STEPHEN LOPEZ Locos Grill & Pub // September 10

RICK MELVERN BAND Circle Square Commons // September 17

Metallica

JUSTIN BIEBER

MICHAEL BUBLÉ

VyStar Veterans Arena, Jacksonville // April 7 Amalie Arena, Tampa // April 9 Amway Center, Orlando // April 11

VyStar Veterans Arena, Jacksonville // October 28

KENNY CHESNEY

LUKE COMBS

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa // April 23

Amway Center, Orlando // October 28 VyStar Veterans Arena, Jacksonville // October 29

JASON ALDEAN MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at the FL State Fairgrounds, Tampa // October 30

ELTON JOHN VyStar Veterans Arena, Jacksonville // April 23 Amalie Arena, Tampa // April 24 Amway Center, Orlando // April 27

BARENAKED LADIES St. Augustine Amphitheatre // June 3

WELCOME TO ROCKVILLE

THE DOOBIE BROTHERS

Featuring Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Disturbed, Rob Zombie, Deftones, Lynyrd Skynyrd & more Daytona International Speedway // November 11-14

MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at the FL State Fairgrounds, Tampa // June 3 Daily’s Place, Jacksonville // June 5

ERIC CHURCH Amway Center, Orlando // March 4 Amalie Arena, Tampa // March 5

THE WEEKND

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DEF LEPPARD, MÖTLEY CRÜE, POISON & JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS Camping World Stadium, Orlando // June 19

BACKSTREET BOYS

Camping World Stadium, Orlando // March 28

MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at the FL State Fairgrounds, Tampa // June 21

JOHN MAYER

RINGO STARR AND HIS ALL STARR BAND

Amalie Arena, Tampa // April 5

St. Augustine Amphitheatre // June 24

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La Cuisine French Restaurant // September 18

BRANDON DULL Yellow Pony Pub & Garden // September 30

EASY POSSE Marion Theatre // September 18 Easy Posse is a country and line dance band who will be rocking the stage with classic country hits and drinking songs.

ABSOLUTE QUEEN: THE ULTIMATE TRIBUTE Savannah Center // September 28-29 Absolute Queen is an astonishing recreation of a Queen concert featuring note-for-note guitar solos, incredible vocal harmonies, and all of the hits.

NOT FADE AWAY: ROCK N’ ROLL RE-IGNITED Reilly Arts Center // October 9 This young group showcases their amped-up renditions of classic hit songs from legends like Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Ritchie Valens, and more.

COMPLETELY UNCHAINED: THE ULTIMATE VAN HALEN TRIBUTE Circle Square Cultural Center // November 19 Completely Unchained includes four talented and creative musicians who recreate the ultimate Van Halen production. *Editor’s Note: Tickets were available for all concerts as of date of publication. Dates are subject to change at the discretion of the venue.

Metallica photo courtesy of metallica.com

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Photo by Alex Faust courtesy of Ocala Comic Con

WATCH // EXPLORE // CRAVE

Ocala Comic Con Returns Comic book and anime lovers won’t want to miss the return of Ocala Comic Con this month.

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fter canceling last year to be safe during the pandemic, event co-owners Donald Gualandri and Christopher Major anticipate 2021 will be their biggest year yet, especially since the convention has moved to the grounds of the World Equestrian Center. Having WEC as the venue means a more comfortable and spacious environment with plenty of room for shopping, guest interaction and even social distancing. The event takes place September 11-12, and this year’s guests include Matthew Wood of Star Wars and Marvel fame, Kyle Hebert, Johnny Yong Bosch, Neil Kaplan, Clay Mann, Karl Moline, Mike Spicer, Omar Francia, Peter Raymundo and Steven Anthony Lawrence. “The majority of our guests are comic book artists,” says Christopher, “but we also have some media guests who have done voiceovers and on-screen appearances as well.”

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// B Y C Y N T H I A M C F A R L A N D Meeting illustrators and media guests is a big attraction. Attendees often leave with signed original works for their collections. Throughout both days guests will meet fans, sign autographs and host video recordings at their booths. They will also hold a Q&A panel with fans each day. Panels take place throughout the weekend, starting at 11am and running until the end of each day. Serious fans tend to show up dressed in costume, known as “cosplaying.” If the event sounds like a perfect peoplewatching environment, you’re absolutely correct. It’s not often you see hundreds, if not thousands, of people in all their costumed glory in one place. “Some people enjoy just being able to express themselves through cosplaying, others love to shop the vendors and some people just come to meet the guests,” says Christopher, adding that this creates a high level of energy

and excitement. “One of the show’s biggest draws is our costume contest, which is held on Sunday as kind of a wrap-up celebration of the show,” adds Christopher. The contest typically features adults and kids representing all different fandoms. Shopping opportunities will feature more than 60 vendors offering unique items and quality products. Also featured are booths offering autograph certification services by Level10, and grading and encapsulation by THE VVGS. In addition to a full concession stand, convention-goers will find multiple restaurants throughout WEC. Special WEC hotel rates are available for attendees. Ocala Comic Con 2021 // September 11. 10am6pm // September 12, 11am-6pm // World Equestrian Center, Ocala // Advance: $20 per day, $30 weekend pass // At gate: $30 per day, $50 weekend pass // ocalacomiccon.com


The Musical

WILLS · TRUSTS · PROBATE

Book by Jeffrey Lane • Music and Lyrics by David Yazbek Based on the film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, written by Dale Launer and Stanley Shapiro & Paul Henning Original Broadway production directed by Jack O’Brien SPONSORED BY: Ocala Style Magazine • WIND FM

August 26 – September 19 When the French Riviera isn’t big enough for two charming con artists with their eyes on the same prize… May the best crook win.

