Anna “Gitano” Layton will be the featured program speaker at the Tuesday, Nov. 19 meeting of the Chipola Regional Arts Association. The meeting will take place at Jim’s Buffet & Grill, U.S. Highway 90, in Marianna, with a Dutch-treat luncheon.
Layton lives in Blountstown and has been an artist all her life. With training at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri, where she was born, she learned how to do paste-up art while working there, then later for several newspapers and an advertising agency.
Moving to Massachusetts, she was a graphic artist for the state’s Department of Education. After extensive travel, she settled down, building her own cabin in the woods on a farm in Massachusetts, where she learned the arts of hand weaving and hand spinning from acquiring four sheep for their wool.
“Candlelight Weaver” was her little production of bags and scarves until she was offered a job at the nearby mill as a textile designer producing upholstery fabric, yarn and domestic goods. Her love of the spinning wheel took her to many festivals for demonstrating the art of making yarn and then “The Mr. Wool E. Sheep Story” was born and visiting elementary schools became her vocation.
A Victorian inn shop she ran with the owner sold many of her art projects. In 2000, her eyes were opened to the media of watercolor painting and she has been enjoying making creations ever since.
At the library in Blountstown, Layton became the Cultural Arts Coordinator, teaching art, developing arts events and featuring local art exhibits. A new direction took her to the Calhoun Liberty Hospital, where her “ARTs In Medicine” program was developed. Music and hands-on art were shared at the bedsides of patients and she even got to paint colorful murals on the walls.
Anna will tell her story and have some art on display Tuesday, Nov. 19.
The Chipola Regional Arts Association (CRAA), now in its 30th year, is a volunteer organization under the umbrella of the Chipola College Foundation, providing mini-grants to teachers in the arts, providing children’s artistic programming, offering scholarship in the arts to Chipola College, supporting the college’s Artist Series, and providing arts-related monthly programs. All meetings are open to the public with a Dutch-treat lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon, followed by program at noon.
For more information contact Joan Stadsklev, CRAA president, at 850-482-7365.