Friday, February 23, 2018
Arts

Juried art show comes to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

WEEKI WACHEE

Anyone who has tracked the Spring Hill Art League's annual art showcase through its 39-year history knows the challenges the organization has faced.

For years, the Fall Harvest of Art had a nomadic existence, finding temporary residence in a shopping center parking lot, a retirement community, even behind the waterfall on Spring Hill Drive before being welcomed a few years back to scenic Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.

But even that move has come with a twist, said festival coordinator and club vice president Kathleen Wilson. Because of other activities being held at the same time, park officials informed the club last fall that the event needed to be moved close to the spring instead of November.

Wilson said that despite the challenges of moving the festival to a time when community event calendars are jam-packed with activities (including the Hernando County Arts Council's annual Art in the Park on March 9 and 10), she is confident that this weekend's juried art and craft show will quickly find its niche.

"We appreciate the park allowing us to host it there because it's such a beautiful setting, and people seem to love walking the paths and looking at art," Wilson said.

That was certainly true when the festival was held within a few weeks of Christmas and drew upward of 75 artists, who exhibited to eager buyers looking for unique holiday gifts.

The event has always had strong artist support, and so far about 35 local and regional participants have signed up, including past "best of show" winners Peter Gerbert, Diane Becker and Steve Johnson. While Wilson admits that artist participation is down from the event's heyday years, the show has always provided an excellent opportunity for the art club to showcase the area's up-and-coming talent.

"We feel that having new exhibitors helps to keep the show more interesting," Wilson said. "And promoting artists and their creativity is a major part of what the Spring Hill Art League is all about."

Formed in 1980, the league is an artists support group that promotes Hernando County and sponsors activities like art workshops and paint-alongs. In addition, the group funds an annual scholarship program for high school seniors who want to pursue art as a career.

The weekend event will include music, children's activities and games, and food and beverages. Patrons will be able to enter the park and enjoy the attraction at reduced admission prices.

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

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