Members of the Nalcrest Art Club are hosting a 50th Anniversary Celebration and Art Show March 14. They will have some of their works on display for show and sale.

NALCREST — While larger art clubs and organizations across Polk County have more name recognition, members and shows, most of them won’t be celebrating a 50th anniversary anytime soon.


In 1970, former Nalcrest resident Irene Parker and a few residents started a small, juried art show in Nalcrest. That show evolved into an art club and five decades later, the creativity carries on.


Located about 12.5 miles east of Lake Wales, Nalcrest — National Association of Letter Carriers Retirement, Education, Security and Training — is a 253-acre retirement community built in 1962 primarily for retired postal carriers. About 800 residents in 64 buildings live in the community, which opened in 1963.


Members of the Nalcrest Art Club are hosting the March 14 50th Anniversary Celebration and Art Show. They will have some of their works on display for show and sale.


Linda Schmeltz, the club’s public relations representative, said there will be a variety of artwork on display and for sale: watercolors, acrylics, jewelry, tin work, rock painting and fabric art.


Schmeltz is a retired taxidermist who in 2015 moved with her husband, John, from Rockville, Indiana, to Nalcrest. A painter who works with acrylics, she said the theme is “Celebrating Nalcrest” and showcases original artwork by current members as well as a display of art created by past members who have moved away or died.


“Every year, we have our art show the second Saturday of the month. I want to promote art and get people interested and show that everyone has some talent,” she said.


Schmeltz said each member has also painted greeting cards as part of a club fundraiser, on sale for $3 each or two for $5, with proceeds helping to cover the cost of the show. She said the art show helps fund the club and members use their own supplies unless they’re used during an art class.


Nalcrest Art Club President David Rieger moved with his wife, Meri, from Charleston, Indiana, to Nalcrest in 2015. The retired accountant said the club is currently painting two 10 feet by 12 feet murals in the town center, which will accompany a postal-themed mural that was painted near the town chapel about 2005. He said the group is always looking for ways to spread the joy of creating art and anticipates the mural being completed by the end of March.


“It’s our way for others to belong to a group and showcase their talents and make friends, make friends with people who have the same interests,” he said. “There have been some really talented artists over the years and we continue to have these artists join.”


The Nalcrest Art Club’s Donna Burgess, a retired registered nurse, works with watercolors and acrylics. When she moved with her husband, Dee, to Nalcrest in 2009, she said she was thrilled when she discovered the art club. She said the club’s longevity could be attributed to the ability for members to exchange ideas regarding art.


“It’s a way to get to exhibit their finished artwork and (the art show) will give the public the chance to buy original artwork at lesser prices than what would be found at larger, more popular art shows,” she said.


The Nalcrest Art Club is one of several hobby and craft organizations in the retirement community. Other creative clubs include music, quilting, crocheting and scrapbooking.