By MEGAN HUSSEY
For the past 36 years, the Art in the Park event has served as a rich creative showcase for artists in this area; one that draws about 6,000 attendees each year. And now, for the first time, this popular event is set to include a competitive art contest for locals offering $450 in prize money and numerous promotional opportunities for the winners.
The Hernando County Fine Arts Council has announced its inaugural artist competition for artwork to be featured at its 36th annual Art in the Park, set to take place March 14-15, 2020, at Tom Varn Park, 306 Darby Lane, Brooksville. This competition, open only to artists in this area, is co-hosted by Roots Creative Company.
"After 36 years, we are always looking for ways to innovate this well-respected arts event," said Beth Putnam, vice-chairperson of the Hernando County Fine Arts Council. "The competition is just one more way to support arts and artists in Hernando County. And we hope that it will draw more people in this area to our arts council and community."
The contest theme calls for "designs (that) should reflect and represent the Florida lifestyle and the Florida Adventure Coast. Artists are encouraged to choose subjects that they feel showcase both our area’s beauty and its uniqueness." Beyond this general concept, said Putnam, artists are free to represent and portray their home state in any way they choose.
"We want to leave this open," said Putnam. "We want them to bring us a lot of different concepts."
The contest is also open to various forms of artistic media, providing that submissions take the form of original 2D artwork created in the last year, entirely owned by the artist with no copyright restrictions. The final design will be printed on a 6.5” x 8” page. The design should be no less than 8.5” x 11”. The winner must submit a high-resolution file of his/her winning entry. Designs may be created using pro design programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. The design must boast dimensions of no less than 600 dpi @ 8.5” x 11” dimensions. Hand-painted or drawn designs submitted must come with the capability to be scanned and converted into a .pdf or .jpeg file no larger than 10 MB.
The rewards for this artistic handiwork will include a first place prize of $250, an Interview Spotlight in the AITP Program, an online Art Directory space for 1 year, and 10% of proceeds from products sold. The second place prize will be a $125 cash prize and an online Art Directory space for one year, and a third place prize will consist of a $75 cash prize and an online Art Directory space for one year.
"The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will also receive their winning design displayed at Art in the Park and will be featured at the Artists Feature Booth," read contest guidelines. "In keeping with the Council’s mission, this contest gives Hernando County artists an opportunity to share their work with the community, and to gain exposure and recognition. The winning design will be featured in the souvenir program, as well as used for commercial promotion of 2020 Art in the Park advertising materials, posters, etc."
"This art competition’s goal is to offer artists the chance to have their work showcased at Art in the Park, which features artists from all over the country," the guidelines read.
The inaugural Art in the Park art competition, open to all ages, was the brainchild of photographer and designer Allisa Babor, Arts Council member and the founder of Roots Creative Company; a creative studio of designers, artists, and thinkers based in Brooksville (http://www.rootscreativeco.com/).
"Allisa is a new member with a heart for artists," said Putnam. "Especially young artists. She wants artists to get real world experience, and to let people know about them."
"As an artist myself, I wanted to give artists the opportunity to gain exposure and experience, while at the same time making connections with their community," said Babor. "As an Arts Council member, this idea fit perfectly with our mission."
Interested Hernando artists can complete the entry form for the Art in the Park competition at https://www.hernandoarts.org/aitp-contest. Each artist may submit up to three designs, with each design featuring its own separate entry form. All entries must be submitted by January 8, 2020. On January 9, Arts Council members will select winning artwork. On Jan. 13, winners will be announced and receive awards. And April 15, 10% of proceeds from items sold featuring winning art will be paid to the artist.
Aside from prize money, artist recognition is the primary focus of the Art in the Park competition.
"This contest reflects the core of our mission," said Putnam. "The support of all the arts in Hernando County."