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Art Harvest in Dunedin kicks off season of art festivals across Tampa Bay area

BY LENNIE BENNETT

Times Art Critic

DUNEDIN

Friends and family in northern climes talk about autumn's advent with changing leaves and drops in temperature. In mercurial west-central Florida, one of the best gauges is a calendar filling up with activities. If you're an arts watcher, those little squares are getting especially crowded.

One of the earliest harbingers is Art Harvest, the first in a season of venerable arts festivals that stretches into the spring. This year's Art Harvest, coming up Saturday and Sunday, will maintain its friendly, familiar style, set up in Dunedin's Highlander Park next to the Dunedin Fine Art Center.

It began 46 years ago and has settled comfortably into middle age, not as one of the largest festivals but offering a brand of small-town charm with art that's accessible and affordable. It's a good formula for these times.

A preview of the work offered this year indicates a mix of most media: jewelry, photography, fiber, ceramics, sculpture, graphics and painting.

Like the art, you can go in many directions with the food vendors: caesar salads or hamburgers, funnel cakes or Italian ices, diet Coke or pinot noir.

Kids have their day, too, at a free art tent offering lots of crafts. (Please note the Children's Art Tent is not a drop-off deal; parents must remain at the tent.)

Art Harvest is organized by the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin and its share of the profits is directed toward community projects. So even though buying art should be a personal pleasure and not a social imperative, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you're helping not only an artist but also good causes.

However much you have or have not to spend, a walk through a park bustling with sights, sounds and creativity will give you the sense of changing seasons and new possibilities.

Lennie Bennett can be reached at lennie@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8293.

. Fast Facts

Art Harvest

The free outdoor art festival, sponsored by the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin, is Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Highlander Park on the corner of Michigan Boulevard and Pinehurst Road, Dunedin. Parking is $5 on-site and $3 at Dunedin High School with a free shuttle available for the short distance to the festival. Food vendors, free children's activities, no pets. jlweb.org.

>> Upcoming art fests

Here's a rundown of other big art festivals in coming months.

Nov. 21-22: CraftArt on Central Avenue next to Florida Craftsmen Gallery, St. Petersburg

Dec. 4-6: Sarasota American Craft Show at the Sarasota-Bradenton Convention Center

Jan. 31-Feb 1: Art Festival Beth-El at Temple Beth-El, St. Petersburg

March 6-7: Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Tampa

April 17-18: Mainsail Arts Festival, Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg

Art Harvest in Dunedin kicks off season of art festivals across Tampa Bay area 11/04/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 3:30am]
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