Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Features and More

Gasparilla art festival draws country's best to downtown Tampa

RECOMMENDED READING


BY LENNIE BENNETT

Times Art Critic

The Gasparilla brand has grown a lot in recent years. It now includes a race, a music event and a film festival.

For decades it was just about pirates, parades and beads.

In 1970 the Gasparilla name also became associated with art.

The Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts on Saturday and Sunday isn't as old as the Gasparilla Pirate Fest, which began about a century ago. But now in its 42nd year, the art event has become a well-established tradition. Its $74,500 total prize money is one of the largest in the Southeastern United States, which means that it draws a lot of excellent artists hoping to win some of it, especially the $15,000 Best of Show.

For a long time, the festival was set up along downtown Tampa streets that were closed to vehicles during the weekend. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park has become its home. It's a lovely location but has less space. So the number of invited artists has been trimmed from about 300 to 230 because the Tampa City Council no longer gives the Gasparilla committee permission to close part of adjacent Ashley Drive. (C'mon, council people, give them a break!)

You won't notice the reduction. It's still a big, bustling bazaar of a show that offers a full complement of traditional media: painting, photography, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, glass and wood.

The festival, like most outdoor shows, is also a great family outing. The park has a playground and a riverwalk. The Tampa Museum of Art sets up a free arts and crafts area for kids. Next door is the Glazer Children's Museum if more distractions are needed.

A charming feature that began three years ago is the Art Collectors in Training program. Gasparilla volunteer Brenda Gregory, an artist, started it to encourage art appreciation in children. Gasparilla participants are asked (not required) to donate one or more small, inexpensive works that are displayed in a tent. Kids browse the art (no parents allowed in) and may purchase one. Everything's priced at $5 or $10. They receive a map of the festival with "their" artist's booth highlighted so they can meet. All money raised is given to the Children's Cancer Center; last year, $2,700 was contributed. Gregory suggests you bring your kids early because they have always sold out of art. And they only accept cash or checks.

Lennie Bennett can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8293.

Comments
‘Last Flag Flying’ is kind of a puzzling follow-up to 1973’s ‘The Last Detail’

‘Last Flag Flying’ is kind of a puzzling follow-up to 1973’s ‘The Last Detail’

Richard Linklater called 2016’s Everybody Wants Some!! a "spiritual sequel" to his last-century breakout Dazed and Confused. Different characters, same youthful, life-exploring vibe.Linklater’s latest, Last Flag Flying, can be considered a spiritual ...
Published: 11/21/17
Five ideas for easy Thanksgiving appetizers

Five ideas for easy Thanksgiving appetizers

Thanksgiving can put a heavy burden on the host. We’ve assembled five appetizers that are quick and easy to prep. Some, like our risotto balls and goat-cheese figs, cater to vegetarian diets, so you can be sure to please all your guests. Even if you’...
Published: 11/21/17
Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ has a Dia de los Muertos theme and is, well, lifeless

Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ has a Dia de los Muertos theme and is, well, lifeless

Disney-Pixar’s Coco was more enjoyable three years ago when it was titled The Book of Life and came from Twentieth Century Fox.Both animated features spring from Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos celebration, the annual "day of the dead" when departed rela...
Published: 11/20/17
Della Reese, of TV’s ‘Touched by an Angel,’ has died at 86

Della Reese, of TV’s ‘Touched by an Angel,’ has died at 86

LOS ANGELES — Della Reese, the actress and gospel-influenced singer who in middle age found her greatest fame as Tess, the wise angel in the long-running television drama "Touched by an Angel," has died at age 86. Reese’s co-star on the series, Roma ...
Published: 11/20/17
Most air travelers say taking off your shoes is okay. An etiquette expert disagrees

Most air travelers say taking off your shoes is okay. An etiquette expert disagrees

Unless you are ensconced in first class, sleeping on a plane is as intimate as dozing off in a waiting room on jury duty — everyone on the aircraft knows the decibel level of your snoring and the sad state of your socks.To gauge how passengers percei...
Published: 11/20/17
Tips for first-time Thanksgiving hosts (or really, any of us)

Tips for first-time Thanksgiving hosts (or really, any of us)

Take small bites.This may be the most crucial advice for Thanksgiving hosts who don’t have years of cooking and coordinating experience to provide the confidence that comes with leading the charge on the year’s biggest cooking day.It’s the first thin...
Published: 11/20/17
American wines red, white and sparkling for your Thanksgiving table

American wines red, white and sparkling for your Thanksgiving table

You’ve dusted off Grandma’s good crystal for the Thanksgiving table. Or you’ve pulled out all your mismatched stems to have enough for every place. Now what to pour?For this most American meal, based on foods native to America — turkey, pumpkin, corn...
Published: 11/20/17
Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Before Mel Tillis achieved stardom, writing songs recorded by hundreds of Nashville artists and embracing the stutter that became his trademark, he was a young man fresh out of the Air Force struggling to land a spot in a Plant City talent show.Eyes ...
Published: 11/19/17
How to make a pie from scratch: filling ideas, decorating tips, crust recipes and more

How to make a pie from scratch: filling ideas, decorating tips, crust recipes and more

Perfect your crust. Try new filling recipes. Learn some decorating tricks. And prepare for the biggest pie day of the year: Thanksgiving.   From apple to thyme You’ve got the crust down. Now it’s time to choose a filling for your holid...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/20/17
Thanksgiving 101: Everything you need to prepare for the big cooking day

Thanksgiving 101: Everything you need to prepare for the big cooking day

From appetizers to pies and everything in between, we’re here to help you put together a low-stress Thanksgiving spread. Here are a few ideas, and be sure to check out our Thanksgiving special report for more tips on preparing for the big day. ...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/20/17