80 eclectic artist comprise Cool Art Show in downtown St. Pete

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Eighty artists will speckle the downtown St. Pete Coliseum next weekend for the 26th annual Cool Art Show.

And it is cool.

Paintings, sketches, jewelry, metal work, glass, wood, you name it, it’s there.

St. Pete is home to one of the liveliest arts community in the country and next weekend more than 6,000 people are expected to roam from booth to booth checking out what local artists are up to.

One of the biggest names at the show is Ernest Simmons. His acrylics of Florida nature and animals are hauntingly realistic.

There’s Dave Lawrence, a photographer whose work has been featured all over the world.

You can even pick up some intricate wood furniture from James Parziale. He uses different grains to create patterns in things like chairs, tables and chests.

“It’s not like the bigger shows,” Cool Art Show organizer Connie Parkinson said. “It’s just really great people.”

That’s because at this show, the artists want to talk to you. They want to tell you about their work. They love it and they want to sell it to you.

The show is put on by the Professional Association of Visual Artists. Each artist has to submit three pieces of art to a jury of other artists. They also have to show what their booth looks like.

“You have to have a nice booth,” Parkinson said.

There are about 20 artists who didn’t make the cut.

The show runs July 19th and 20th from 10am-5pm. Parkinson recommends coming in the afternoon to beat the rush. The show is free and open to the public.

The best part is you can browse the art wine in hand.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.