On Thursday, July 8, the Hernando County Fine Arts Council held a meeting to initiate plans for their 37th Annual Art in The Park to be held at Tom Varn Park March 12 and 13 next year. Everyone will be looking forward to the event because this year it was canceled due to Covid-19.
Laura May with Highest Point Coaching, hired by the Fine Arts Council to consult on the project, presented plans and strategies for next year’s event. Ms. May explained how this iconic celebration will benefit everyone involved.
“Vendors will have an opportunity to sell their items and promote their artwork. Patrons benefit because they have the opportunity to immerse themselves in art. Also, we’re helping local businesses to get their brand out there through sponsorships and advertising,” she remarked.
Ms. May enthusiastically laid out the five components of planning and carrying out Art in the Park 2022 using a PowerPoint presentation. These are: Advertising and Marketing; Soliciting grants and sponsorships; Mapping and Logistics; Parking and Volunteers; and Timelines and Procedures.
Probably the most important of these components is marketing and advertising. To give Art in the Park a fresh look, a new logo has been designed to brand the event.
“We are selling an experience they don’t want to miss. By polling the attendees to find out where they heard about the event, the Fine Arts Council can see what marketing strategies work and which don’t,” Ms. May explained.
Another important component is finding major sponsorships and grants that will help defray the costs of putting on the event and will also pay for quality entertainment. Volunteers will be coached on how to approach businesses and corporations for these sponsorships.
Detailed mapping and logistics will be necessary so that the art vendors, food vendors and entertainment will be situated in the proper locations around the park. Something new this coming year will be an archway at the back entrance and a photo area.
The children’s art pavilion will be expanded to become a children’s area with games, food and entertainment so that the children will have a place of their own. There will also be a state-of-the-art main stage equipped with sound.
One of the day’s activities will extend into the evening. People will be able to purchase tickets for special events and entertainment that evening.
No event like this can take place without numerous volunteers and adequate parking to accommodate the thousands of visitors that are expected. Volunteer duties will be compartmentalized to cover all the necessary aspects. These range from volunteers to help with parking to people in charge of set up and break-down.
Even though the Fine Arts Council has had years of experience planning and executing Art in the Park, each year presents different challenges and situations. That’s why timelines and procedures are so important. Months and months go into preparing an event like this. Most important is community support, whether it be volunteering, participating as a vendor, attending the event or spreading the word.