Art fair at Tioga offers 'something different'


Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 5:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 5:19 p.m.

Donna Land stood in a jewelry booth and examined a pair of orange-and-blue patterned earrings.

"These are good!" she exclaimed to her friend, Jeannie Bobroff.

Land was one of many who attended the Winter Fine Art Fair at Tioga Town Center Saturday. The event, sponsored by the Gainesville Fine Arts Association, started Friday and ends Sunday. It starts at 10 a.m. and concludes Sunday evening at 6.

This is the show's sixth year, and it is free and open to the public. About 90 artists are participating.

Land said she came to the fair because it seemed like a fun thing to do.

"It's interesting art," she said. "If people come here, they will see something different."

White tents lined the streets of the plaza and people strolled through the center, peering into booths along the way. A live band filled the area with music, and food vendors sold pizza, kettle corn and more.

Show director Helen Rucarean said she started planning the fair in August. She said the fair often brings in more business for Tioga's restaurants and shops.

"Tioga's only 6 year old, and we were the first art fair here. We've grown up together," she said. "It's been very successful."

While a good number of the artists were local, there were some who traveled from out of town.

Wood-inlay artist Jeff Nelson flew from New York to show his work at the fair. He said he's been involved in two art shows at Tioga before, and he typically sees a good response. He said he's seen a lot of people who appreciate art this weekend.

"There's high-quality work here," he said. "It's a neat place."

Nelson said he thinks it's important for potential buyers to attend events like the fair to see art in person.

"You can look at it on a computer screen or a website, but they just look like photographs," he said. "People can interact with the work and meet with the artists."

Roz Miller, the public relations director for the event, said they expect to see several thousand people pass through over the course of the weekend.

"I think the best compliment for any event is when people come back," Miller said. "This wouldn't continue year after year if it wasn't appreciated and supported by the community."

Miller said even people who come not intending to buy art might leave with something.

"You see something you weren't expecting and say, 'I can't live without that,'" she said.

Gainesville resident Rhiannon Pitkin brought her 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son to the fair. She said she came to support a friend's mother who is displaying work at the event.

"It's nice to look and see what the local art scene is doing," she said. "It's lovely for families."

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