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4337 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, Florida 34470 (352) 236-2274 • www.ocalacivictheatre.com

HOUSE CALLS BY APPOINTMENT

500 NE 8th Ave | Ocala 34470

A Breeze Through

Fertile Gardens: Paintings and Drawings by Andrew M. Grant On View Through November 7

Appleton Museum, Artspace and Store

Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd. | AppletonMuseum.org

COLLEGE OF CENTRAL FLORIDA

-an equal opportunity college-

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WATCH // EXPLORE // CRAVE

Art On Exhibit Marion County and the surrounding area is home to several renowned museums and galleries that bring in the works of world-class artists throughout the year. Check out a handful of the exhibits that will be on display during the upcoming fall months. // B Y K A R I N F A B R Y- C U S H E N B E R Y

APPLETON MUSEUM OF ART

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Albert Ernest Backus (American, 1906-1990), Road Through the Orange Grove, undated

her home studio in Merritt Island, Florida, creates photorealistic images of detailed plant life. Merritt was influenced by the beautiful photos of Russell Lee, having worked under him as a protégé. Merritt’s acrylic plant life scenes feature strong contrast and sharp, clean lines that allow her subject’s details to shine through. Depth of color is added through multiple layers of paint. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin and then continued her coursework in the fields of art history and art education. Appleton Museum of Art // 4333 East Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala // (352) 291-4455 // appletonmuseum.org

Juliet van Otteren, Contemplation 1/19, 2003 photo courtesy of The Appleton Museum of Art; Saunier Eruption photo courtesy of the Webber Center

Heart of the Horse October 9, 2021-April 24, 2022 Heart of the Horse will feature 40 black-and-white photographs of horses by renowned photographer Juliet van Otteren. Her original photos showcase both the complexity and natural beauty of these magnificent animals. Otteren has lived throughout the world, including the Middle East, the Himalayas, France, Manhattan and the English Countryside, just to name a few, affording her the opportunity to explore a variety of arts through her travels. Her photography has been a passion since the ‘80s and is now featured in major museums on three continents. Juliet’s photography book, Heart of the Horse, features texts Juliet van Otteren, Contemplation 1/19, 2003 by astrophysicist and author Alan Lightman and a foreword cardiologist Dr. Paul Urban and his wife, Joyce. by renowned primatologist Jane Goodall. The couple, along with their daughters, Katie, The book was published by Barnes & Noble Kristie, Kassie and Karlie, have a rich tradition in 2004. of beautifully decorating for the holidays, and now they are sharing this tradition with A Dickens Christmas: The Urban the community. Items on display will include Family Holiday Exhibition miniature villages, caroler dolls, nutcracker November 16, 2021-January 9, 2022 An annual Appleton tradition, the holiday spirit soldiers and more. is on full display with A Dickens Christmas: Garden Party: Botanical Paintings The Urban Family Holiday Exhibition. On by Susan Martin display in the first floor of the museum, this November 20, 2021-April 24, 2022 exhibit features themed trees and holiday Susan Martin, a Florida artist who works from décor from the personal collection of Ocala


WATCH // EXPLORE // CRAVE This juried, prize-winning show is inspired by “chiaroscuro,” a technique developed during the Renaissance that uses strong contrasts of light and dark. The theme was chosen to be intentionally challenging, and the artists were given the definition and this simple Leo Tolstoy quote as inspiration: “All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.” Gallery Owner Lisa Midgett says, “I try to keep the calls intentionally vague; I don’t like to give too much guidance because I am always excited to see how each artist interprets the theme in their own way.” The gallery generally receives submissions from all over the world for their shows, so to ensure the best show possible, jurors with advanced degrees in the arts are enlisted to help decide who is invited to exhibit. The Best in Show winner will take home the top prize of $500. Noma Gallergy // 939 North Magnolia Ave., Ocala // (352) 657-1212 // nomaocala.com

Hector Saunier, Eruption, 1973

Albert Ernest Backus (American, 1906-1990) Road Through the Orange Grove, undated: The Florida Art Collection, Gift of Samuel H. and Roberta T. Vickers. Photography by Randy Batista, courtesy of the Harn Museum of Art

