By Kathy Collins

The East Hillsborough Art Guild (EHAG) is seeking local businesses to participate in the Business Leaders Choice Awards for the 2016 Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show which will run from Thursday, March 3 to Sunday, March 13 at the Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds in Plant City.

The Business Leaders Choice Awards are $75 of which $25 goes toward the EHAG Scholarship Fund and $50 is given as a cash prize to the recipient of the Business Leader’s Choice Award. Each business is given the opportunity to send a representative to the Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show, and they choose the artwork which will receive the cash award and a beautiful “Business Leader’s Choice” rosette ribbon. This year, businesses will be asked to choose their winner on Tuesday, March 1 from 10 a.m.-12 noon.

Debra Bryant, chairperson of the 2016 Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show said, “We encourage local business to actively participate in this show by choosing a piece of artwork which they feel deserves an award, but which did not receive one through the judging process. In supporting local artists, they are supporting other small local businesses. Each sponsor gains recognition at the exhibit through a display wall created for this purpose.”

Bryant added, “The Florida Strawberry Festival is a huge annual event in which many of our local businesses already participate. Our objective in offering this opportunity is to encourage a progressive environment for the visual arts in our community. Ideally, more business leaders would purchase some of the artwork from local artists.”

Prior to 2012, there were only one or two Business Leader sponsors each year. In 2012, the number rose to eight. By 2015, there were 16 sponsored awards. According to Bryant, the eventual goal is 20 sponsorships.
The deadline to become a Business Leaders Choice Award is Friday, January 15, 2016. For more information, contact Bryant at

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