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Belly Dancer to Doll Maker to Artist

By: Arlene Kitchin

Treasure Island Art Guild's Patricia McEntyre has been an artist of one kind or another all her life. As a young woman she studied art for 4 hours each day and the results paid off. She was also inspired by the multi colored lights that danced and created designs on her bedroom ceiling back in Brooklyn as the many taxis, police cars and fire trucks passed by in the night. “I think these bright colors and interesting designs swirling on my ceiling, inspired me to create my merry-go-round series of art”. These she has created using beads and gems and each one tells a story.

By 1975 she was teaching belly dancing. She didn’t plan it! “It just happened.” She was offered the opportunity to teach a small group of women, depending on her ability to recruit 10 students. She did! Over the next 3 years she recruited 3000 students and went on to perform in nightclubs in NY with her students. She designed and made all the costumes herself. She tells a funny story about her first belly dancing teacher experience. She describes being scared to death, and her knees were shaking. Apparently she didn’t realize they were shaking visibly until she noticed all the students were shaking their knees too as they tried to follow her directions. So, after they all had a good laugh, she overcame her stage fright and went on to enjoy the job.

For a period of time she was an art teacher, with students of all ages from tots to seniors. One of her students wrote the following about Patricia, “You are sparkles and light.. You take glitter with you and spread it around to bless others – to show us that life can be magical.”

Her next great success was in doll making with meaning. After 911 she was highly publicized for her 911 wreath. This amazing gift to the Fire Fighters consisted of a miniature doll to represent each profession of the people lost in the 911 disaster. (She appeared on TV and in newspapers with her wreath.) Each costume was hand stitched and some of the details included:

• Wrapped packages for the UPS guy;

• Shoes all over the generous shoe store owner who gave free sneakers to women fleeing in high heels on that dreadful day;

• The McDonald’s manager who gave free hamburgers and drinks to rescue crews;

• A wee bag and stethoscope on the doctor;

• Firemen with little axes, to mention a few.

It was her way of dealing with the shock and pain, and a way to do something to help others feel better.

She also made garlands of the dolls for her two sons for Christmas, each little doll telling a memorable story. “It’s like a family history in dolls,” said Patricia and another quote she made was: “My life is full of beauty and humor. I love to make people happy and hear them laugh.”

Patricia lives by her father’s quote: “If you don’t have a dream your dreams can’t come true” and that has remained her philosophy.

Patricia even made wreaths and garlands of the little 6 inch dolls for everyone in her family. She has recorded, photographed and documented all her achievements over the years.

She gave Liz Taylor a miniature doll and treasures the signed picture and thank you letter she received in return, along with a nice appreciation gift of Liz Taylor’s white diamond perfume.

After moving to Treasure Island four years ago she hit the brushes with a passion. She became President of the Treasure Island Art Guild in 2008, during her term she initiated a website for the Art Guild, ran monthly meetings and found time to paint and enter art shows herself. She has won a number of ribbons at both the Art Guild and SunTan Gallery where she is also a member.

Patricia lost her husband, Byron recently. We all wish her well through such a difficult time in her life.

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A number of Treasure Island Art Guild painting are on display at Oscar's, 432 75th Ave in St. Pete Beach , through September with a reception & sale Monday September 27th @ 6-8pm. RSVPs 360-8065 no later than September 20th.

Some of you are not sure of the "take down" time and date. Oscar said 9-11AM on Thursday, Sept 30th, unless you need to remove your art sooner. In which case, any morning after the reception.

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The Art Guild will also have art on display at the Senior Citizen Center in Gulfport from October 15th until October 30th. The Center is open to the public & located close to the Gulfport libuary.

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Please keep in mind that this Treasure Island Art Guild (TI-AG) website is a “non commercial” website and advertising websites that sell artwork or places to purchase art supplies or members private websites or other art organizations news or websites, for example are not permitted. But anything to do with the normal operations of TI-AG such as asking for donations, displaying the price of membership, and prize monies, putting artists names next to art work are all considered “non commercial” use and are acceptable for this website.

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