WEBBER CENTER GALLERY AT THE COLLEGE OF CENTRAL FLORIDA

HARN MUSEUM OF ART Florida Impressions: Gift of Samuel H. and Roberta T. Vickers September 21, 2021-ongoing Just to our north in Gainesville, on the University of Florida campus, is a gem of an art museum. An upcoming exhibit, Florida Impressions: Gift of Samuel H. and Roberta T. Vickers, will be well worth the short drive to check out. The exhibit includes one of the most extensive collections of Floridathemed art, with topics ranging from coastline views to historic landmarks to local entertainment opportunities. More than 50 paintings, representing roughly 45 artists, will be on display. According to a release by the Harn Museum of Art, “Collectively, these paintings comprise a

visual history of Florida, its unique topography and climate, as well as its people and their daily lives.” Artists featured in the exhibit include Martin Johnson Heade, Herman Herzog, Thomas Moran and Louis Comfort Tiffany, Ralston Crawford, Ernest Lawson, Everett Shinn and Marguerite Zorach, among many others. Florida Impressions is part of a larger gift of more than 1,200 works of art gifted to the museum by the Vickers. Harn Museum of Art // 3259 Hull Rd., Gainesville // (352) 294-7025 // harn.ufl.edu

NOMA GALLERY Light and Shadows September 9-October 23, 2021

Greater Than 17 September 27-October 28, 2021 This unique exhibit comes from the personal collection of College of Central Florida Associate Professor Tyrus Clutter. Greater Than 17 includes more than 150 works by artists from Stanley Hayter’s Atelier 17 printmaking workshop. The styles range from abstract expressionism to op art to surrealism. These works explore how Hayter brought European modernism to the United States and highlights the innovating history of printmaking, plus the role women played in the decades leading up to feminism. A schedule of talks held by Professor Clutter will accompany the exhibit. Admission is free, and the gallery is open Monday through Thursday, 10am-4pm. Webber Center Gallery at the College of Central Florida // 3001 SW College Rd., Ocala // (352) 854-2322, ext. 1664 // cf.edu SEP ‘21

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Discover Lovers Key

The new, state-of-the art Welcome and Discovery Center will allow visitors to see one of Florida’s most popular state parks in a whole new way. // B Y M E L I S S A P E T E R S O N

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Photo courtesy of Florida State Parks

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estled in the mangroves at Lovers Key State Park, located in Fort Myers Beach, is a new, 2,100-square-foot Discovery Center. Designed by Sweet Sparkman Architects, the building is an architectural marvel that opened in May and provides visitors with an opportunity to connect with one of Florida’s most unique natural resources. “Sharp-eyed guests will notice that the building rests on tapered columns designed to pay homage to the surrounding mangrove roots,” notes Alexandra Kuchta, press secretary for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. “Once inside, visitors will find exhibits detailing the dynamic barrier islands, habitats, wildlife and plants on Florida’s southwest Gulf Coast, as well as a large, interactive park map and a timeline highlighting the inhabitants, activities and key moments in the area leading up the location’s establishment as a state park in 1983.” The Discovery Center also features a bright and spacious multipurpose room for interpretive programs, workshops and special events throughout the year. When guests are finished touring the new center, they’ll also find an airy observation deck on which to enjoy the park’s sights and sounds—all from the comfort of a wooden rocking chair. Once a collection of secluded barrier islands reachable only by boat, Lovers Key has become a popular spot for beachside weddings, thanks to its untarnished two-mile stretch of beach. While there, visitors can hop in a kayak or lounge under an umbrella on the shore. Make plans to explore the serene canals and lagoons that are favorite grazing spots for manatee and shorebirds. “In the early 1900s, when the barrier islands off of Florida’s Gulf coast were accessible only

by boat, it was said that only lovers made the effort to get to this romantic island—thus the name, ‘Lovers Key,’” shares Alexandra. “This island, along with three others—Inner Key, Long Key and Black Island—forms Lovers Key State Park. The park also offers five multi-use trails, a boat ramp with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico and Estero Bay, a protected estuary for kayaking or canoeing, and several areas for picnicking.” Formed by waves and tides, barrier islands have an important role in protecting the coastline during storms. They are also home to the most beautiful beaches in the world. “With the Gulf of Mexico as a backdrop, the

beach here is an amazing place for coastal fun,” says Alexandra. “When the weather is warm, visitors come to swim, snorkel and splash in the gentle waves. In wintertime, they picnic, search for shells and watch the wildlife. The beach is a wonderful place to just sit and enjoy the sound of the waves and the Gulf breeze.” So whether you’re coming to explore the new Discovery and Welcome Center or lounge the day away on the sugar-white sand, Lovers Key State Park is sure to be a spectacular, if not romantic, beachside destination. Lovers Key State Park // 8700 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach // floridastateparks.org


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OCALA CIVIC THEATRE • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: through September 19

PAPER THIN: OCTOBER 14-31 Lucrece and Gerald have had a good marriage. They’ve raised their only son with love and kept their farm afloat through hard times and hurricanes. But now, this determined Southern woman has taken to the roof of their Mississippi farmhouse with a bottle of whiskey and refuses to come down. Poignant and funny, this play explores what it means to live truthfully. • It’s A Wonderful Life: November 26-December 19

On Stage

Local performing arts venues are gearing up for a new season. // B Y M E L I S S A P E T E R S O N

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ith the changing season comes a new lineup of fall performances and concerts. Here’s a sampling of shows coming to venues around the 352.

