Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Informal party burgeoned into Art in the Park in Brooksville

BROOKSVILLE — Larry Whidden always believed that art should be celebrated — really celebrated, like a huge party with food, music and drinks all around.

That's what prompted Whidden, a sculptor who lives in Pasco County south of Masaryktown, to start an art festival. He picked a weekend in late May and contacted his artist friends to show up at Kennedy Park in Masaryktown. The idea was to sell art during the day and then head over to Whidden's 6.5-acre Casa De Angela artist colony to party.

"It was what we called a 'wind down' party for artists who were about to head north for the summer season," Whidden recalls. "It wasn't supposed to be that big of a deal."

He was wrong. The Masaryktown Arts and Crafts Festival became a very big deal. By its fifth year, the festival, which featured live music, food vendors and upward of 130 artists and craftmakers, was drawing an estimated 20,000 visitors during the weekend, Whidden said.

Twenty-five years later, Whidden, who is 68, looks back with fondness on the festival, which in 2001 moved to Tom Varn Park in Brooksville. Now known as Art in the Park, and hosted by the Hernando County Fine Arts Council, he laments that the event is now much more formal than the ones he and his friends used to stage.

"It's nice, but the flavor is lot different," said Whidden, who helped found the Fine Arts Council. "Their vision is different than mine, but it works for them. That's all that's important."

This year's Art in the Park, which will be Saturday and Sunday at Tom Varn Park, will host about 80 local and Florida artists. Like everyone, event organizers are battling the sluggish economy as best they can, said festival coordinator Sherry Tarrio.

"Finding sponsors has been a challenge," Tarrio said. "Overall, we've done pretty well attracting artists, and we've got them coming from all over Florida."

The juried art show will offer $3,700 in prize money in several categories, and will have special exhibits for school-age children.

As always, the festival will feature live music throughout the day, including performances by the West Hernando Middle School chorus, Lindsay Taylor, the Acoustic Guitar Club of Spring Hill, a Stage West theater group, Papa Kurt and Friends, Dixie Blue, and Orlando classical group Nova Era.

A Kids Creation Station will provide art-making activities for children.

Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

if you go

Art in the Park

The 25th annual festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to

4 p.m. Sunday at Tom Varn Park, 306 Darby Lane, off W Jefferson Street in Brooksville. Admission is free. A $1 donation is requested for parking.

Informal party burgeoned into Art in the Park in Brooksville 04/30/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 30, 2009 6:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Head-on crash kills Wesley Chapel teacher and Zephyrhills man

    Accidents

    TAMPA — Two men, including a high school math teacher, were killed Monday in a head-on crash on Morris Bridge Road, deputies said.

    Shackelford
  2. Pinellas sees slight increase in black and first-year teachers

    Blogs

    A year after the Pinellas County school district was chastised in a state report for clustering inexperienced teachers in the state's most struggling schools, the district has reported a first look at its teacher corps.

    The Pinellas County school district has taken a first look at first-year teachers in struggling schools and minority hiring, both of which ticked slightly upward.
  3. Editorial: Trump owes apology to fallen soldier's Miami family

    Editorials

    There is no more sacred, solemn role for a president than to comfort grieving family members of soldiers who have given their lives in service of their country. Those calls cannot be easy, and some presidents are better at it than others. Yet President Donald Trump and his administration continue to engage in a …

  4. Lightning: Jon Cooper takes unusual tact to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and ... whom else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  5. Hillsborough teachers get a hard no on scheduled pay raises

    Blogs

    The Hillsborough County School District cannot afford to advance teachers to their next year's pay levels, employee relations manager Mark West told the union at Monday afternoon's bargaining session.

    This might be the last teacher bargaining session in Hillsborough for awhile. Although the two sides are not officially at an impasse, the district says it cannot pay teachers their scheduled raises.