"Reprinted with permission from The St. Augustine Record"

November 20, 2015

It's that time of year when we have to fasten our seat belts so all the events coming at us fast and furiously don't knock us out of our seats! Keep your calendars close so you don't miss a thing.

St Augustine lost a dear friend this month with the passing of Jan Jertson at the age of 84. Jan's love for the visual arts and music was passionate and he shared it with everyone. A long-time member of the St Augustine Art Association, he helped start the St Johns Cultural Council and remained active in the arts community until he moved to Austin to be near his beloved son, Jon. Many will remember seeing him on his front porch at 17 Bridge Street where he would sit alongside a map of the world. Engaging passersby he'd mark their city on the map so he could see how far people had traveled to visit St Augustine. An evening with Jan meant listening to the same piece of classical music performed by different musicians followed by a rousing one-sided debate as to whose rendition was the best. Jon Jertson is holding a celebration of his father's life this Saturday from 10-11am at the St Augustine Art Association, 22 Marine St. All are welcome.

There are still some tickets left for Nights of Lights in Black and White being held this Saturday evening from 6-10pm at the Ximenez-Fatio House. Tickets are $35 or $50 per couple and the proceeds benefit S.A.F.E. Rescue. Dress code is black and white (that's easy!) and there'll be swing dancing with a speakeasy band, cash bar and refreshments. Dust off your dancing shoes!

Happy 50th anniversary to the annual St Augustine Art & Craft Festival. Celebrating the Big 50, the festival will be held at Francis Field on November 28 and 29 from 10am to 5pm.This juried art fair features 150 fine artists from around the region and many mediums are represented including original visual art, pottery, jewelry, sculpture, woodworks, glass, photography and textile. The St Augustine Royal Family and a group of re-enactors will be on hand Sunday at 1pm and there is always plenty of music, food, beverages and activities for the little ones. Give the gift of original art this holiday season.

Albert Syeles tells me that Romanza will have its own Black Friday event where you can purchase discounted tickets from 11/26 – 11/30 for the Celtic Festival coming up spring of 2016. If you haven't seen the musical line-up for this upcoming show you need to visit CelticStAugustine.com for more information.This event keeps growing and getting better and better every year.

Local clay artists, Toni De Witt and Bob Heim, are holding their annual studio sale. If you like what you see at the Saturday Farmer's Market, you need to mark your calendar for December 5 and 6 where you can experience a full complement of their work in a magical setting. Call 824.1317 for directions and information.

Thomas Long is hosting his annual Studio Open House at his glassblowing warehouse at 25 Palmer St on December 5 from 4-8pm. There will be demonstrations, food, drink and a host of glass art pieces to buy for yourself or some lucky person in your life. This is always a fun event and a chance to see a variety of Thomas' art on display in the same place it is created.

Lincolnville resident artist, Joe Segal, is having a show at the Florida Mining Gallery on 5300 Shad Road in Jacksonville. Permutations shows how various arrangements of similar subjects can alter perception or evolve an idea. Joe's work is almost always created from salvaged wood beams and with this body of sculpture he has included powdered pigments to his treatment of surfaces. If you are an aficionado of his work, this is good news as the gallery is an easy trip and if you haven't experienced the power and organic beauty of Joe's art, you need to make time to go. The show is up through January 10, 2016.

Thank you Patrick Canan and Canan Law for being the local host of the 2015 Ronald McDonald Holiday Toy Drive. Toys are intended for children under 12 who are patients at Wolfson's Children's Hospital, the region's only hospital for kids. Stuffed animals, toys, arts and crafts, sport-related items, electronic and board games are all on the list and toys need to be new and unwrapped. The American Society for Testing Materials request no buttons, zippers, rhinestones, snaps and similar choking hazards. Make a difference in the life of a hospitalized child with your gift. Drop-off locations are at the main office, 1030 N Ponce de Leon Blvd (corner of US1 and Cincinnati Ave) and 2245 CR210, Suite 116.

Finally, December 1st is the deadline for ROWITA (Recognizing Outstanding Women in the Arts) nominations and Joy D'Elia and the ROWITA committee encourage you to think of women artists who have made significant contributions to the arts over their lifetimes. The criteria is listed at stjohnsculture.com and the awards ceremony will follow in the spring of next year.

The city will be lit up shortly and then the holiday season will officially commence for St Augustine. Be sure to pause from the maddening hustle bustle and enjoy some of our loveliest architecture dressed in sparkling lights. You can't stop the holidays so take your foot off the gas and embrace them.