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA PERFORMING ARTS

• Davina and the Vagabonds: September 23 • Royal Wood: September 30 • Lifeline Quartet with Michelle MayneGraves: October 1 • University of Florida Symphony Orchestra presents Beethoven Symphony No. 9: October 7 • Love Canon: October 15 • Merz Trio: October 17 • Joey DeFrancesco Trio: October 28 20

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THE VILLAGES ENTERTAINMENT • Dennis Edwards’ Temptations Revue: September 4 • The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra Labor Day Pops Concert 2021: September 5 • The Everly Set: September 9 • The Dirty Doors: September 11

DAYMÉ AROCENA: NOVEMBER 9

• Eagle Mania: September 15

A radiant performer carrying the flame for a new generation of Cuban musicians, Daymé Arocena encompasses the rich, diverse musical makeup of her homeland while also drawing inspiration from the world she has spent the last six years traveling. She blends traditional Santerían chant, jazz stylings, contemporary R&B influences and Afro-Cuban rhythmic complexity for audiences worldwide.

• Creedence Revived: September 16

• Brittney Spencer: November 19 • Todd Berry: November 20 University of Florida Performing Arts // multiple venues // (352) 392-2787 // performingarts.ufl.edu

• Duke Ellington Orchestra: September 16 • Smokey Joe’s Café: September 17 • The Stray Cat Lee Rocker: September 18

JON LEHRER DANCE COMPANY: SEPTEMBER 23 Under his artistic direction, the company showcases Jon Lehrer’s unique choreography and embodies his definitive style. His extensive background in both the modern and jazz dance idioms fosters choreography that is organic, artistic, accessible and often humorous, reflecting life experience and the human condition.

Easy Posse photo courtesy of the Marion Theatre; Paper Thin image courtesy of Ocala Civic Theatre; Baskerville image courtesy of Reilly Arts Center

Easy Posse

Ocala Civic Theatre // 4337 E Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala // (352) 236-2274 // ocalacivictheatre.com


WATCH // EXPLORE // CRAVE • Absolute Queen: September 28-29 • Broadbend, Arkansas: September 28-October 30 • Studio Theatre Tierra Del Sol Season 6: September 28 • The Australian Bee Gees Show: October 1 • Hollywood Nights: The Bob Seger Experience: October 2 • Give A Hoot 7: October 5 • The 5th Dimension: October 9 • The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra Italian American Music Concert: October 10 • Pilobolus: October 12 • The Modern Gentlemen: October 22 • Escape To Margaritaville: October 26-28 • Hidden Wild: Secrets of the Everglades: November 2 • Jackie Evancho: November 6 • The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra The Messiah 2021: November 8

beloved characters to life. From Scrooge and Tiny Tim to Bob Cratchit and Mrs. Fezziwig, Barlow’s A Christmas Carol uses nothing more than some simple props and the power of imagination to convey this timeless story. Melon Patch Players // 311 N 13th Street, Leesburg // (352)787-3013 // melonpatchplayers.org

MARION THEATRE EASY POSSE: SEPTEMBER 18 A country and line dance band who will be rocking the Marion stage with classic country hits and drinking songs, this band has a true appreciation for classic country music from greats like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam and Hank Williams Sr. Marion Theatre // 50 S Magnolia Ave., Ocala // (352) 820-3049 // mariontheatre.org

REILLY ARTS CENTER

• The Cake: November 22-December 18

• Overdue Bills: September 24- October 10

A CHRISTMAS CAROL: DECEMBER 3-19 Patrick Barlow, writer of the Broadway and West End hit The 39 Steps, has retold Charles Dickens’ holiday classic A Christmas Carol. This thrilling adaptation uses only five actors to bring some of Dickens’ most

• Pops! Goes the Holidays!: December 4-5 • Take 6: December 7

PUFFS: DECEMBER 9-18 For seven years, a certain boy wizard went to a certain Wizard School and conquered evil. This, however, is not his story. This story is about some other students—the Puffs—who just happened to be enrolled in that school, too. This inventive play takes a new look at a familiar adventure from the perspective of a group of well-meaning, loyal, lovable outsiders. Overflowing with heart, charm and laughter every minute, this epic journey reimagines what a boy wizard hero can be.

CIRCLE SQUARE CULTURAL CENTER

CIRQUE MUSICA’S HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR: DECEMBER 17

MELON PATCH PLAYERS

• Symphony Under the Lights: December 3

Reilly Arts Center // 500 NE 9th St., Ocala // (352) 351-1606 // reillyartscenter.com

• An Intimate Evening with David Foster: December 13-15

The Villages Entertainment // multiple venues // Box Office (352) 753-3229 // thevillagesentertainment.com

• The Wood Brothers: December 2

• Classic Albums LIVE presents Rolling Stones’ Let It Bleed: December 23

• The Villages Philharmonic Holiday Celebration 2021: December 8-9

This show brings the joy and excitement of the holiday season to The Sharon like never before. This all-new production features some of the greatest holiday songs of all time performed with the world-renowned cast of Cirque Musica. The show blends the spellbinding grace and daredevil athleticism of today’s greatest circus performers with the holiday classics we all love.

