It's always an honor for someone to be the featured artist at a significant festival.
When it's the 50th anniversary of the Dunedin Art Harvest, one of the largest outdoor art festivals in the Tampa Bay area, it means even more.
Using oils and acrylics, Cheryll Grogan of Gulfport depicts beauty in the rusted, the outdated and the discarded.
"I like architecture, including old buildings and old cars," said Grogan, 53. "I see the beauty in things others might not even look at."
Her painting for this festival, done in acrylics on a 40- by 30-inch canvas, is an apt choice for the 50th anniversary of the Art Harvest. A rusty blue Volkswagen minivan, a popular vehicle in 1963, shines under a harvest moon in the starlit sky. The van's bumper bears other images from 50 years ago, including a yellow smiley face, which debuted in 1963.
The Art Harvest will take place Saturday and Sunday in Highlander Park. Organizers of the festival, presented annually by the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin, say this will be the best and biggest show to date.
"This event started off as a sidewalk art show 50 years ago," said Stacy Walker of the Junior League, who is chairing this year's event with Katherine Schmidgall. "Now we are a juried event with more than 200 artists participating."
Walker said she anticipates more than 50,000 visitors, including casual strollers, collectors and buyers. Art aficionados will find something for all tastes: oil, watercolor and acrylic paintings; digital art; fiber art; graphics; jewelry; works made of glass, metal, stone or wood; and photography.
Children are welcome. In a special craft pavilion, open until 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, kids of all ages can create art using paper and crayons, beads and clay.
For the artists, more prize money than ever before will be offered — cash awards totaling $27,500. The top prize, Best of Show, is worth $7,000. Last year's winner, Lynn Whipple of Winter Park, took top honors in mixed media. Other honors this year are one Award of Distinction, 10 awards of excellence and 13 awards of merit.
"All of the festival's profits will be funneled into projects dealing with foster care," said Walker, who has been involved in the show for 10 years. She's pleased about how the event has evolved.
"It gets bigger each year in every respect," she said. "More artists want to be involved, and more people than ever attend the shows."