By Kathy L. Collins


The Seventh Annual Winthrop Arts Festival was held over the weekend of Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22. It was a great weekend of art and fun. This year’s festival was held in Winthrop Common, a park located behind the Egg &I and Ciccio’s in Winthrop Town Centre in Riverview.


In addition to art, several non-profits, such as the Emergency Care Help Organization of Brandon and the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Foundation, were highlighted. Winthrop’s Art Factory was also featured at the festival.


The Winthrop Arts Festival is a juried art show. This year’s judges were Kay Sullivan, local artist Debra Bryant and Hillsborough Community College Humanities Professor John Hardin.


Sullivan, speaking on behalf of the judges said, “We were impressed with the creativity, diversity, and the high quality of our award winners. We were equally inspired by the level of talent shown by our emerging artists, including the participants from the Winthrop Arts Factory and Progress Village. It was a strong competition this year, and all of the artists should be proud of what they brought to the Seventh Annual Winthrop Arts Festival.”


Best in Show this year was awarded to Nels Johnson, a photographer. Johnson, who splits his time between Saugatuck, Mich. (located on Lake Michigan) and Ybor City, is inspired by painters such as Cezanne. Johnson said, “I am an urban explorer who finds gems that other people pass up.” Johnson attends shows all over the country. For more information, visit


The First Place award was given to oil on canvas painter, Sergey Cherep of Atlanta. Cherep is inspired by landscapes and does commission work. “People can send me an image. I will then create three sketches. If they like it, then I do one on a large scale.” Cherep attends over 20 art festivals, gallery shows and trade shows. For more information, visit


The Second Place winner was Brandon artist, Don Korte, whose pen and ink and pastel paintings of pets and wildlife are charming and beautifully created. Korte has been an artist all of his life, but has taken art up full time. For more information, visit


The Third Place winner was What The Fork? Irene Singer and Robert Fragale of Plant City create amazing jewelry sculptures from antique and recycled silverware. For more information, visit


For more information about the Winthrop Arts Festival, visit


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