Pigeon Key artist charts her own path

Pigeon Key artist charts her own path

Nautical maps turn to treasure

Three years ago, simple nautical boating charts, filled with blues and greens and depth numbers, were cluttering a friend’s garage and were about to be trashed.

“I think you can do something with these,” a friend told this year’s 2016 Pigeon Key Art Festival poster artist Carly Mejeur, “and, if you make something nice out of it, I want one.”

His wish was granted, as Mejeur began painting sea life-themed paintings on the chart “canvas.”

“We are so happy to have Carly as our poster artist,” said festival director Jill Snodgrass. “Her artwork is so cool and unique.”

Artists are invited to make a submission to be the poster artist, and Mejeur, a Lantana, Florida resident, came across the details in a Wyland newsletter. Wyland is, of course, the world-famous marine artist who will also be present at the festival. “I’ve seen him live painting before, and am very excited to meet him in person,” she said. Both artists try to bring awareness to South Florida marine conservation through their paintings.

After personally signing 200 posters over the weekend, Mejuer joked that she is worried about her hand getting tired. “This is definitely the biggest thing I’ve done so far,” she said. “When I called to reserve a hotel room and everything was sold out, I immediately thought that this event is going to be bigger than I thought.”

She received a Master’s in Art Education at Maryland Institute College of Art and immediately started teaching art at Palm Beach Maritime Academy. After having her son Cody, who is now 10 months, her husband convinced her she could make an income off her artwork, especially after friends were fighting over who would keep the much-coveted Bahamian nautical chart with turtles on it.

“They teach you art in college, but they don’t teach you how to be a businessperson,” she said. “Thank goodness my husband has a background in business.”

This will be her first time at the event, and she is mostly looking forward to meeting so many like-minded artists while in town.

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The 22nd Annual Pigeon Key Art Festival, taking place Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 6-7 at Marathon Community Park, features more than 70 artists, plein air artist’s painting, sip and paint classes, and children’s activities designed to explore the kids’ artistic abilities. The big draw will be watching Wyland paint on-site and then auctioning off the work to the highest bidder. In addition, organizers plan 30-minute interactive programs on stage and live music. Admission is $7 for both days, children under 12 are free.

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