On Saturday, June 13, 2007, artists, authors, and archaeologists, and people of all ages gathered at the Randell Research Center for a day-long celebration of Pineland, past and present.

artist sitting in front of a half-finished canvas
Vicki Nichols works on a painting.

Co-sponsored by the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce and the RRC, the event featured over 20 painters, sculptors, potters, and jewelry-makers who entertained visitors with their works. Children enjoyed coloring, face-painting, and watching balloon creatures being made especially for them. Also of interest to many were demonstrations of ancient crafts by Robin Brown, Dick Workman, and John Beriault. FPAN archaeologist Kara Bridgman Sweeney and RRC volunteers sifted archaeological deposits from the Pineland site, and welcomed visitors to try their hand at sifting and identifying the finds.

Meanwhile, the new RRC classroom hosted five lectures by authors, who signed their books for those who wished to purchase them from the RRC’s new book shop. Giving presentations were: Darcie MacMahon and William Marquardt, The Calusa and Their Legacy; Gerald and Loretta Hausman, A Mind With Wings: The Story of Henry David Thoreau; Robin Brown, The Crafts of Florida’s First People; Charles Blanchard, Boca Grande: Lives of an Island; and Robert Edic, Fisherfolk of Charlotte Harbor.


RRC docents gave guided tours of the Calusa Heritage Trail throughout the day. Other options were a “Calusa Heritage Mound Tour” through the harbor by boat with Tropic Star Cruises’ Sally Tapager, or a “Calusa Ghost Tour” with John Paeno. At dusk, everyone enjoyed a bonfire and a perform- ance by the dance troupe Danza Azteca Guadalupana. Throughout the day, Bert’s Bar and Grille from Matlacha offered hot dogs and drinks, and at dinner time home-made clam chowder and barbecue. We thank the many volunteers who welcomed visitors, helped with parking and logistics, and made our artists and performers comfortable.

We especially thank the Chamber personnel and volunteers for their hard work, and for co-sponsoring this event with the RRC. It was too much fun to do just once, so we hope to make “Art, Authors, and Archaeology” an annual affair.

This article was taken from the Friends of the Randell Research Center Newsletter Vol 6, No. 1. March 2007.