Successful Season

En plein air artist Emily Collins Neel paints at Melbourne Beach.

En plein air artist Emily Collins Neel paints at Melbourne Beach. FRED MAYS PHOTOS

The holidays are important time of year for local artists

MICHIEL BULLOCK painting a seascape

Michiel Bullock paints beach and seascapes at his studio in Palm Bay. MICHIEL BULLOCK

The days from Thanksgiving to Christmas can be make-or-break for area artists. More art is said to sell during November and December than any other time of the year. A big part of the Brevard holiday art scene is three outdoor festivals: the Space Coast Festival in Viera, the Eau Gallie ArtWorks Festival on the weekend before Thanksgiving and the Cocoa Beach Art Festival, which takes place Thanksgiving weekend. 

Many art lovers attend these art shows for Christmas shopping. Oil painter Michiel Bullock, who typically paints large format seascapes and beach scenes, is a regular at all three. “I get most of my business from the shows,” said Bullock.

Artist Phyllis Shipley sells her paintings worldwide, including at local festivals. Her large oil paintings sell well to “snowbirds” who visit the Space Coast. Her art can be found at Space Coast area art shows, in local galleries, and galleries in South Florida, New York City and Paris. 

A steady presence on the Brevard art scene is the Breakers Gallery. Formerly in Satellite Beach, owner Dawn Harrell moved the gallery into a larger space in Cocoa Beach in September, just in time to stock up for holiday shoppers.

According to Harrell, “the holiday season is make or break for Brevard artists.” She encourages art lovers to buy local and support local artists. “It helps the local economy, and buyers are sure to get original work,” she said, adding many of her artists start creating holiday art in the summer to prepare for the Christmas season.

An emerging star on the Brevard art scene is painter Emily Collins Neel of Melbourne Beach. She works a full-time job but still finds time to turn out original art work. Neel considers herself a plein air artist, working outside, often on the beach.

“The holiday season is a pivotal moment for artists to showcase their creativity,” said Neel, via email. “It’s very exciting to see how a carefully selected piece of art can resonate uniquely with the recipient, sparking emotions that endure long after the holiday season has passed.”

Phyllis Shipley’s art is featured in galleries in Florida, New York and Europe.

Phyllis Shipley’s art is featured in galleries in Florida, New York and Europe.

Art galleries and art clubs plan special events during the fall season. Here’s a rundown on what to expect this year:

Breakers Gallery in Cocoa Beach, 142 N. Orlando Ave., will host Christmas tree making classes. Contact the gallery, 321.613.2652, to sign up. Also, the gallery’s artists will lend their works to a 7-foot Christmas tree with custom-made Christmas ornaments.

Central Brevard Art Association: Show and sale Nov. 17-19 at the Cocoa Beach Public Library, 550 N. Brevard Ave. There is no admission fee.

Fifth Avenue Art Gallery in the Eau Gallie Arts District, 1470 Highland Ave., has recently renovated its display space. The gallery will feature the 41st annual Holiday Craft Show until Dec. 31. This year’s theme is Jingle All the Way. In addition, there will be First Friday Art Walk events in November and December that will feature live music and light refreshments.

North Brevard Art League is planning a Holiday Artisan Market on Nov. 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 1421 Draa Road in Titusville. The event will feature art, jewelry, hand-made Christmas ornaments, and much more. There will be an SPCA pet adoption booth, and food trucks. There will be a featured artist exhibition in November and December.

Studios of Cocoa Beach will have a special exhibit of new works by member artists in November and December. There will also be a sale in December of handmade Christmas ornaments, made by members. Studios of Cocoa Beach is located at 165 Minuteman Causeway.

Downtown Gallery, Titusville is at a new location, 400 Orange St., Titusville. On Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25, enjoy Christmas sales, refreshments and extended hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 2, the gallery will hold the annual “Merry Mimosas” shopping experience from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy mimosas and food bites while you explore all the rooms in the new location.

Get out and enjoy the Space Coast arts scene during the holiday period. As gallery owner Harrell likes to say, “Art makes you happy.”


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Fred Mays

Fred Mays is a freelance writer and photographer who resides in Satellite Beach. He is a retired television journalist, and active on media issues with the Brevard Indian River Lagoon Coalition. His blog is