• Ocala Symphony Orchestra presents Variations on Opening Night: November 20-21

INSOMNIAC THEATRE PRESENTS KEN LUDWIG’S BASKERVILLE: A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY: SEPTEMBER 30-OCTOBER 2 Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson search for an ingenious killer on a murderous spree. Join the Insomniac Theatre’s intrepid investigators as they try to escape a dizzying web of clues, silly accents, disguises and deceit. Enjoy the talents of five actors portraying more than 40 characters. Be a part of the fun and uncover how far from elementary the truth can be. • Not Fade Away: Rock n’ Roll Re-ignited: October 9 • Insomniac Theatre presents The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Shadowcast: October 29-30 • Gilbert Gottfried: November 6 • Classic Albums LIVE presents AC/DC’s Back in Black: November 11

• K-Country Acoustic Concert: September 13 • Rushour: The Astonishing Tribute To Rush: September 25 • Let It Be: The Beatles Tribute: October 30 • Completely Unchained: The Ultimate Van Halen Tribute: November 19

PURE HEART: DECEMBER 11 This show will take you on a journey through time performing the best classic hits by Heart. The band plays homage to Heart’s incredible style and music by performing memorable hits authentically and masterfully. This tribute band grabs the audience’s attention with powerhouse vocals, rocking electric guitars, layered keyboards, intricate bass lines and steady drums. Circle Square Cultural Center // 8395 SW 80th St., Ocala // (352) 854-3670 // csculturalcenter.com SEP ‘21

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ART DISPLAY N

GET TO KNOW SOME OF THE ARTISTS BEHIND FAFO’S OCALA ARTS FESTIVAL. BY MELISSA PETERSON

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hen more than 180 artists emerge on downtown Ocala at the end of October, it will be a continuation of one of our community’s most-loved events. Like many large community events last year, the Ocala Arts Festival, presented by Fine Arts For Ocala (FAFO), was canceled in 2020 and replaced with several smaller, art-focused events. This year, FAFO, whose mission is to promote the appreciation of the fine arts and enhance art education within our community, is excited to bring back artists from around the country to exhibit their artwork. The 54th annual festival will take place throughout downtown on October 23 and 24. Artists will compete for monetary awards, and winners are selected by two prestigious judges. Perfect for the entire family, this event is free to attend and typically brings in more than 25,000 attendees. Visitors can browse through booths of original art from artists and craftsmen as well as art presented by children who live in Marion County. Live music on two stages, a variety of food trucks and children’s art activities presented by the Appleton Museum of Art will also be highlights of the event. For a preview of just some of the art the festival has to offer, the following local and regional artists took us behind the scenes on how they create their work, what influences them and what they’re looking forward to about the festival.

FAFO’s Ocala Arts Festival // October 23-24 // throughout downtown Ocala // fafo.org 22

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PRINTMAKING Stacy Tabb, of Lakeland, is a relief printmaker. When creating her works of art, she starts the process with a concept drawn with pencil on paper. She then uses carbon paper to transfer the drawing to a linoleum block and carves out the design using sharp gouges, like those used for wood carving. Once complete, she then inks the block and transfers the inked design to paper. In the case of her You Are What You Eat series, like the one showcased on our cover this month, the print is further embellished with a mica-based watercolor for a shiny, gold foil effect. “The biggest thing to understand about printmaking,” Stacy says, “is none of the pieces you see are reproductions. Each one is an original, hand pulled from the carved linoleum block onto paper, and, because of this, each one will have slight variations. Once complete, the print run is then signed and numbered, so you can see exactly how many were made and which number you are holding.” The inspiration behind her You Are What You Eat series is folk art based, where animals are usually stacked on or around each other. “My primary artistic influence is the natural world,” she says. “There is nothing more fascinating for me than the wildlife and landscapes of Florida, and that is definitely reflected in my work. [For this series] I wanted to do something different, though, so instead I replaced the feathers and fur of my subjects with one of their primary food sources. Then my brilliant husband suggested the name for the series, and it took off from there.” Although a newcomer to the Ocala Arts Festival, Stacy has spent the last three years touring various festivals around Florida. “I have greatly enjoyed sharing my art, connecting with a wide variety of art enthusiasts and picking up a few award ribbons,” she says. “From a business perspective, I always want to broaden my market, and from a personal perspective, I just love seeing new places and people.” If you stop by her booth at the festival, you can see her largest piece yet in the You Are What You Eat series: a 6-foot-long blue whale filled with tiny krill. “We will be transporting this beast to the festival, and it will be on display, along with 22 other You Are What You Eat animals in my booth,” Stacy says. “It is quite a sight to see. I will also have video demonstrating how the pieces are made, including the crazy process to get the massive whale printed.” Sharing her art with the community is truly what brings her the most joy in her work. Watching people discover the surprises within each animal is a close second. “Giving presents is my favorite part of Christmas, and every art festival is like Christmas for me. Kids especially love this series, and watching them light up when they discover the squid is filled with fish or the skunk is filled with lizards is just the best.” STACY TABB: ROCKANDPAPER.CO

