Out of the Box

March 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Out Of The Box

Tybee, we did you proud!

Mary Anne Street

Many entities came together to make the Porcelain Painter’s event a smash success. In case you forgot or didn’t know, we had 160 guests come onto Tybee (many of them teachers of porcelain painting in their communities) to attend 4-day classes on various methods concerning porcelain hand-building and painting. We also had 12 world-class teachers from such places as Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and cities in the U.S. to participate in the GA Seminars by the Sea Porcelain Art School.  One teacher is said to be THE finest portrait painter on porcelain IN THE WORLD—here on Tybee!

If you’ve never seen this work, you should take a look on line. It is absolutely fabulous and the skills and artistic expression these people put into their art is amazing. The door prize piece the World Organization gave us for our drawing is exquisite—so many commented that it looked like a photograph, but it wasn’t. It was hand painted on porcelain and fired by Manuel Filipe Pereira, one of the more colorful teachers Filipe is founder of the International Centre of Porcelain Painters in Venezuela (1985), and collaborator of the Bolivian Association of Porcelain Painting. He was delightful and made us all laugh; and his art …..Wow!

Photo by Nancy Heffernan

This was the 3rd year for the event, and as it’s been growing steadily, the organizers asked the Tybee Arts Association (TAA) for help. We wanted to make the artists feel welcome, so they would want to come back to Tybee so we started planning our part in the Seminars last fall. Many other Tybee entities came together for this as well.

We decided to give the artists tote bags filled with goodies.  Lindsay Fruchtl, Tybee Tourism Marketing Coordinator got us most of the Tybee totes (wonderful black bags with lime-green writing on them); and Sandy’s By the Shore and Tybee Vacation Rentals filled in with the rest. Greg Stoeffler of the DeSoto Hotel gave us delightful bookmarks for the totes; and several shops contributed coupons for discounts.

The TAA wanted to give each guest a “bit of Tybee” so we had a “turtle- making” evening where we made mall turtles. Rebecca Rice, a TAA leader, fired and painted them, and they were part of the welcome bags. We assembled small bags which held sand, a few shells, and a sign that said, “Take a little of Tybee with you.” We also became volunteers to help the director, Ms. Suzanne Painter with details and things she needed.

The Tybee Island Light House opened on Tuesday—their normal day off—to let the people see one of our star attractions, and Linda Odom of Tales of the South and myself did a free tour of Savannah and Tybee for the guests.

A highlight of the ten-day event was a welcome dinner held Friday, Feb. 26th at Stayce Jarrell’s home (she’s the owner of Oceanfront Cottages and most of the guests were staying in her properties). Her home showcased some of Tybee’s finest views of the marsh and water, and we witnessed a breath-taking sunset.

What a way to show people Tybee’s natural beauty. Lannie Jarrell cooked a low-country boil—a southern “special” tradition, other southern fare, and we wowed the people with our southern cuisine. The Tybee Arts Association brought delectable desserts, wine and beverages, and served as hosts and hostesses for the special guests. I was present, and had more than just a few people come up to me and say how welcome they felt, and how wonderful Tybee was.

Evidently, Ms. Painter waits years for some of the premier teachers to come to teach. We now have several of them keeping dates open because they love Tybee. One teacher canceled an appearance in Japan for next year, just because he loves Tybee so much, and wants to be here again for this event.

Another highlight was when we presented Ms. Suzanne Painter with a Proclamation from Mayor Buelterman. Ms. Painter has brought much business to Tybee in the last three years, and is helping to secure Tybee as an art destination, something the TAA is striving for.  She is delightful, full of life and vigor, never tires, always smiles, and works long, hard hours on these Seminars. She fought hard to get the Seminars going here because she felt it was so wonderful, and the TAA felt she deserved recognition.

Rebecca Rice and Chantel Morton, Tybee’s Better Hometown Coordinator, wrote a terrific proclamation and our Mayor attended the dinner and was charming in presenting the award. Ms. Painter was very pleased and so were her colleagues and peers. (She is quite a fine porcelain painter herself.)

The Porcelain Painters gave us four scholarships to award as we saw fit. We gave two to the Savannah Arts Academy, and Ms. Ang and Ms. Taylor accepted the “hand-building classes”—a thrill for the young, gifted high school artists. We offered the other two scholarships to SCAD, but as it was the end of the semester, and students really couldn’t afford four days off at that critical time, we instead offered them to TAA members. Ms. Alice Gerber and Mary Lou Vandenberg were the recipients. It was great that the Tybee Arts Association could reach out into the community and include Savannah Arts as well as our own artists.

The Poreclain Painters’ Art School opened its doors on Sunday February 28th to allow the public a peek at the actual classes, the art pieces, and to watch the masters at work. This was also a fund-raiser for TAA to help build our coffers for future art events and classes. The event was a smashing  success and many were able to see the heart and soul of porcelain art; plus, there was a drawing for two fabulous pieces: one a porcelain piece done by Manuel Filipe Pereira, and a piece done by TAA artist Rebecca Rice.

All around, this year’s Georgia Seminars by the Sea Porcelain Painter’s Retreat was amazing; we had these fine, WORLD-class artists on our island, and our community worked TOGETHER to make them feel welcomed and appreciated—a win-win for everybody.

Mary Anne

Mary Anne Street is Concierge for Tybee Vacation Rentals. She may be contacted for comments at: tybeeconcierge@tybeevacationremtals.com

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