The annual Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts supports a showcase of the country’s most accomplished artists and rising stars. The festival’s featured image this year is called Ride Your Way, by Katrin Llergo. The festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, March 2-3, at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in downtown Tampa.

The 53rd annual Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts will be held on Saturday, March 2 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Sunday, March 3 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The festival will be held on the banks of the Hillsborough River at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, located at 1001 N. Blvd. in downtown Tampa. The event is free and the community is invited.

Each year, artists and art lovers come from all over the United States to enjoy the featured artwork, live entertainment and activities. In addition to supporting working artists and making art more accessible in our community, the festival organization also supports youth artists with scholarships as part of the program for high school students.

Karen Price, president of the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, said, “Each year, we welcome 30,000-plus collectors, sponsors and festivalgoers to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience that blends all the arts from fine art, performing arts to culinary arts and more. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience and a highlight of the Gasparilla season.”

For half a century, artists and art lovers have flocked to Tampa for the annual art festival. It is considered to be among the top open-juried arts festivals in the country. Over the years, the festival has changed and evolved. The categories have been expanded and now include the Emerging Artists Program. The number of applications has expanded from 140 to over 1,000. Similarly, the prize has greatly expanded over the years. It includes prize money, scholarship money and the coveted Raymond James Best of Show Award, which provides $15,000 to the winning artist.

While many aspects of the festival have changed, the history of the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts is rich, and the traditions are timeless. The festival is a vital cultural asset with a well-established presence in Hillsborough County. It is a fun outing for the entire family and something not to be missed.

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