Seven larger-than-life geckos will be the centerpiece of a live auction to benefit local charities in Gulfport.
All seven geckos can be seen for the first time at the second annual Gecko Artists’ Show from 6 to 8 pm Friday, Aug 5, 2016, at the Catherine Hickman Theater, 5501 27th Avenue South in Gulfport. Admission is free and open to the public, and includes complimentary appetizers along with a cash bar.
After the reception, the geckos will be moved to preview locations in venues throughout Gulfport’s Waterfront village. The geckos will then go up for auction at the eighth annual Gecko Ball on Saturday, August 27, at the historic Gulfport Casino Ballroom.
"Each gecko will be a prized collector’s art work and join the ranks of nearly 60 other geckos that have been created since the event’s inception," organizers say. "Organizers initiated the Artists’ Gecko Auction seven years ago with much success and the auction is now a popular part of the tradition of annual Gulfport Gecko-related activities in late summer. The Gecko Artists’ Show was conceived last year as a way to highlight and show appreciation for the participating artists."
Artists from Gulfport or with ties to Gulfport were chosen from those who submitted a concept during an open call earlier in the year. They have volunteered their time and talent to create a gecko for this year’s auction.
Patsi Aguerro’spalette infuses tropical hots and cools on canvases, celebrating the human spirit. She is a veteran educator and continues to teach the young, old and differently-abled. Heat, color, passion and wit are the elements of Patsi's artistic language.
Michael Chapman works in several media including watercolor, acrylics, ink, sculpture and mixed media. He started painting as a young man and developed his unique style which has led to a successful career in art.
Suzanne Harding is a mixed media artist who loves to bring whimsy and color to her work. Her assemblages, paper constructions and oil paintings have been shown in Provincetown, Massachusetts and acquired by private collectors throughout the country. She is currently focusing on creating “creatures” using methods including sewing, carving and assemblage. Her work can be seen at the Gulfport Beach Bazaar. She says her interest in the “weird and wonderful” is what has drawn her to Gulfport.
Jeanne Heywood, new Gulfportian, studied painting at Kent State, Baldwin Wallace and Cleveland State. She is a retired art teacher currently studying at the Morean Center in St. Petersburg. Her work features industrial objects treated in a “precious” fashion, allowing viewers “to see the common as extraordinary.”
Angela Lagan is active in the Gulfport civic community. She is also a creative “re-purposer” who uses vintage marine hardware and mixing in pieces with patina and character. Her work enables her to show her love for boating and allows the viewer to see the beauty of sailing and the ocean in new ways. Her pieces have been acquired by collectors in many private homes and local businesses.
Lenne Nicklaus-Ball works in many media and is known for her large abstract collages and ostrich egg assemblages which have been displayed in museums throughout the eastern United States. She is working on individual commission pieces and is also writing a historical fantasy novel. Her work is represented at August Vernon Studios in Gulfport. Lenne has participated as one of the “gecko artists” for the past three years.
Mary Stenov studied art at the Pratt Institute and has taught art in New York, Connecticut, Saudi Arabia and Florida. She has exhibited her work and lectured in the U.S. and abroad. She has worked in many media, including glass, wood, stone, linoleum, plaster, clay and fabric, emphasizing texture and pattern. She hopes to contribute to the community through art the wonders and joy of creating magic, using head, heart and hands.
Here is where you can find the seven geckos in the three weeks leading to the Gecko Ball:
- Boca Bay Grille
- Gulfport Beach Bazaar
- Gulfport Casino
- Gulfport Public Library
- Gulfport Welcome Center
- Historic Peninsula Inn
The annual Gecko Ball has become known as Gulfport’s Party of the Year! This year’s theme is “20,000 Geckos Under the Sea,” celebrating all things on, under and near the sea, as well as the classic 1954 film and the 1870 Jules Verne adventure novel. Décor and scenery will transport ball-goers into a vivid, colorful underwater tableau. In addition to the live auction of the artist’s geckos, the event includes dozens of silent auction items, costumes and costume contests, coronation of the Gecko Queen, catered tapas, cash bar, live music by the Big Night Out, dancing and more. The Gecko Ball takes place at the Gulfport Casino Ballroom (5500 Shore Blvd.). Tickets are $35 each and available at Gulfport Beach Bazaar (3115 Beach Blvd.), Gulfport Welcome Center (3101 Beach Blvd.) or online with a credit or debit card at VisitGulfportFlorida.com.
A portion of proceeds from Gecko Ball, as well as Gulfport’s Gecko Pub Crawl (August 13) and GeckoFest (September 3) will benefit the Gulfport Historical Society and First Florida Frontiers.
All Gecko events are sponsored by the non-profit Gulfport Merchants Association. For more information go to visitgulfportflorida.com, geckofest.com or facebook.com/geckoball, or email John Haugen at email@example.com.