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An artistic expression of appreciation

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When folks visit Hernando Beach, they’ll now be greeted by a new welcome sign that is both beautiful and functional! This is a work of art that represents a labor of love between area organizations and a proud local artist. The welcome sign is the masterwork of Artist, Art Teacher, and Construction Professional Linda Tartaglione. The sign is meticulously hand cut and hand-painted, intended to illustrate a welcome message inviting all to enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, diving, and more. The sign’s back side sends a thanks to those who have visited Hernando Beach. “We wanted a sign to identify the beach, to welcome people,” said Bill Roberts, president of the Hernando Beach Property Owners Association.

The 66X44 sign was made possible through the partnership between the Hernando County Fine Arts Council and the Hernando Beach Property Owners Association. In 2021, the HBPOA applied for a HCFAC community arts grant to design, craft, and erect a new sign for their community. The grant, awarded in the amount of $1,000, was awarded in November 2021, and then the new sign was unveiled on Oct. 7 at 4545 Shoal Line Blvd. The project’s mission is reflected in the HBPOA’s arts grant application.

“The project will be an original work to display an artistic expression of appreciation for visitors and residents of Hernando Beach,” the application read. “The project will provide a means for our local artists to showcase a piece that fits our community’s sense of joy for where we live.”

Bill Roberts stated, “The sign was handmade by the association’s resident artist. It is 64 pounds, and has been pressure tested and sealed to withstand the elements. This is going to last a while.” In fact, Tartaglione has created signs for neighbors to use at their homes and businesses, as well as artworks of wood, copper, and brass. For this project, she chose wood and paints in rich coastal colors as her media. “I love this idea, and being able to do this for the people of this area,” Tartaglione said. “I’m truly blessed.”

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On hand at the Oct. 7 dedication was Beth Putnam, chairperson of the Hernando County Fine Arts Council. “We are so pleased to help make this project possible,” she told the crowd gathered for the unveiling. “It benefits a great community and involves a local artist.”

Putnam also is pleased to support the creation of art on the west side of Hernando County.”We love to see more art projects on this side of the county,” she said. “Art is important to a community.”

Tartaglione expressed great appreciation for the arts council grant. “The $1,000 covered my labor and supplies to create the sign, which has symbols of all of the elements of Hernando Beach, things people can do,” she said. “And I included the logo for the Hernando County Fine Arts Council.”

Artist Linda Tartaglione at the unveiling of her “Welcome to Hernando Beach” sign

Also present was Hernando Beach Artist and Arts Council Vice Chair Diane Ziemski, she stated, “As she was creating the sign, she would ask me to check her work. I assured her she was doing just fine and her sign turned out beautifully.”

Putnam does indeed see a bright future for this very welcoming and wonder-filled artwork. “Thousands of people who drive through Hernando Beach will see this sign.”

Hernando Beach’s very own artist designed and crafted the sign. HCFAC would like to take this opportunity to thank HBPOA for their Community Grant application and other applicants from 2021. We are proud to showcase Artist Linda Tartaglione for her skilled design and workmanship and believe her artwork will be seen by thousands passing through Hernando Beach. 2023 Community Grant applicants will be notified in December of 2022.

At the new Hernando Beach sign unveiling

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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