By: Kathy L. Collins


During the month of July, the talented artists who are members of the East Hillsborough  Art Guild (EHAG) are featured on the art wall and glass art case at the Bruton Memorial Library located at 307 McLendon St. in historic downtown Plant City. The exhibit is open to the public during the normal operating hours of the library.


There are 14 artists in the show. The exhibit demonstrates that the artists have different passions and inspirations, but all of the artwork is beautifully detailed and creative. Included in the show is a piece by Richard Wagner, the current president of EHAG. Wagner studied art in school, but then did not paint for 54 years. After he retired, he took up painting and is now an accomplished artist who has won numerous awards.


The show is chaired by long time EHAG member, Nancy Driscoll who has a painting in the show. Driscoll’s medium is oil. Her paintings have won awards at both the Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show and the Hillsborough County Fair.


Another artist who is featured in the show is Eleanor McDade. In the early 1990’s the Art Guild (then known as the Plant City Art Club) ran into trouble when the president announced that she could no longer take on the responsibilities of the Guild. McDade volunteered to be president and is credited with helping create EHAG as it is now known. McDade’s work can be found all across the country in public, private and corporate venues.


In addition to the wall of paintings, there are miniatures on display in a glass case to the right as guests enter the library. The miniatures were created by two award winning artists, Gunni Price and Meletha Everette.


EHAG has been advancing and promoting art and the passion of artists from Eastern Hillsborough County for more than 30 years. EHAG is busy throughout the year holding several events. These include the library exhibit and the a fall show. EHAG presents A Christmas Showing of Fine Art the first week in December. Last year the event was held for the first time at the Plant City Entertainment theatre. Driscoll said, “Our members display their works among beautiful holiday decorations. Complimentary wine and cheese is served to guests.”


Members of EHAG are also responsible for several successful juried shows that draw hundreds of participants. These include the Hillsborough County Art Show held during the Hillsborough County Fair and the annual Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Arts Show. Deborah and Mike Bryant and Mary Jane and Richard Wagner have been instrumental in turning these shows into outstanding shows that draw sponsors and visitors as well as artists from all over the area and beyond.


Driscoll said, “We are proud of our Strawberry Festival Show, planned and directed by our talented and efficient Debra Bryant, assisted by her husband, photographer, Mike Bryant. Debra is an outstanding portrait artist who is proficient in landscapes as well.”


In addition to shows, EHAG sponsors a scholarship program. Driscoll said, “This year we were pleased to present this monetary award to the MacDonald Training Center to be used for their art program.”


Driscoll added, “We hope that our efforts inspire artists and non-artists to appreciate the importance, the beauty, and the significance of art, and to recognize that it is omnipresent in everyone’s life.”


EHAG meets once a month at the GFWC Woman’s Club of Plant City located at 1110 N. Wheeler St. in Plant City. Meetings are held on the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m. There is no meeting in June or July and the first meeting of the year after the summer break is held on the last Monday in August. There is no September meeting. At the first meeting, the members hold a “Show and Tell” where they show off the work they created over the summer. The public is welcome to attend the meetings.


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