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Photographer Elzbieta Weron and watercolorist Dan Burleigh Phillips have followed their artistic leanings on trails leading from Poland to Wisconsin.

Now, their journey has led them to the 54th annual DeLand Outdoor Art Festival.

The couple, who now live in DeLand, will be among more than 100 artists and crafters who will display and sell their works at the festival in Earl Brown Park Saturday, March 23, and Sunday, March 24.

For Phillips, it’s a return to the DeLand event after a hiatus of about 30 years. A native of Wisconsin, he had lived in DeLand, operated a gallery, and participated in the festival during the 1980s.

“I thought it’d be good to do something Downtown again,” he said.

Weron was born in Poland and moved to New Jersey about 25 years ago. This will be her introduction to the festival, which has been a staple of the West Volusia art scene since the 1960s.

The couple met while practicing their respective arts on the Maine coast about seven years ago.

Weron had gotten into photography and joined a group of fellow Polish immigrants who did wildlife photography.

But the standard landscape and animal photos bored her. She creates abstract art from the curves and angles of plants and animals.

“It was my midlife crisis,” she said. “I look for abstract forms in nature. What I’m looking for is perfections — the perfect frame, the perfect color.”

Phillips used to paint in oils, but found watercolors to be more fulfilling and less demanding.

See theirs and the works of dozens more artists at the festival beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday on the park at 815 S. Alabama Ave., just south of the Downtown area. Admission is free.

For the 10th year, the art festival will partner with the Florida Wildflower & Garden Festival taking place in Downtown DeLand. Visitors can park their vehicles once and enjoy free shuttle rides between the events.

Buses will run between Downtown DeLand and Earl Brown Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

On Sunday, the Outdoor Art Festival will be the only show in town and will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the park.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday, vendors will be selling a variety of food, from Greek dishes to cheese curds, and musicians will be performing a diversity of music.

This year’s sponsors of the art festival are: Bath Fitter, The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Bath Planet, R. George & Associates Inc., the Florida Department of Transportation, Tinker Graphics & Marketing, the City of DeLand, the DeLand Parks and Recreation Department, The Trophy Factory and Framing, Town & Country Realty, Bill Mancinik Realtor, and Boulevard Tire Center.

The West Volusia Beacon will continue its tradition of sponsoring the festival’s Youth Division.

Casey Marshall, a local graphic designer, and Georgia Dickson, owner of Art Studio 308 in Downtown DeLand, are co-sponsors.

The Youth Division — open on Saturday only — features artwork from elementary-, middle- and high-school students throughout West Volusia.

The DeLand Outdoor Art Festival is the oldest continuing festival of its kind in Florida, beginning in 1965 with artworks exhibited along the sidewalks of Downtown DeLand.

Founded by artists Joe Elliott and Virginia Clausen, the event kept growing and moved to venues with more space for the exhibits.


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