art
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Suzanne Holt has set about the serious pursuit of discovering her fun side. She fabric-on-canvas game is strong, and her alcohol ink work is on point. And, it’s happy.

Holt is having her first show at Shady Palm Art Gallery in Marathon starting this weekend. The work will be on display through Dec. 23. The opening reception is Friday, Dec. 8 from 5 to 9 p.m. — wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres will also be served.

“It feels strange. This is the first time I’ve shown my work,” she said.

The show is made possible with a grant from Anne McKee Artist’s Fund Grant. Because art is a sideline for Holt, that’s a help.

The fabric-on-canvas pieces have more in common with “art quilts.” She said she started them a few years ago, a desire to explore the creative talents that seemed to come so easily to her sisters. The fabric-on-canvas came not long after, growing out of an afternoon of crafts with her granddaughter, and materials on hand.

“It came out so good! And it was so fun,” said Holt.

The fabric collages include bits and pieces of everything — natural seashells, metal bits, glass beads and even tissue paper hand tinted with the aforementioned alcohol ink. The alcohol ink drawings are bright and cheerful pops of color with subject matter ranging from fish to flowers to abstract.

Holt is inspired by the Keys environment.

“If what I create is a pale reflection of what we are surrounded by everyday, then it’s worked out,” she said.

This is a huge departure from Holt’s regular workday. She is the director of operations for the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition. Her career is mostly in nonprofit administration. She said her work is about prevention — “We help people stay housed with rental and utility assistance so they don’t fall into homelessness.”

Holt’s work ranges in size from half-foot square to pieces as large as 24 by 30 inches. Prices range from $60 to $600.

Shady Palms Gallery is located at 2888 U.S.1, in front of the Marathon Government Center.

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Sara Matthis
Sara Matthis thinks community journalism is important, but not serious; likes weird and wonderful children (she has two); and occasionally tortures herself with sprint-distance triathlons, but only if she has a good chance of beating her sister.

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