ArtWorks returns after last year's cancellation

Charles Nalle is one of the featured artists at the ArtWorks of Eau Gallie Fine Arts Festival.


One of Brevard County’s premier art shows is returning this month.

The 24th annual ArtWorks of Eau Gallie Fine Arts Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 20 and 21 along Highland Avenue in Melbourne’s Eau Gallie arts district.

Last year’s event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 70 artists from around the county, state and nation will participate. Student artists from many county high schools also will participate.

Live entertainment and a food court will be provided. Festival goers are encouraged to wear face masks and practice safety guidelines and protocols because of COVID-19.

One of the featured artists at this year’s event is nationally-known pottery artist Charles Nalle. The 72-year-old Melbourne Beach artist has been coming to ArtWorks since 2003.

“It’s one of my favorite art shows of the year. It’s laid-back, not a hype-big event,” said Nalle, who has been working with pottery since he took a ceramics class at the University of Delaware in the fall of 1969. “I like the event because of the proximity to my home, the ease in which the show is run, the friendliness of the people and the community spirit. It’s nice to see people in the community that you know. They also put on a nice dinner for the artists and award winners.”

Nalle, who taught pottery at Eastern Florida State College from 2007 to 2014, is looking forward to bringing several creative samples of his different kinds of vases. “I describe my work as creative abstract, contemporary work,” he said.

Although he has cut back on the number of art shows he attends, (Nalle says he only goes to 10 shows a year, all in Florida) Nalle hasn’t slowed down on his work, as seen in his 2,000-square-foot studio at 829 East Lincoln Ave. in downtown Melbourne.

“I have a very strong technical background and I like to create new forms and objects,” he said. “I’m always making something.”

ArtWorks publicist Sharon Dwyer said the event is an “en plein (in open) air” show. Artists are encouraged to create new art or demonstrate their techniques as they exhibit.

“ArtWorks provides a unique experience for the public to view artists painting outdoors, as well as other artistic craftsmen demonstrating their expertise,” she said. “ArtWorks values educating the public and instilling a deeper appreciation of art.”

In addition to the awards given for excellence in various art forms displayed at the festival, the show also gives bonus awards for the best demonstrators. Nalle has won the demonstrating award three times.

“I like to make something in front of people,” he said. “This year, I may demonstrate how to make clay masks. I want to show how you can bring people out emotionally through masks.”

The festival draws about 20,000 visitors annually. ArtWorks owes its life to the late Link Johnsten, who owned Eau Gallie Florist. When two decades ago, Johnsten was invited to create floral arrangements for the Academy Awards in California, he visited Santa Monica where he discovered a working artist festival he believed would be perfect for Brevard County.

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