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Local artist exhibits work at public library

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When patrons walk into the Spring Hill Library during the months of April and May, they’ll have the opportunity to experience more than their normal book selection. They see an art gallery in the library’s main room that features the colorful portraits of an area artist who explores and displays the radiance of nature.

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Longtime Nature Coast Art League member and spokesperson Jana Withers, who is also the owner of the “Let It Be Art Studio” located in Spring Hill, is the artist exhibiting eight oil-on-linen portraits on the walls of the Spring Hill Library. This will be an ebullient gallery show resulting from a partnership enacted between the league and the Hernando County Library System. “It is always a joy to see others enjoy your art as much as you did creating it,” said Jana Withers.
One of the paintings titled “Docked” is an 8×10 oil-on-linen panel painted on location during the October 2021 Tarpon Springs Art Association Paint and Photo event. It was sold on the first day of the exhibit. The other paintings included are “A New Day,” an 8-by-10 portrait of a deer standing in foliage, the 8-by-10 “Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Baby Bear,” a 5-by-7 portrait of a teddy bear.

“I became a member of NCAL in 2004 when our name was Spring Hill Art League. At that time the Spring Hill Library displayed artwork for our ‘Artist of the Month’ winner. Later they opened up space for a ‘Featured Artist’ where multiple works could be exhibited and we changed our name to Nature Coast Art League. Because the Art League general meetings are September thru May, it was decided to open up the ‘Featured Artist’ exhibit to non-members to insure year round exhibits. Today, NCAL member Yolanda Barreto coordinates our Artist of the Month and schedules exhibits year round at the Library. The exhibits are currently 2 months in duration and I believe she has artists scheduled to exhibit thru next year or more,” said Withers.
A conservationist, artist and educator, Jana Withers states on her website that her goal as an artist is to create art for the love of art and seek ways to make the ordinary into extraordinary! Her preferred artistic expression is “en plein air,” with images capturing the vibrancy and beauty of the outdoors.

“How I view life and how it should be portrayed creatively changes every day. I do believe it is more important now than ever before to create art that entertains,” she writes on her website www.janawithers.com. “Capturing a moment in time that makes someone smile or appreciate the beauty around them, is what I hope to achieve as an artist. If my visual artwork creates joy, then I will have succeeded in making our world a better place.”

Withers studied fine art at the Foropoulos School of Art in Tarpon Springs and studied independently with both nationally and internationally acclaimed artists. She also has displayed her work at Loudon House Gallery, Ruth Eckerd Hall, The Beck Gallery, Leepa Rattner Museum of Art, Pasco Hernando State College, Dunedin Fine Arts, and Pasco Fine Arts and More. Currently she has work exhibited at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center, the Spring Hill Library, and the Uptown Art Gallery in Brooksville.

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“We always look forward to the opportunity the Spring Hill Library has afforded us to showcase the artwork of our Nature Coast Art League members. Many folks may not be aware of the talent within our community and these displays will be admired by all who enter. It may also encourage them to seek out our league and become part of a group where artists love to gather,” said President of Nature Coast Art League Linda Graves.

Operations Coordinator of the Hernando County Public Library System Colleen Ludington, has released a HCPL statement (specially prepared for Art Beat) that chronicles the library system’s fruitful relationship with NCAL and the Hernando arts scene. The statement reads, “The Hernando County Public Library started collaborating with the Nature Coast Art League (NCAL) a few years after they opened the Spring Hill Branch Library in 2006. This branch of the Hernando County Library System displays art pieces from members of the NCAL group of artists. Those members then vote on a special piece to be displayed in a different area of the library on a monthly basis. A biography of the artist is displayed next to their art pieces to provide an interesting history of the artist and their approach to painting. We look forward to reaching out and working with the talented art-based organizations in Hernando County in the future. We want to provide our community with exhibits that create a nurturing environment and cultivate a culture that brings community together, inspires collaboration, and enriches lives. With these valuable benefits the art community provides, it is something worth investing in. The Hernando County Public Library will continue to embrace art exhibits as a conduit to facilitate community involvement and raise awareness of local art groups and artists. With the many other resources the library has to offer its public, community art exhibits are an expeditious method to engage visitors of all ages and backgrounds.”

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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