Mara Torres-González, left, creating the painting that made her a finalist at last January's Art Battle. She and Karen Chandler will be partaking in this month's Summer Skirmish at Art Ovation.

On the evening of Thursday, Aug. 15, you can watch artists paint under pressure as you sip a cocktail at the sleek bar in the Art Ovation Hotel lobby. Summer Skirmish is a free collaboration between the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County and Art Ovation in which Sarasota Art Battle finalists Karen Chandler and Mara Torres-González paint it out against each other and against a mysterious “Wild Card” painter. The Wild Card will be chosen at random before the 30-minute competition, and you’re invited to volunteer to be picked as the Wild Card.

The Summer Skirmish is not a direct offshoot of the Art Battle, but it was born out of the event’s success and involves the same concept of painting under pressure. More than 300 people attended Art Battle at the Selby Public Library, and Judy Robertson, the winner of the 20-minute contest, is advancing to a South Florida Art Battle that will take place in December. 

Audiences will vote on the Summer Skirmish winner, who will receive bragging rights as a prize. And, of course, the winner will also have the opportunity to be featured in the lobby studio, where Art Ovation spotlights a new artist’s work each week.

Chandler and Torres-González have had their work displayed around the country in permanent collections, as well as temporary exhibitions. Chandler is affiliated with the NASA Space Art and United States Air Force Art Programs, and she not only creates traditional oil paintings, but also images that blend computer, acrylic and photographic art. Torres-González works with acrylic, encaustic and resin art, and she has also lived her passion for creating through a nearly 20-year career in event and floral design.

Events like the Summer Skirmish enrich Art Ovation’s creative identity as a champion of the arts. The hotel features two other galleries which showcase different artists’ collections every three and six months, and it also offers guests the chance to check out an instrument during their stay. Plus, each room has a ukulele.

Summer Skirmish takes place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Art Ovation Hotel, 1255 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. If you are interested in a chance to be the Wild Card painter, you must arrive at the hotel between 5 and 5:30 p.m.

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