Artists see red
over ‘blue boycott’
ENGLEWOOD — Like many artists, Carroll Swayze’s creative energies find expression on canvases, not in politics.
But an incident four days after the election at a local art show on Palm Island — a show Swayze describes as one of the “sweetest shows on the face of the Earth” — had her so upset she had to share it on Facebook.
“I never talk politics or religion because it is private, but something happened that I feel I have to share,” Swayze wrote.
She told the story of fellow artist Jorge Fernandini of Deland, Fla., had a woman interested in an $1,800 painting. The woman didn’t purchase the painting immediately, but she returned later with her husband. Her husband turned to her and asked, “Red or blue?” The woman put her hands in the air and indicated she did not know. The husband, however, said, “I think blue,” and the couple walked off.
Swayze wrote, “I am so ashamed for these people. I wish I could have caught up with them so at least I could have talked to them. I don’t even know where to put this in my brain. I feel so sad, it makes me cry.”
Fernandini said Wednesday Swayze’s account of what happened on Palm Island encapsulates what he experienced. Originally from Peru, Fernandini immigrated to the United States in 1975. He became an U.S. citizen in 1984.
When asked if he’s ever faced similar incidents or profiling, Fernandini said, “No — not even close.”
The first time Fernandini could vote in a presidential election, he voted for Ronald Reagan’s re-election. And about the couple deciding he was “blue,” he said, “They didn’t even ask me.”
Fernandini has attended other Englewood art shows and intends to return. He plans to be at the Olde Englewood Village Association’s annual Winter Fine Arts Festival Dec. 1 and 2 on West Dearborn Street.
“One person does not mean a community is bad,” Fernandini said.
Swayze’s posts on two different Facebook sites, as of Wednesday, had more than 350 responses.
“Absurd, ridiculous, scandalous and sad!! I hope such small-minded people get theirs … It is a very sad day indeed when artistic talent and a love for local art become political … Truth be told, it isn’t political at all, that’s the symptom … the disease is fear” — these were some of the responses Swayze received.
Randy McLendon, founder of Englewood’s tea party group, Taking Back Our Country, also had heard what happened to Fernandini. At the group’s meeting Tuesday, he encouraged people not to think “red or blue” but to buy local.
The blue-red boycotting may not be a one-way street in Englewood.
Katy McGinn of the family-owned Hartman Print Center at Tiffany Square in Englewood said the business received an anonymous call over its affiliation with Taking Our Country Back. The print shop has the Englewood tea party group as a client and posted Taking Our Country Back material in the shop.
“We like to talk (with customers) and we don’t care what your view is,” McGinn said. Apparently, the caller did care and said, “We’ll never do business with you again.”
Earlier this year, the Chik-fil-A fast-food chain found itself mired in a political boycott after its founder Dan Cathy came out in support of the “biblical definition” of marriage between a man and a woman. However, in August, the Sun reported the Port Charlotte Chik-fil-A saw hundreds of people turn out in support of the chain and its founder’s stance.