By Kathy L. Collins

The 8th Annual Winthrop Art Festival was held over the weekend of Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20 in beautiful Founders Park in Winthrop Town Centre. This was the first year that the art festival was held under the auspices of the newly formed non-profit, Winthrop Arts, Inc.

It was also the first year that sponsors were a part of the festival, and as result, Winthrop Arts, Inc. was able to award over $2,200 to artists at the Annual Artists’ Banquet. Shows such as the Winthrop Art Festival are a great way for individuals and organizations to support artists and the community as a whole.

Despite a wet Saturday, many area residents came out to see a juried show featuring fine artists and artisans. The crowd enjoyed good art, music and food from EATS! American Grill and Ciccio Cali’s. Several schools including Winthrop Charter School, Riverview High School and Blake High School participated.

This year there were three judges for the show. The judges were Roxanne Tobaison, a well-known local artist; Christianne Hoyt, an art patron from Tampa; and David Warner, the editor-in-chief for Creative Loafing. Tobaison, speaking on behalf of the judges said, “There was a general agreement between the judges on the winners. This was good given the fact that the judges were from different fields of expertise.” Tobaison added, “We found the quality of the winners to be very good, diverse and creative in their use of the different media. There were certainly quite a few that deserved awards. It was a very difficult decision, especially with the photography entrants.”

Awards were presented to the artists at the Annual Winthrop Arts Artists’ Banquet. Best in Show went to Tony Moore, a pencil illustrator. Moore is from Land O’Lakes. Moore received $1,000. This was Moore’s third time in the Winthrop Art Festival and his second Best of Show win. Moore said, “I was surprised at the win. I am also pleased to see that this show is growing into a really good show. I hope that many more artists submit art to be included in next year’s show.”

First place and an award of $500 was given to Karen Owens of Orlando. Owens is a mixed media artist. Second place went to photographer, Paul Sumberg who resides in Blairsville, Georgia. Sumberg received $250. Third place was awarded to Lynda Fishbourne of Riverview. Fishbourne was given $150 for her mixed media creations. Honorable mention went to Riverview resident and mixed media artist, Angela Sulick. She received $100.
The 8th Annual Winthrop Art Festival offered a level of sponsorship called Friends of Winthrop Art. For $125, an individual, organization or business could contribute to the arts and was given the unique opportunity to select an artist to win this award. $75 went to the artist and $50 to Winthrop Arts. There were three Friends of Winthrop Art sponsors. The Trey Curry Foundation’s award went to the youngest artists in the show, Celia (8) and Gigi (6) Moskowitz of Riverview for their whimsical shell designs. Global Sales awarded Seth Sullivan-Dawes for his fine photography, and the Winthrop Board of Directors awarded Timothy Hoffmeister of Brandon for his blown glass creations.

Katharine Sullivan-Dawes, the Director of Everything for Winthrop Arts, Inc. said, “We believe this year’s festival brought the highest quality of artists that we have ever had. This was our largest goal for this year’s festival, and we think we achieved it.”

Sullivan-Dawes added, “This is our third event as a nationally recognized non-profit, and with each event, we are striving to refine ideas or come up with new concepts. We love thinking outside of the box, and we are looking forward to the opening of the Winthrop Art Factory, an after school arts program for children of all abilities. We are looking forward to hopefully opening the Art Factory sometime in late spring.”

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