Images and photos by Stacy Tabb of Rock & Paper

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PAINTING

Images and photos by Cheryl Ritter

Local Ocala artist Cheryl Ritter paints with oil on canvas. Having lived in Ocala since the early ‘80s, Cheryl isn’t new to the Ocala Arts Festival. In fact, she’s showcased her art here nearly 10 times. Although her fascination with painting began at an early age and she has been painting for several decades, she began to focus heavily on sky paintings about 12 years ago. “The gorgeous Florida skies are a great source of inspiration for me,” says Cheryl. “I am a self-taught painter. I am always working with new techniques and learning ways of blending, using color, color saturation and shapes to achieve my goals of bringing dynamic skies to life.” Painting skies requires using just the right touch and the right amount of pressure to create a misty, often transparent effect. This process of applying paint to the canvas is actually her favorite part of the process. “I also enjoy the several types of research that go into my work,” she says. “I love to read about clouds and to learn how and why certain cloud formations will appear and what they mean, in terms of changing weather patterns. I feel that a comprehensive view of your subject is the best way to recreate it.” Make sure to stop by Cheryl’s booth at the festival and spend some time taking in the beautiful landscapes she has created. While you’re there, don’t be surprised if you find yourself searching for hidden images in the clouds—just like when you were a kid. “It’s not unusual for someone to spot animal shapes, faces, hearts and many other things that I never even knew were there. It’s a lot like going back to that time in our childhood when we felt free to spend an entire day gazing up at the glory of nature. This makes it as much fun to share as it is to create.”

CLAY

CHERYL RITTER: CHERYLRITTER.COM

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Harry Welsch and Kimberly Wellman are a husband-and-wife team based in Lutz that has collaborated artistically for almost 50 years. The couple makes mostly functional stoneware, such as cups, plates and bowls, but also many one-of-a-kind decorative objects. Their work is both wheel thrown and slab built, sometimes making forms using both. “Kim took a pottery lesson and quit her job

after two weeks,” says Harry. “I made her first wheel and kiln before I knew how to make pots. I worked my way into it, along with my teaching career. I’m a retired physics teacher. Making pots is a continuous process; to do a good job you can’t play favorites. It is a twoweek cycle of making, bisque firing, glazing and high fire—I consider all important.” Harry and Kimberly are veterans of the


MIXED MEDIA Magic, mystery, possibilities, freedom and transformation are themes Mary Bielenstein gravitates toward as a mixed media artist. This Miami-based artist puts together acrylic paint and mediums, fabric, paper and other materials to create images that challenge the imagination and often tell a story. “I love working with vivid and expressive color, using it and my subject matter to bring to life scenes that portray the beauty and strength of nature and the human experience,” says Mary. “I do have some favorite subjects. Horses have been a part of my life for the past 10 years and have been showing up a lot in my work lately. I paint women and their relationship with animals and birds

because the symbolism speaks to me.” Mary has been painting and showing her art for more than 25 years, having moved from oil painting to mixed media about 10 years ago. From the beginning she has been influenced by Impressionist painters, especially The Group of Seven, Canadian artists with a unique style that focused on nature. “I approach each work of art as a puzzle that needs to be solved, rarely knowing what the final image will be. Each piece is very individual and reflects what is going on in my life at the time. [I enjoy] being able to put on canvas my own thoughts, emotions and experiences. I do not limit myself on what I want to

Images and photos by Mary Bielenstein

Ocala Arts Festival and are excited to participate again. Attendees can see professionally displayed, fairly priced pieces with plenty of attention to detail. “We have done this festival for over 45 years,” says Harry. “The people are receptive to our work. We do about 20 festivals in a year, [but] the Ocala group has always been artist friendly.” HARRY WELSCH AND KIMBERLY WELLMAN: WELLMANANDWELSCHPOTTERY.COM Art & photos by Harry Welsch and Kimberly Wellman

paint or the materials I use. I have learned to experiment, make mistakes, accept what comes and keep going until I get to something that speaks the truth to me.” Although she’s visited the Ocala Arts Festival previously as a spectator, this will be the first year she will participate in the show as an artist. “I like to interact with people who are attracted to my art,” she says. “I love to answer questions and share techniques and experiences with visitors. The feedback truly energizes me and makes me excited to get started on future paintings.” MARY BIELENSTEIN: MARYBIELENSTEIN. FINEARTSTUDIOONLINE.COM


PAINTING

ROSE DERKAY: ROSEDERKAY.COM

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An oil and acrylic on canvas painter based in Tallahassee, Kelly Rysavy grew up in the low country of North Carolina. Those coastal landscapes have proven to be one of the major influences in her artwork. “Recently, I’ve been experimenting with Plein-Air painting to experience the local color of areas in Florida that I travel to,” Kelly says. “This style of painting also allows me to see things differently when working on composition.” For Kelly, her favorite part of the creative process is when a piece comes together exactly in the way she intended it to. “It expresses that perfect blend of balance that is pleasing to the viewer without the struggle of appearing overworked and contrived,” she says. “For someone who has been painting for over 40 years it still amazes me to have a piece essentially finish itself and not to struggle to find a voice.” Kelly began participating in art shows in 2017, and the Ocala Arts Festival was one of her first shows. “I really enjoy the chance to meet art patrons of all ages and see what they want to add to their collections,” she says. “I want people to be able to appreciate and own an original piece of art at a moderate price and become future collectors of something unique and special.” KELLY RYSAVY: KELLYRYSAVY.COM

