BROOKSVILLE — For the past 27 years, professional artists from around Central Florida have made their way to the annual Art in the Park arts, crafts and music festival to participate in Hernando County's largest juried art show.
But for Lois Hall, the event's most endearing creations aren't done by pros, but by youngsters.
Hall coordinates the "emerging artists" tent, which contains more than 400 selected entries that have been created by students from area schools. And some of the paintings are quite good, she says.
"There are a tremendous number of talented young artists in this area," Hall said. "I've seen pieces that are comparable to the work you find at the professional tents."
Indeed, Hall said student participation at the show has more than doubled in the past two years, thanks to an outreach initiative between school art teachers and the Hernando County Fine Arts Council, which sponsors the event.
Like the work of the professionals, the student art is judged, with special awards given in various categories, including a $50 savings bond for the Emerging Artist Award.
This year's Art in the Park will welcome more that 50 artists, crafters and fine crafters, including notable area artists Peter Gerbert and Diane Becker.
Also included will be works by Florida Highwaymen, a group of African-American painters from the Fort Pierce area. During the 1950s and 1960s they created folk art paintings that they sold from the trunks of their cars along Florida highways.
According to Fine Arts Council executive director Mindy Washington, six of the celebrated artists will be in attendance, including original Highwaymen Cornell Smith and Roy McLendon.
As always, the event will feature a children's activity zone that will include a Mother's Day card creation station, where children can make and decorate cards for their mothers.
Saturday's entertainment will include the Chocachatti Elementary School band, Papa Kirk, The Spring Hill Guitar Club and Peggy Owens. Sunday's entertainment will include the Weeki Wachee High concert band, Tribal Belly Dancers and Dee Etta Rowe-Ferraro.
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or email@example.com.