An art contest is being held for the youngsters to celebrate the opening of the new Matlacha Bridge.
The original artwork, which must depict some aspect of the old bridge, must be turned in at Bert's Pine Bay Gallery in Matlacha by Jan. 5. The artwork can be created in such mediums as pencils, pen, chalk, paint, collage, ribbons, staples and pieces of paper. The creation must fit on a standard piece of paper 8 1?2 x 11. Only one entry can be submitted per child.
The judges of the contest include Mel Meo of Bokeelia, Marie Cahill of Matlacha and Nell McGuire of Cape Coral. The winner will be announced on Friday, Jan. 11, at 6 p.m., at Bert's Pine Bay Gallery and prizes will be awarded.
Mel Meo’s original watercolor of the “Fishingest Bridge” will be available at Bert’s Pine Bay Gallery.
There will be three great prizes for each grade, plus one grand prize, as well as a small prize for every child who enters a piece of art in the contest.
"I invite all of the businesses to show some of the art entries, so that over the course of the week and weekend, people can visit all of the galleries to view the kid's art, traipsing back and forth over our long-awaited new Matlacha Bridge," Bert's Pine Bay Gallery Manager Deb Cole said.
Those business owners interested can call Cole at 283-1335 or send an email to email@example.com.
The festivities Friday, Jan. 11, will also include new artwork by Cahill and Meo. Meo's original watercolor of the "Fishingest Bridge" will also be available. Wine and apple juice will be served from 5-8 p.m., as well as pizza from Bert's. A champagne toast will be given on the porch of Bert's Pine Bay Gallery at 8 p.m.
Cole and other members of the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce are working with Lee County representatives Randy Serchie and Brian Miller to plan an official county-sanctioned ribbon-cutting ceremony that will involve everyone in the community at a later date.
She said they were told a ribbon-cutting could not be done until the construction crew moves out.
"So this is our community's own, very personal celebration of what was once built of wood and then of steel and cement, but is more importantly a bridge that brings us together," Cole said. "Without a bridge, we would not exist as a community. We would be an oyster bed in a shallow spot of Matlacha Pass, and the only way to Pine Island would be on a boat."