Winthrop Arts Festival and Artisan Market kicks off March 24

Published on: March 8, 2018

Photos from Winthrop Arts Festival
The Winthrop Arts Festival, March 24 and 25, draws fine artists each year to provide the greater Brandon and Riverview area with a two-day outdoor juried art show. This year, children’s artwork from The Art Factory will also be on sale for donations.

By YVETTE C. HAMMETT

The Winthrop Arts Festival and Artisan Market is coming up March 24 and 25 and this year will include a culinary twist — food trucks.

The free festival, which draws fine artists and artisans from around the region and even out of state, is celebrating its 10th year. There will be at least 41 artists and artisans participating.

“There are a number of artists that are new to our festival,” said Winthrop Arts Festival Executive Director Kathy Collins. “It’s a variety of mediums from art woodworking, to painting, mixed media and glass. So, it’s just a lot of different things. We have three really great judges this year: muralist Michael Parker from South Shore Arts Council; Susana Weymouth, executive director of Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts; and Martine Collier, the executive director of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County.”

The festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, will award $5,000 in prize money to artists in various categories, with cash for first, second, third and honorable mention.

This year, the festival has a presenting sponsor, First Citrus Bank.

“New this year we will have food trucks and live music,” Collins said. There will also be an abundance of children’s activities, including a make-and-take item, a scavenger hunt where everyone — even adults — can learn about artists participating in this year’s festival, along with T-shirts for sale to mark the occasion. Pets are welcome.

This year’s food trucks include Michelle Faedo’s, which specializes in Cuban food, JR’s Food Machine, which offers both hot and cold sandwiches and Georgia Big Boyzs Smoke House, which specializes in barbecue. “A couple of years ago we put together a food truck rally, and it was really a huge successful,” Collins said. “We wanted to bring some of that excitement to the festival.

PROVIDED PHOTO
Song Jinsheng from Fort McCoy, Fla., is last year’s Best of Show winner.

“We also hope everyone will stop by the Art Factory Tent. We give art classes each weekday afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. This year, the Art Factory Tent is going to feature works of art produced by students, and those works of art will be available for sale for a small donation.

“I think the community support for the festival is what has made it so successful over the past 10 years,” Collins said. “It’s an outdoor festival, a juried outdoor festival, which is uncommon in this area,” she said. “It is also for two days and free and open to the community.

“We also offer the community an opportunity to be involved in awarding prizes through a Friends of Winthrop Arts sponsorship. It is a $125 sponsorship, and a portion is awarded to the winning artists. So, residents and businesses can participate and select their winning artist.” This started two years ago and is gaining in popularity, Collins said.

The festival draws a diverse crowd from the greater Brandon area, Collins said. “It’s very family friendly.”

The festival offers a wide range of art, from fine arts to handmade crafts, Collins said. “If you are coming looking for art, you will find something within your price range.”

The festival drew at least 1,000 people last year, and Collins said she is hoping the crowd will be even larger this year.

To learn more, visit www.winthroparts.org/2018-arts-festival-and-artisan-market/ or call 813-758-5161 for information.

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