Art for a cause

“Flora for Fostering” exhibit sales will benefit The Pearl Project of Ocala.

File photo: Julie Shealy works on an untitled oil painting of flowers at Gallery B on East Silver Springs Boulevard in Ocala on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

Home » Arts & Entertainment
Posted March 24, 2023 | Staff report

Twenty-two artists from Gallery B in Ocala have combined their love for oil painting with their passion for supporting programs assisting children and families in need by creating more than 100 vibrant florals to be displayed and available for sale. 

The exhibit, “Flora for Fostering,” will have a special viewing and purchase event from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, at SouthState Bank, 1632 E. Silver Springs Blvd. 

The artists have been painting together for several years with the help and guidance of Julie Shealy. Together, they did a book study of the novel “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, which describes how flowers have specific definitions and possible healing powers and the dire need for help in training and caring for foster children and caregivers. 

For three decades, Shealy was a teacher, principal and administrator, who painted occasionally and volunteered with Fine Arts For Ocala. When she retired as an educator, she embraced painting and found that really loved painting flowers. In the summer of 2022, Shealy and four other artists opened Gallery B. 

Joy and Stephen Zedler started the The Pearl Project in 2018 to support other foster and adoptive families, teachers and others with resources such as support groups, training, a Kid-2-Kid Closet and a Hope Fund dedicated to making more resources affordable for families. 

The “Flora for Fostering” exhibit will include more than 100 original paintings for sale, representing each letter of the alphabet created by the artists in three different mediums using multiple techniques. All proceeds will benefit The Pearl Project of Ocala. 

“And the prices are very reasonable,” Shealy said. 

Food and beverages will be available during the event. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at or in person at Greiners, Her Kloset, Pen and Ink, and Gallery B. 

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