Images and photo by Kelly Rysavy

This year FAFO initiated an Emerging Artist Program for the Ocala Arts Festival. The goal of the program is to support artists who are just beginning their professional careers in the visual arts by providing them with the opportunity to experience an outdoor festival at minimal cost. One of the artists chosen for this program is Ocala’s own Rose Derkay, who was nudged over the past couple of years by friends and local artists to further pursue her floral photography. “The more I get involved in photography the closer I want to get to my subject,” she says. “Increasingly that subject has become the flower. The dew, the curve of a petal, the pistils meeting the bloom—every flower is unique with its own architecture, and that draws me in. “I like that [photography] feels second nature, that I just get to do it,” says Rose. “My subject is everywhere. I can grab my camera any time and go on an adventure and find a different perspective. I’m drawn to it, and it’s a part of how I live.” At 62, Rose chuckles a bit about being chosen as an Emerging Artist. However, having always appreciated the level of fine art that comes from and to Ocala for the festival every year, she felt if she could be accepted, and mentored, that it would be the push she needed to move forward. “I’ve been creative all my adult life,” says Rose. “I’ve slowly fallen in love with every aspect of the process, from finding subjects to post-production and now framing and, fingers crossed, showing my captures. I have to be involved in some way every day. Even if it’s looking at favorite artists on Instagram daily.” Rose has lived in Ocala for 20 year and loves the Ocala Arts Festival. Being accepted as an Emerging Artist has been a humbling moment for her. “It makes me proud of Ocala that it’s been able to bring the Ocala Arts Festival here every year—for more than 50 years,” she says. “I’m proud just to be in attendance each year. I’m shocked, nervous and excited to be a part of it. I’d love for everyone to stop by and see my friendly, creative pieces and visit me and let me know what they love about my work and the festival. Everyone is familiar with flowers, so it will be a happy visit.”

Images and photos by Rose Derkay

EMERGING ARTIST, PHOTOGRAPHY


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Be Still Bakery photos courtesy of Megan Hamer; Cakes By Steph Stephens photos courtesy of Stephanie Stephens

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Edible Art Not all artists use paint brushes and pencils. Some artists’ tools of choice are spatulas and piping bags. // B Y K A R I N FA B R Y- C U S H E N B E R Y

BE STILL BAKERY Wow! That’s likely the most common reaction when clients see one of Megan Hamer’s cake

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or cookie creations. The attention to detail, not to mention the taste, are impossible to go unnoticed. A professional baker for two years, Megan got her original artistic start painting pet portraits and nursery artwork. “There was definitely a learning curve going from acrylic paints to buttercream and fondant, but I’ve always loved trying new things,” she says. Megan acknowledges that she has had no formal pastry training. She does have an artistic background though, and she attributes her detailed sculpture work to her experiences there. “Practicing regularly is a must. That stands true with anything in which you want to excel. Failure is also necessary. When a project doesn’t

turn out like I had hoped, a lesson is learned and a new approach can be attempted the next time. As far as recipes go… lots of trial and error and endless family and friend taste testings.” For Megan, the hard work pays off when she sees people’s reactions to her creations. “The.best.part,” she says. “Especially when a child is the recipient. I sincerely love making my hometown happy during major life events, like baby showers and milestone birthdays. Bringing joy to others through cake makes my heart smile. All of the dishes are totally worth it. I approach every project like a blank canvas and meticulously plan out the process and the outcome,” Megan says. “I often hear, ‘That’s cake?!’ and I consider it a win. Transforming a cake into something that doesn’t look like a


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FROM BE STILL BAKERY (LEFT TO RIGHT): UP THEMED CAKE FEATURING CARL AND RUSSELL, SWIM CAKE, PUPPY ON BLANKET CAKE AND HARRY POTTER THEMED CAKE. FROM CAKES BY STEPH STEPHENS (TOP TO BOTTOM): SUCCULENT CUPCAKES, SUCCULENT CAKE AND FLORAL CAKE.

cake is an ongoing challenge I willingly accept. It’s so important for me to push the limits every now and then and create outside of my comfort zone. That’s when some of my best cakes have been created.” Be Still Bakery // bestillbakery.com // Find her on Facebook and Instagram

CAKES BY STEPH STEPHENS For many, the initial pandemic lockdown brought about the opportunity to slow down and take up new hobbies. Steph Stephens has since turned that hobby into a burgeoning new career. Always a baker at heart, Steph took to online videos and photos to further her craft, perfecting the intricacies of detailed cake decorating.

