Serita Gay constructs the Susan McClendon Art Workshop. [ Valentina Webb ]
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Creating an artist’s legacy

The passing five years ago of a beloved member of the St. George Island artistic community is breathing new life into the arts at the Holy Family Center.

On Sept. 5, the Elder Care Community Council of Franklin County hosted the first of a series of Susan McClendon Art Workshops, sponsored by the St. George Island Book Club.

Seventeen attendees and instructor took part in the first Susan McClendon Art Workshop. [ Valentina Webb ]

McClendon, who died in 2018 at the age of 66, had retired with her husband Jim to the island, where she kindled a post-career passion for painting watercolors, acrylics, and pastels. After her passing, members of the St. George Island Book Club, where McClendon was a regular participant, established a fund in her memory.

Susan McClendon

That fund will present a series of classes taught by local artists, available at no cost to adults of all ages, on topics ranging from acrylic painting to nature journaling to fused-glass art.

Warranetta Key, who also volunteers as a driver for the Meals on Wheels program, paints during the workshop. [ Valentina Webb ]

Ellen Ashdown, a member of the book club attended the first event and presented instructor Serita Gay with the stipend for the class, in which 17 participants painted in the Holy Family auditorium under Gay’s careful instructions to both beginners and experienced painters. “It seemed like everyone was thoughtfully engaged in their painting,” said Terry Kemp, a member of the book club. “It is a testimony to Susan’s belief that everyone has an artistic spirit just waiting to emerge. Thank you to ECCC for helping to make that happen.” 

Laura Sienkiewicz of Carrabelle takes part in the painting workshop. [ Valentina Webb ]
Tasia Jones with the painting she created at the Susan McClendon Art Workshop. [ Valentina Webb ]

The upcoming Apalach Porch Fest on Saturday, Oct. 21 will raise funds in support of ECCC with the Ukulillies opening up the Fest at 11 a.m. at Lafayette Park. The Ukulillies practice every Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Holy Family Senior Center and everyone is welcome to join in. 

Mary Whitesell creates a painting at the workshop. [ Valentina Webb ]

ECCC is also delighted to be partnering with the Ilse Newell Concert Series as it continues with concerts at Holy Family, with details to be announced soon. 

ECCC asks for continued community support to help bridge the gaps in services to those over age 65 living in Franklin County. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, please call 850-370-0116. Also, please email ECCC at to join the mailing list for the next workshop, which will be about nature journaling later this fall. 

Elinor Mount Simmons paints at the art workshop. [ Valentina Webb ]

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David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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