If you attend the outdoor pop-up art show, Good Vibes, on Saturday and Sunday, March 6 and 7, in Islamorada, you just might be able to sneak a peek at Maxine Trainer’s colorful art-crammed studio, which will be just a few steps away from the exhibits. 

Grab a peek at her studio, and have a friendly run-in with her beloved yapping dogs, Twitch and ChiChi. 

“Oh, look!” Trainer yelled with affection at her little barking dogs. Twitch was wagging his tail happily while ChiChi snarled, baring her teeth. “That one is the lover! And that one is neurotic! Lover! Neurotic!” she exclaimed, continuing to yell comically, pointing her finger back and forth between the wagging and snarling dogs.

Then, Trainer settled into a comfy chair in the corner of her vibrant studio, grabbed a glass of wine, and purred, “Yes, darling.” 

She told Keys Weekly about her latest news: She and her artist friends have organized the outdoor pop-up Good Vibes Art Show to benefit MarrVelous Pet Rescues and Upper Keys Humane Society. The show will feature locals such as Annie Anderson, Maria Wagner, Eleanor McCandless and many others, as well as mainlander Kricket Moros from Cocoa. 

Artwork by artist Kricket Moros, who will be at the art show.

A percentage of the profits from item sales such as prints, original canvases, hats, buffs, ceramic tiles, notecards, and more will go toward local rescue animals. Music will be deejayed by Wood Campbell, a.k.a. the “Fuzzy Buddha.”

“I’m actually doing really good,” Trainer said about her health after breast cancer treatment. “I’ve been really prolific. The past two years have been chemo treatments and artwork. The next step is to get the work out there for the public to see.”

Due to restrictions of the pandemic, Trainer has been challenged to find a place to show and sell her art. Then she had an epiphany.

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“I sat at my kitchen window with my bald head on New Year’s Eve. I felt great. I said to my artist friend Dan Davis, ‘Let’s do an outdoor pop-up.’”

He was game, so in the first two weeks of January, the two displayed their work in a tent on the Old Highway property of Trainer’s friend and landlord, Wilada Bailey. Bailey gave her full support and permission for the pop-up. 

“One woman came off the street, jogging by, and paid $4,000 for a painting,” Trainer said, her eyes big. “But it doesn’t matter if we don’t sell a thing. We meet great people and we connect and we share our message.”

Encouraged by the success of the January pop-up, Trainer set her sights on a more ambitious goal: Why not invite artists to display their work and make an exhibition to benefit rescue animals?

Hanging out with Trainer for more than two minutes, people will discover that she is completely besotted with animals. Her Facebook feed is full of photos of four-legged friends that need homes. She said over 3 million animals a year in shelters get killed —“killed, not euthanized.” 

Artist Maxine Trainer inside her studio surrounded by her art and a dog. CHARLOTTE TWINE/Keys Weekly

“I’ve always been this way about animals, since I was a kid,” she said, describing a childhood in England obsessed with animals. “I’m the one who can’t kill a cockroach.” She paused. “I draw the line at mosquitoes.” 

Joy Martin, president of MarrVelous Pet rescues, is grateful for the upcoming benefit. “I think it should be called a ‘pup-up art show,’” she said. “We’re thrilled to be involved in Maxine’s event. Any exposure for the rescue and animals in our care is always welcome. Maxine is an incredible artist and animal advocate for our community. The donated money will go toward vetting and care of our animal present and future – to include spay and neuter.”

The artists involved in the Good Vibes show also point out Trainer’s ability to build a community of artists. “She’s a phenomenal artist, but she’s also so willing to help other artists blossom and come alive,” said McCandless.

Moros agreed. “Maxine truly believes that the arts lead a culture and are essential for a vibrant community. And the show comes at a perfect time, both for us and the animals too.” 

Also on tap for Trainer: a solo exhibit at Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo, an art book about rescue animals and stained-glass classes at her studio. 

Artist Maxine Trainer working on a piece in her studio for the Good Vibes Art Show. CHARLOTTE TWINE/Keys Weekly

“I want to thank (my landlord) Wilada Bailey. Without her, the show wouldn’t be going on. Our patron saint of the arts, that’s what we call her,” said Trainer, with a laugh.

The outdoor pop-up Good Vibes Art Show will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 6 and 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 80891 Old Highway, Islamorada. For more information about the show or her stained-glass classes, call Trainer at 321-652-6363.

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Charlotte Twine fled her New York City corporate publishing life and happily moved to the Keys six years ago. She has written for Travel + Leisure, Allure, and Offshore magazines; Elle.com; and the Florida Keys Free Press. She loves her two elderly Pomeranians, writing stories that uplift and inspire, making children laugh, the color pink, tattoos, Johnny Cash, and her husband. Though not necessarily in that order.