“I am self-taught when it comes to cake decorating, and that is something that happened with a lot of practice. One of my favorites is buttercream flowers. These delicate, hand piped flowers are something I never thought I could do. It seemed so daunting. I decided to stop relying on videos to teach me, and instead I started doing it how it made sense in my head. When I let my creativity flow, I started to get a handle of my style as a cake artist.” Cake decorating can be simple to extravagant, and each artist has their own process. “Before I start making a cake I like to have a few days to just play around with ideas in my head,” says Steph. “I search for inspiration whether that is from other cake artists or just what I see in nature. Although I’ve never been

much of an artist when it comes to drawing and painting, doing those things on a cake really makes sense to me. I try to think of designs I haven’t tried yet and techniques that are still foreign to me and how I can make it possible.” For Steph, though, the heart of baking remains the same as it’s always been—family. “Baking in our house meant something that brought the family together, so I think I grew up with that mindset of wanting to do the same thing: bringing beautiful food and desserts to my loved ones.” Cakes by Steph Stephens // cakesbystephstephens.com // Find her on Facebook and Instagram SEP ‘21

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WATCH // EXPLORE // CRAVE

Pasta Perfection Elena Alfano, a first-generation Italian American on her mom’s side, says homemade pasta is a staple at family celebrations. And she wants to share those traditions with you and yours through Pasta By Pollio. // B Y K A R I N FA B R Y- C U S H E N B E R Y

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352PREVIEW.COM

Pasta by Pollio photos by Elena Alfano

C

hef Boyardee has nothing on the Pollio family. Elena Alfano recalls holidays and family get-togethers spent in the kitchen, rolling and shaping dough with her mom and grandma. “We lived off flour,” Elena says. “Pasta, bread—flour was life.” Elena’s family immigrated to the United States, New Jersey specifically, in the 1960s. Her father worked as a firefighter, and the large family often utilized the fire station for gatherings. “There was always pasta,” Elena says. “On Thanksgiving, pasta was first.” Elena, who relocated to Florida to be closer to her boyfriend after losing her New York event planning career due to COVID, liked the slower lifestyle she found in Florida and decided corporate life just wasn’t for her anymore. She recalled a trip she took to Italy just before the pandemic where she noticed the abundance of pasta-making classes. Realizing there was nothing like that here, an idea blossomed. Currently living in Gainesville, Elena has cultivated Pasta By Pollio into a popular cooking class and online offering. She travels the region providing families and friends with a unique cooking and dining experience. “Ninety-five percent of the time people have me go to their homes,” Elena says. “I bring all the supplies needed for each person’s station, from equipment and tools to ingredients. I just need a kitchen table and a sink.” Pasta By Pollio (Pollio is her mom’s maiden

name) offers a variety of packages, but all include Elena working side by side with clients from start to finish to roll out and create their own homemade pasta, using her family’s 100-year-old recipes. The selections include ravioli, fettuccine, gnocchi and more. Clients can choose between the DIY make-on-your-own package where Elena instructs on making the pasta for you to make later, or, as an add-on option, Elena will complete the cooking and plating process, including creating homemade sauces to enjoy with your pasta. Elena leaves participants with recipes and instructions for continuing the homemade pasta tradition in the future. Elena is enthusiastic when acknowledging the

difference between boxed and homemade pasta. “There is a 100 percent taste difference,” she says. “The homemade pasta is so wholesome and actually has flavor and taste. People always comment on how delicious it is and how they had no idea pasta could taste so good. I like to show people the simplicity of all. With just four ingredients, it’s simple, but timely.” And although the taste is spectacular, for Elena, Pasta By Pollio is all about the experience. “We get wrapped up in everyday life,” she says. “Seeing people slow down for a dinner party or family event and have fun is beautiful. When we are in a class we are in the moment. Nothing but friends and family, the food and some wine. It’s very low stress and very rewarding.” Pasta By Pollio // pastabypollio.com // (201) 214-4203


MAGAZINE

EL TOREO Two Locations: 3790 E Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala // (352) 694-1401 // Mon-Sun 11am-10pm // 3510 SW 36th Ave. (SR 200), Ocala // (352) 291-2121 // Mon-Sun 11am-11pm Head to El Toreo for the best Mexican food this side of the border! Enjoy all of your favorite traditional Mexican dishes in a friendly and festive atmosphere. On Sundays, children’s meals are $1.95. Lunch specials: $5.45 Taco Salad Mondays, $5.45 Speedy Gonzalez Tuesdays, $7.95 Quesadillas Wednesdays, $6.95 Chimichangas Thursdays and $5.95 Burrito Supremes Fridays. Dinner specials: $10.95 Fajitas Mondays, $8.95 Chimichangas Tuesdays, $9.95 Alambre Wednesdays and $9.95 Tacos de Bistec Thursdays. Margarita specials: $1.95 margarita Mondays, 99 cent margarita Wednesdays and 2-4-1 margarita Saturdays.

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with Felix & Fingers dueling pianos & “The Paintman” an Evening of Entertainment Dance & Sing-along Thursday, October 7, 6 p.m.

Ext. Auditorium, SE Livestock Pavilion Tickets: $100 VIP/$35 General RSVP today to Cindy Moody

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SEP ‘21

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I wouldn’t be here without AdventHealth’s ER. Stroke survivor

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Ocala's Guide to Entertainment, Nightlife & Family Fun As summer winds down, we turn our attention to some of our favorite local, fall even...

352 Preview 09/21  

Ocala's Guide to Entertainment, Nightlife & Family Fun As summer winds down, we turn our attention to some of our favorite local, fall even...

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