Artist Wanted for Battle to the Not-Quite-Death

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BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY AUG 14, 2019

Though the last official Art Battle in Sarasota came to a conclusive end this past January, with Judy Robertson emerging victorious, another skirmish is set to break out this Thursday, this time at the Art Ovation Hotel in Downtown Sarasota. The prize will be a week as the artist-in-residence in the Art Ovation studio, and previous Art Battle finalists Karen Chandler and Mara Torres will face off in a duel of painterly combat at the event, but they will be joined this time by a mysterious “Wild Card” challenger, to be selected from the audience on the day of.

No one will be dragged to the easel against their will, but anyone in attendance can enter their name for consideration, regardless of previous artistic experience or training. Here’s how it works.

From 5pm to 5:30pm, the crowd will gather in the Art Ovation lobby for this free-to-attend “Sizzling Summer Skirmish,” and everyone is welcome to throw their hat in the ring as a potential challenger. At 5:30pm, the Wild Card challenger will be selected at random and all three artists—Chandler, Torres and the Wild Card—will be given paints, canvas, brushes and all the assorted painting necessities, before being seated at their easels. At 5:45pm, the contest begins.

Artists are given 30 minutes to paint whatever they may desire, but no reference materials are allowed—meaning no photographs or sketches or anything of the sort. At 6:15pm, the audience casts their votes for the best painting or painter, and a winner is announced by 6:30pm. The winner will then receive a week as artist-in-residence at Art Ovation Hotel, at a time to be determined by the artist and hotel management.

And while this skirmish may not be an official part of Art Battle International, says Lisa DiFranza, cultural curator at Art Ovation Hotel, it serves as a fun way to keep the blood up between January battles. More importantly, it’s one more opportunity for Art Ovation to allow guests and visitors a look at artists at work and a peek behind the artistic veil.

“It’s always exciting to get more engaged with the process of art-making,” DiFranza says. “That’s what we’re all about—so people engage not just with the art on the walls, but with the creative process and what’s behind it.”

The Sizzling Summer Skirmish begins at 5pm this Thursday, August 15. Artist-in-residence Bart Blankenship will also be on hand, playing music from the electric guitars he makes out of cigar boxes and shovels and more.

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