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Geckos in Gulfport, Watch Out!

Meet the eight talented artists who created one-of-a-kind gecko pieces to be auctioned off at this year's Gecko Ball, "Geckowood!" From a golden Oscar to a new species called Geckosaurus, the show-stopping art pieces are sure to shine.

You're Invited to Geckowood!

Lights, camera, action!

Ladies, show off that glamorous gown. Gentlemen, don't forget your cuff links and bow ties . . . The red carpet will be ready for your arrival on Saturday, Aug. 25, at the historic _Peninsula Inn.

Party-goers are encouraged to dress up for this ravishing event. Guests are encouraged to buy tickets now! Learn all about where to get your ticket in our article, _"Hooray for Geckowood! Comes to Gulfport." Don't forget to bring your cash, because the main event of the evening is the annual gecko live auction.

Origin of the Gecko Live Auction

Eight steel geckos have come alive with the artistic visions of several local artists. The one-of-a-kind pieces will be sold to the highest bidder during the third annual live auction. The live auction began in 2010, right before the second Gecko Ball. A Gulfport Merchants Association member took notice of the GeckoFest Gala and Auction in Bradenton. The idea to try their own fundraising effort featuring local artists came just a few weeks before the big event. However, Artist Owen Pach took the lead on the project and connected with two friends of his who helped make it happen and have continued to donate to the cause ever since.

Pach reached out to Russ Hunt with Alro Metals Plus in Clearwater and Michael Faour with HydroKnife in Tampa. Hunt donated the steel and Fauor cut geckos out of the sheets. In 2010, five geckos were auctioned off. Six were sold last year. This year the amount has grown to include eight original pieces.

Pach says Hunt made a generous donation this year; two 4" by 10" prime pieces of steel sheets; the most expensive materials available to consumers.

Funds from last year's live auction were used to install public art in Gulfport. Organizers plan to use the funds again this year to install more art in the city.

Bid on the Geckos Today

Up until Saturday afternoon, anyone can stop by the local businesses and bid on the geckos by placing the amount on the sheet. Then, stop by the auction aorund 9 p.m. on Saturday (even if you don't have a ticket) and see if your bid is the highest or if you have to up the bid.

Meet the Artists

Each artist was given the same steel gecko. It was up to them to create a masterpiece. The geckos are on display now at the following downtown businesses.

What is your inspiration for this year's gecko?

“My job in life is to make things and I just really love making things. So, because I haven’t had continuous access to a furnace the last several years, I’ve sord of moved into a new direction and that new direction is metal. So now I’m working with forging and hammered copper and that sord of has been my inspiration,” - Owen Pach

“Mosaic; all the little pieces of people coming together and fitting different shapes and pieces together, to me that represents Gulfport. That was my inspiration, bringing pieces together. It's kind of the Hollywood theme . . . it's gold, so his name is Oscar!" - Victoria Wenners

“I had these materials laying around, I just started arranging them on the blank (gecko), and I felt like alright, I can do that. In part it was because I was expecting everyone else was going to do something a little abstract so I decided to go (with) something a little bit more representational/ biological. So it has a name, it’s a genus of species. Geckosaurus, Gulfportiana." - Jonathan Schork

“Most of the times my pieces just tell me what they want to be. A sense of humor kind of mixing reality and fiction with a big dollop of humor.” - Linda Worsham

“I do mixed media. I love to do jewelry, I have some ribiting, I’ve done some forging on it and I’ve done painting. I do wall murals and that type of thing too. I tried to create it so I have a little piece of everything that I do in my artwork.” - Mary Joyner

“This is my third year doing this and I figured I would just have more fun with it this year. After being to the other events, I was very festive and I thought you know I’m just going to have fun with it. Do something, stay within my comfort zone, create something that I would hang in my house.” - Frank Strunk III

“My inspiration comes from rhythm because every time I let the rhythm take over it makes my hands do a funky dance and I got a chance to dance all over this gecko and I just want to show, it just brought fun and funk through my fingers and it was a wonderful ride.” - Derrick Johnson

“Just to make people laugh and smile.” - Peter Janus

Contact the Artists

  • Peter Janus: petejanus@yahoo.com or (727) 656-3395
  • Derrick Johnson: stankinstudios2004@yahoo.com
  • Frank Strunk III: www.frankstrunk.com
  • Mary Joyner: www.maryjoyner.com
  • Linda Worsham: lindajhw@yahoo.com
  • Jonathan Schork: jonathanschork@aol.com
  • Victoria Wenners: www.facebook.com/victoryhenna
  • Owen Pach: Owenpachglass@gmail.com
Daniel Hodge August 16, 2012 at 01:41 PM
These geckos are amazing works of art. Many thanks to these talented artists for contributing their time, creativity and materials. This year's Gecko Auction will be momentous!
Lori Rosso August 21, 2012 at 02:06 PM
You can start bidding on each of these gecko works of art. There is a silent auction sheet at each location.
BoozN August 25, 2012 at 03:35 PM
...if anyone knows of any tickets that are available for the ball tonight, I need one... Thanks...

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