Communication Builds Our Community

Lake Wales Arts Festival Happens February 24 and 25

Annual Event in Lake Wailes Park Draws Top Artists

An annual event that draws thousands of art lovers from Lake Wales and around the state, the 53rd Annual Lake Wales Arts Festival ill be happening Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 24 and 25 at Lake Wailes Park, preceded by a special event for artists and patrons on Friday evening. Hosted by the Lake Wales Arts Council, this year's festival will be enhanced as 70 artists have been accepted into the juried show to display their creative works.

The show attracts submissions from artists from across the United States and far beyond, giving attendees an opportunity to view and purchase art works from around the world while enjoying musical performances from the main stage at the festival.

"We see the arts festival as the biggest extension we can do outside the arts center that helps them become aware that art's approachable art is for them," Arts Council Executive Director Tommy Frank said, "whether they want to be an artist or just want creative expression."

Frank, along with Carrie Ingley of Orange Blossom Media Group, coordinate the arts festival to promote art sales, community exposure to art, and networking for attending multinational artists.

"The 52 years that have preceded us have done a great job of creating a legacy of bringing world-class artists to Lake Wales to share their artwork in the hopes of capturing a judge's prize and selling some work to the local community," Frank said.

"We draw artists and people attending the festival from a...broad geographical scope, which is really good for our community in many ways," Ingley said.

Artists who submit their work and are invited to the arts festival can earn part of the $22,000 in awards and purchase prizes. A panel of two judges will determine the awards of a variety of awards.

As a fellow artist, Frank understands the importance of arts festivals and how they can significantly impact an artist's career. With this perspective, he intentionally keeps the arts festival "artist-centric" so artists don't feel like side notes to many attractions.

Frank and Ingley intend to provide a compelling reason for attendees to stay longer at the arts festival and have fun while appreciating the artists' work. On Friday, Feb. 23, from 5 to 10 p.m., the 12th Annual Art-B-Que will bring these artists together in a casual setting as an opportunity to network with food and live entertainment by the popular musical act the Gnarbuckles.

Families are invited to partake in various food trucks, tented spaces for relaxation, and new extended family art activities in partnership with Family Literacy Academy and the Tax Collector of Polk County's Kids Tag Art.

Family Literacy Academy brings in books and connects them with an art project as part of the family art activities. Participating children will create an art project and get a book on the way home. Kids Tag Art allows 5th graders to decorate license plates, and winners may be produced by the Department of Motor Vehicles and be available for purchase.

Frank adds that more activities may be added to the arts festival schedule. Those interested can find more information and purchase tickets to the Art-B-Que on the Arts Council website.

As part of the Arts Council's ongoing performance schedule, national headliner Lila Biali will perform with the Lake Wales Jazz Connection on Jan. 20 from 6 - 8 p.m. at the Lake Wales Arts Center, 1099 SR 60 East in Lake Wales. The historic Updike Hall at the Arts center provides a dramatic and acoustically-excellent venue for the musical performance series.

The Lake Wales Arts Center has a continuous series of art classes on its schedule, instructed by professional artisans and artists. For more information contact the Arts Council by email at info@lw-arts


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