WESLEY CHAPEL – After shopping for others during the holidays, people at the 9th annual Suncoast Arts Fest Jan. 18 and 19 at The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel can purchase art and jewelry for themselves.
Marj Golub of New Port Richey, the co-director of the Fine Arts of the Suncoast Inc., said they used to have the event before Christmas – but the timing wasn’t right.
“Typically you don’t buy a two-dimensional piece of artwork for someone else – people have varied taste,” Golub said. “One of the things people seem to enjoy is vibrant artwork. Up North, people like woodland scenes and muted colors. Here in Florida, they go for vibrant colors and Florida art with flamingos and mangroves.”
She said some of the most popular items to buy include jewelry, clay pottery and sculpture.
In addition to finding artwork for their homes or offices, people attending the two-day art festival will be supporting the arts. The art show is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 18 and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 19.
Golub said the goal of the juried art show and festival is to raise more than $10,000 for “Arts for Kids” in Pasco County, which provides grants to classroom teachers who instruct children in the visual or performing arts. Last year, they raised more than $13,000 through sponsorships, application and booth fees.
Each year, the event evolves and grows with family-friendly entertainment and attractions including a “Taste of Wiregrass,” she said.
Organizers expect about 135 artists who create in ceramics, oil, acrylic watercolors, drawings, graphics fiber, wood, photography glass, jewelry and metal sculpture to exhibit their artwork. They will line the streets of the open-air retail and entertainment shopping center.
One repeat artist attending is Rolly Reel of Maitland, a four-time best in show winner who will exhibit his 3-D sculptural mixed media wall pieces: nails. His creations are constructed from fabric, antique photo tintypes, paint, rope Plexiglas, stones, old locks and keys, wood and various found objects.
“We have the art show for art education and the backbone of our show is the fine artists,” Golub said. “We treat them well.”
The lineup for entertainment on Jan. 18 includes the Time Bandits at 11 a.m.; Richey Suncoast Theatre drama performance at 12:15 p.m.; Acho Brother, a Latin folk pop artist, at 1:15 p.m.; Julie Black, a blues and jazz artist at 2:15 p.m.; and the Hot Rod Hornets at 4:45 p.m. The Pasco County Schools presents youth music programs at 10 a.m. and again at 3:45 p.m. The Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce will host an arts and business expo from 5 to 9 p.m.
On Jan. 19, the entertainment kicks off at 11 a.m. with the Tampa Bay Ukelele Society followed by the Aaron Rutter Duo violin performance at 12:15 p.m.; Amandalynn indie jazz at 1 p.m.; Six Volt Rodeo western swing at 2:15 p.m.; and blues guitarist Sarasota Slim at 5 p.m. The Pasco schools youth music presentation will be at 3:30 p.m.
Golub said some of the other attractions include a Kid’s Art Garden, an “Art and Business” Gala Showcase, an interactive youth arts area, an emerging artists area that showcases fine arts by Pasco County Public Schools youth, sidewalk chalk artists sponsored by TBBCA.org, a 1-mile family fun run for the arts and pancake breakfast for those who participate.
“New this year is a smartphone photo contest,” Golub said. “We are asking anyone to sign up and submit a picture they took at the show with their S=smartphone. They can submit one photo. We are excited. It’s the first year we are trying this and we are hoping it pulls in a younger demographic that is addicted to their smart phones.”
For more information, visit suncoastartsfest.com.