Seven Local Artists Create Geckos for Charity Auction

Seven Local Artists Create Geckos for Charity Auction

June 30, 2016: For Immediate Release
Contact:  Jessica Sager;

GULFPORT, FL: Seven larger-than-life geckos will be the centerpiece of a live auction to benefit local charities. 

The geckos will be visualized and created according to each artist’s individual concept.  All seven geckos can be seen for the first time at the Second Annual Gecko Artists’ Show during an opening reception on Friday, August 5th at the Catherine Hickman Theater (5501 27th Avenue South) from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m

The show will also feature selections from the participating artist’s regular body of work in a variety of media. 

The reception is free and open to the public and will also include complimentary hors d’oeuvre and a cash bar. 

The selection of artists’ other work will continue to be displayed through the month of August, but following the reception, the geckos themselves will be moved to preview locations in venues throughout Gulfport’s Waterfront village. 

The geckos will then go up for auction at the Eighth Annual Gecko Ball on Saturday, August 27th at the historic Gulfport Casino Ballroom.

Each gecko will be a prized collector’s art work and join the ranks of nearly 60 other geckos that have been created since the event’s inception. 

Organizers initiated the Artists’ Gecko Auction seven years ago with much success and the auction is now a popular part of the tradition of annual Gulfport Gecko-related activities in late summer.  The Gecko Artists’ Show was conceived last year as a way to highlight and show appreciation for the participating artists.

Artists selected to create geckos for this year’s auction are:

  • Patsi Aguero
  • Michael Chapman
  • Suzanne Harding
  • Jeanne Heywood
  • Angela Lagan
  • Lenne Nicklaus-Ball
  • Mary Stenov

Artists were chosen from those who submitted a concept during an open call earlier in the year.

Following the opening reception, the seven geckos will be on display at these Gulfport locations in the three weeks leading up to the Gecko Ball:

  • Boca Bay Grille
  • Gulfport Beach Bazaar
  • Gulfport Casino
  • Gulfport Public Library
  • Gulfport Welcome Center
  • Historic Peninsula Inn
  • Salty’s

The annual Gecko Ball has become known as Gulfport’s Party of the Year! 

This year’s theme is “20,000 Geckos Under the Sea,” celebrating all things on, under and near the sea, as well as the classic 1954 film and the 1870 Jules Verne adventure novel. 

Décor and scenery will transport ball-goers into a vivid, colorful underwater tableau. 

In addition to the live auction of the artist’s geckos, the event includes dozens of silent auction items, costumes and costume contests, coronation of the Gecko Queen, catered tapas, cash bar, live music by the Big Night Out, dancing and more. 

The Gecko Ball will be held at the Gulfport Casino Ballroom (5500 Shore Blvd.). 

Tickets are $35 each and are available in advance beginning July 4th at Gulfport Beach Bazaar (3115 Beach Blvd.), Gulfport Welcome Center (3101 Beach Blvd.) or online here with a credit or debit card. 

A portion of proceeds from Gecko Ball, as well as Gulfport’s Gecko Pub Crawl (August 13th) and GeckoFest (September 3rd) will benefit the Gulfport Historical Society and First Florida Frontiers.

Artists from Gulfport or with ties to Gulfport have volunteered their time and talent to create a gecko for this year’s auction. 

Heat, color, passion and wit are the elements of Patsi Aguerro’s artistic language.  Her palette infuses tropical hots and cools on canvases, celebrating the human spirit.  She is a veteran educator and continues to teach the young, old and differently-abled. 

Michael Chapman works in several media including watercolor, acrylics, ink, sculpture and mixed media.  He started painting as a young man and developed his unique style which has led to a successful career in art. 

Suzanne Harding is a mixed media artist who loves to bring whimsy and color to her work.  Her assemblages, paper constructions and oil paintings have been shown in Provincetown, Massachusetts and acquired by private collectors throughout the country.  She is currently focusing on creating “creatures” using methods including sewing, carving and assemblage.  Her work can be seen at the Gulfport Beach Bazaar.  She says her interest in the “weird and wonderful” is what has drawn her to Gulfport. 

New Gulfportian Jeanne Heywood studied painting at Kent State, Baldwin Wallace and Cleveland State.  She is a retired art teacher currently studying at the Morean Center in St. Petersburg.  Her current body of work features industrial objects treated in a “precious” fashion, allowing viewers “to see the common as extraordinary.” 

Angela Lagan is an active participant in the Gulfport civic community.  She is also a creative “re-purposer,” using vintage marine hardware and mixing in pieces with patina and character.  Her work enables her to show her love for boating and allows the viewer to see the beauty of sailing and the ocean in new ways.  Her pieces have been acquired by collectors in many private homes and local businesses. 

Participating as one of the “gecko artists” for the past three years, Lenne Nicklaus-Ball works in many media and is known for her large abstract collages and ostrich egg assemblages which have been displayed in museums throughout the eastern United States.  She is currently working on individual commission pieces and is also writing a historical fantasy novel.  Her work is represented at August Vernon Studios in Gulfport. 

Mary Stenov studied art at the Pratt Institute and has taught art in New York, Connecticut, Saudi Arabia and Florida.  She has exhibited her work and lectured in the U.S. and abroad.  She has worked in many media, including glass, wood, stone, linoleum, plaster, clay and fabric, emphasizing texture and pattern. She hopes to contribute to the community through art the wonders and joy of creating magic, using head, heart and hands.

All Gecko events are sponsored by the non-profit Gulfport Merchants Association and a portion of proceeds benefits one or more local charities each year. 

For more information on the Gecko Ball go to or, or contact John Haugen at