GULFPORT - Eight large steel geckos will be the centerpiece of a live auction to benefit a planned public art installation in Gulfport’s Waterfront District.
Each of the larger-than-life steel geckos has been hand-decorated in a variety of media by local artists and will be displayed in locations throughout the Gulfport Waterfront District through Friday, Aug. 24. The geckos will be up for auction during this year’s Gecko Ball on Saturday, Aug. 25th at the historic Peninsula Inn, 2937 Beach Blvd. S. in Gulfport. Doors for the event open at 6 p.m. and the party goes on until 11 p.m.
Each gecko will be a prized collector’s art piece and will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist. Organizers initiated the Artists’ Gecko Auction three years ago with much success and due to popularity, the auction is now a part of the tradition of annual Gecko-related activities in August and September.
The eight finished geckos will be displayed at the following Gulfport locations:
- Domain Home Accessories & Gallery, 3129 Beach Blvd. - Neptune Grill, 5501 Shore Blvd. - O’Maddy’s Bar & Grille, 5405 Shore Blvd. - Peg’s Cantina & Brew Pub, 3038 Beach Blvd - Peninsula Inn & Spa, 2937 Beach Blvd. - Pia’s Trattoria, 3054 Beach Blvd. - Stella’s Deli, 3119 Beach Blvd. - T & Me Tea Co., 2908 ½ Beach Blvd. in Art Village Courtyard
Advance bids will also be accepted for geckos at their preview locations.
Artists from Gulfport or with ties to Gulfport have volunteered their time and talent to decorate a gecko. Biographical information has been contributed by the participating artists.
Peter Janus is the proprietor of Tropiki, a line of art work combining tropical art and the Tiki form, incorporating wood carving, painting and mixed media. His work is featured throughout the country in public settings, and he also sells his work and images on prints, apparel and other items, and is now working on a series of children’s books.
Derrick Antell Johnson is an award-winning artist from Baltimore and the creator of Stankin Studio, a collection of abstract, hand-crafted sculptures, home accents, wearable art and “Funkiture.”
Mary Joyner creates hand-sculptured jewelry pieces from “precious metal clay.” She also works as an apparel designer and muralist, and paints and repurposes furniture.
Owen Pach is an accomplished glass blower, working in the medium for almost 30 years. Much of his recent work also incorporates stone, forged steel and copper. He makes and displays his work in Gulfport’s Alley of the Arts.
Jonathan Schork is the founder of the schork-munsell studios 2 in Gulfport’s Alley of the Arts, where he makes and displays his work and lends his creativity and space to performance art works. He has won awards for his public sculpture and works in a spectrum of media from painting and photography through sculpture and couture, to literature, film and theatre.
Frank Strunk III is an artist from the wrong side of the tracks. His art shows nationally and internationally. He makes things out of other things, and has created a number of dynamic pieces in the field of wearable art. Victoria Anne Wenners is a mosaic artist who also works as a muralist and portraitist. She is also known as the “Empress of Henna” body decorations, setting up at outdoor venues to offer her personalized art work on flesh. Her studio in Gulfport’s Alley of the Arts is an outpost of henna body art during Art Walks and other events.
Linda Worsham blends reality and fantasy with a dollop of humor to create whimsical art using recycled paper, plastic, wire, fabric and found objects. Each of her “creatures” is imbued with a gentle spirit and a secret name heard only when you make the piece your own and speak its name.
The theme of the 2012 Gecko Ball is “Hooray for Geckowood!”
Over-the-top movie-related décor with a gecko twist will take over the entire Peninsula Inn. Admission includes a Hollywood-inspired dinner buffet, live music and dancing featuring Kevin Wilder and the Hollywood Mod Squad, commemorative posed and candid photos, cash bar and drink specials including the Geckotini and the “Seven Year Itch,” silent auctions and other surprises. Costumes are encouraged, but are not mandatory. Original sculptures by Owen Pach will be awarded to costume contest winners.
Tickets are $25 each and are available in advance with check or cash at Bo-Tiki, 3015 Beach Blvd.; Domain Home Accessories, 3129 Beach Blvd.; and T & Me Tea Co., 2908 ½ Beach Blvd. in Gulfport. Tickets may also be purchased online with a credit or debit card at GulfportMA.com.
For more information on the Gecko Ball or Artist’s Gecko Auction, call Daniel Hodge at 727-366-4086 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gecko Ball takes place one week prior to GeckoFest, Gulfport’s largest street festival of the year, on Sept. 1, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Gecko Fest is free and open to all. A portion of proceeds from each event will benefit a planned public art installation in the Waterfront District of Gulfport.