Artist Carroll Swayze swooped in with her artistic connections in Boca Grande and elsewhere to make the first Boca Grande Artist Invitational a smashing success during the Tarpon Festival Weekend in May.
It was her way of giving back to Boca Grande after decades of accepting accolades and large commissions from island believers.
"Lew Hastings and Kevin Hyde of the Boca Grande Chamber came to me in January after I took over a little Englewood Bank showing and asked if I could do the same thing for them," Swayze said. "I thought, 'Oh, that's going to be a lot of work and it's only three months away.' But I pulled it together."
An original acrylic tarpon painting by Carroll Swayze.
The 56-year-old Swayze has been making money from her art for more than four decades. She moved to Florida from her hometown of Toronto in 1979 in search of the perfect palm tree, she said.
Her Englewood enclave just off State Road 776 is a lush little hideaway where she toils 10 hours a day to fill gallery orders and organize more than 20 artist showings a year, including some featuring as many as 400 displays in every medium known to humankind
Swayze shows in many local galleries include Paradise Gallery, Boca Grande; Autumn's Whims, Anna Maria Island; Island Style Gallery, Sanibel Island;?Koucky Gallery, Pine Island;?Lemon Tree Gallery, Englewood;? and Nancy Markoe Gallery, St Pete Beach.
She spends many hours mentoring future artists, too. And the Carroll Swayze Art Scholarship was established by the Englewood Rotary Club in 1996 to provide up to two Lemon Bay High School art student scholarships every year.
It's likely she be back for the second annual Carroll Swayze Boca Grande Artist Invitational next year, she said.
"I have loyal followers in Boca Grande," she said. "The island has taken care of me my whole life."