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“ACE” artist kicks off hardware anniversary

August 8, 2012
By BOB PETCHER, , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Artist John Gowdy is known for professional sand sculptures as well as his Flying Colors paintings at sand sculpting events on Fort Myers Beach.

On Tuesday, July 31, Gowdy took his specialized skills to Gavin's Ace Hardware at 16025 San Carlos Blvd. to kick off the business' 25th anniversary celebration. He created three paintings of more than six-feet tall and donated them to different causes.

Displaying his world-wide-acclaimed talents at this venue was a first for the New Jersey native and former Atlantic City fire fighter.

Article Photos

Flying Colors Artist John Gavin completes a painting portrait of Bruce Springsteen at Gavin’s Ace Hardware on Tuesday, July 31. The art will be raffled off at the American Sandsculpting Competition and Beach Festival during Nov. 16-25.

"I never painted in a hardware store before," he said. "This is great latex paint ladies and gentlemen."

Gowdy, who was accompanied by his Italian wife, Laura, and two boys, stated that Gavin's Ace Hardware donates paint and supplies to him while he is creating his fund-raising masterpieces at showings, such as the annual American Sandsculpting Competition and Beach Festival, World Championship of Sand Sculpting and Sand Bash, all on the Beach. He has raised $10,000 for Kiwanis clubs across Southwest Florida during those events.

Flying Colors paintings are created within 10 minutes on a spinning canvas and timed to music. Gowdy uses exceptionally good latex paint and thick quality canvas-style paper that can be transported with ease.

His first painting was a portrait of Bruce Springsteen spun to the songs, "Born in the USA" and "Glory Days." He employed a fingertip and throw paint style and donated the "Boss" art to the Greater Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, where 100 percent of the profits will be used for the nonprofit organization's "Buy-a-Bambi" (two used moveable 16-foot Airstream concession travel trailers) program.

FMB Chamber President Bud Nocera said he would raffle off the painting at the Chamber-sponsored American Sandsculpting Competition and Beach Festival during Nov. 16-25.

Gowdy attempted to raffle the painting to the highest bidder at Tuesday's event, but was unsuccessful trying to hail a $500 minimum bid. Citing he didn't have any space in his home for the large painting, patriarch John Gavin then decided to write the local chamber a $500 check to help in fund raising for the converted mobile visitor centers.

"The contributions by the Gavin family and artist John Gowdy to our Chamber's Buy-a-Bambi fundraiser came as a complete surprise and are much appreciated," said Nocera after the celebration. "It is further proof of the Gavin family's 25 years of leadership and dedication to our beach community, and a great donation by an artist who is so very popular here for his performance art and amazing sand sculpting."

Anyone can donate to the fundraising campaign to get Beach Chamber visitor information back on Fort Myers Beach by visiting the website at The fundraising goal is to raise enough money to buy and convert two Bambis by Sept. 30.

The second painting was a portrait of the late John Lennon and was completed to the songs, "The Ballad of John and Yoko" and "Come Together." That piece of art, which Gowdy painted with two brushes and finished with finger-painting techniques, is being sent to Ace Hardware Corporation in Chicago from Gavin's Ace Hardware to be used in their Children's Miracle Network fundraising campaign.

The third creation was the ACE symbol with fireworks flying out of the top of it and was spun to the song, "Wipeout." It was another gift to the local Ace Hardware, where it may be hung in the Gavin family store or possibly shipped to Chicago instead of the Lennon painting if that is the Ace Corporation's wish, according to John Gavin, president of Gavin's Ace Hardware who is also on the board of directors for the Beach Chamber.

"We met John Gowdy last November at the American Sand Sculpting event at Fort Myers Beach. Our paths crossed in our fund raising for the Adopt-A-Troops group when we were raffling off a Weber Grill and John donated one of his paintings," he said. "We supplied our new Clark & Kensington Paint + Primer In One product which he loved. We struck up a friendship that once again shows when people combine their efforts in support of the community, you can accomplish far more than you ever imagined on your own."

Gavin's Ace Hardware is a member of the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the industry. Every Ace Hardware store is independently owned and operated; Gavin's started in Fort Myers in 1987 by Larry, Rita and Ron Gavin. Their location at the corner of San Carlos Blvd. and Kelly Road in the Iona/McGregor area of Fort Myers offers 28,000 square feet of hardware and home repair items. They are an authorized service center for brands like Hoover, Weber, Toro, Snapper, Echo, as well as other brands.

Gavin's specializes in offering personalized customer service and expert advice by a team of well-trained and knowledgeable employees. Their web site, offers the latest Ace Hardware coupons as well as complete information on store location, hours, and services.



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