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Art making its mark

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Art. It’s an expression of creativity or imagination and spans all aspects of our lives from the visual and literary arts  to music, theatre, dance and film. Art enhances everything we do through avenues like fashion, architecture or books just to name a few. 

“One of the ways we encourage, promote, and support the creative arts in our county is the annual Art in the Park event,” said Hernando County Fine Arts Council Projects Coordinator Jan Knowles. 

Knowles, along with fellow Fine Arts Council member Paul Shaskan, co-chair the event.
This year, the 35th annual Art in the Park will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10, 2019 in Tom Varn Park, Brooksville. Admission is free with a $5 suggested parking donation to further help support the creative arts in Hernando County.

Art in the Park, sponsored this year by Raymond James Financial Inc., attracts local, state and national artists presenting works in a variety of mediums. More than 130 artists will be arriving from throughout the U.S. and beyond to exhibit their works in the spacious and beautifully shaded natural setting of the park.

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“It means a great deal to Hernando County and the Arts Council to receive this sponsorship,” said Fine Arts Council Chairman William “Bill” Yerrick. “We also thank Raymond James Financial Chairman Emeritus, Thomas A. James for his personal support as a long-time supporter of the arts and a well-known collector.”

This enormously successful event attracts more than 5,000 visitors each year and, for the third year running, the Southeast Tourism Society, a travel industry organization, has named the juried show as one of the top fine art shows held nationally. 

Exhibits will vary from oils and watercolors to digitally-enhanced photography, as well as sketches, wood carvings, wall art, jewelry and original, handmade craft items. Artists will not only be vying for cash prizes including $1,000 for Best in Show and another $3,000 in additional awards but the prestige the awards bring.

Returning artists will include Diane Stover who was voted in 2018 as the People’s Choice and won second place in the fine arts division.

Debuting this year is a special event called “Chalk It Up” to kick off Art in the Park 2019. 

“We are inviting all our middle and high school artists to come to the park on Friday, March 8 between 6 and 8 p.m. to help color the walkways with their art,” said Knowles. “Students can bring their own chalk or use chalk that the organizers will have available,” she said.

For all students interested in participating, call 352.540.3830 for more information, or email [email protected].

The event also includes a student art show and a children’s activity tent sponsored by Nations Roofing and the Eye Center.

“We usually have about 300 local student works up for judging,” said Knowles.

A favorite at the show is the Hernando Fine Arts Boutique tent. On display and for sale are donations from participating artists.

“Each donated piece has been given a fair price by the artist and the sale proceeds then go towards our community grants and student art programs,” said Knowles. “We’re so very grateful for every gift of support; each donation assists us in our mission.”

The show not only offers fine art and craft exhibitors but two days of live stage entertainment, featuring the Hernando Symphony Orchestra, Swampland Symphony and the Suzuki Strings on Saturday, March 9 and the Hernando Youth Orchestra and Power by Rhythm with Rick Foti on Sunday, March 10. A host of other performers will also be scheduled.

The food court will feature Cuban and Spanish specialties, crepes, barbecue, tacos, seafood dishes, sandwiches, kettle corn, root beer, funnel cakes, lemonade, coffee and tea, plus sips of the delicious fruit wines of the Masaryk Winery. 

Whatever your art preference, these exhibitors’ art will make you want to linger long. All art is available for purchase and participating artists will be on hand to discuss their pieces and process.

“Showcasing art in our community is vital,” said Knowles. “It’s a powerful tool to encourage creative discovery for all ages.”

For artist and vendor applications and a full list of sponsors, visit www.hernandoarts.org. Application deadline is Feb. 28, 2019. Tom Varn Park is located at 306 Darby Lane in Brooksville.

Need more information?

or 352-587-8062

[email protected]


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