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  1. Life & Culture

Mainsail Art Festival returns to Vinoy Park. Artists to look for, where to park and more.

Courtesy of Lindsey Humburg, Mainsail Art Festival Donald Gialanella's metal sculptures will be on display at the Mainsail Art Festival.
Courtesy of Lindsey Humburg, Mainsail Art Festival Donald Gialanella's metal sculptures will be on display at the Mainsail Art Festival.
Published Apr. 18, 2018

The Mainsail Art Festival feels like an old friend. The festival has been bringing fine art and fine craft to St. Pete for almost as long as I've been alive. Since the first event in 1976, the festival has repeatedly been named one of the "100 Best Art and Design Shows" by Sunshine Artist, the definitive magazine for art and craft shows. Well, my old friend is returning to Vinoy Park on Saturday and Sunday, bringing another round of 250 top-notch local, regional and national artists. The show keeps its quality high because artists must apply to show, and each year a prestigious juror allocates $60,000 in award prizes.

And there's more to the festival than the exceptional art. The waterfront setting is ideal for grabbing a bite from the Culinary Food Court to enjoy on the sea wall. Local bands including the Betty Fox Band and T-Bone Hamilton's Big Easy Revue help create the atmosphere on both days. For kids, there's a clown, a juggler and fun activities at the Junior League Kids Create tent. See the artists from the Duncan McClellan Gallery tame fire with their glassblowing demonstrations. Don't miss the chalk walk created by an emerging artist, 10th-grader Dani Grazziano.

But since the art is really why you go to Mainsail, here are three artists to watch, all from Florida:

Donald Gialanella,
St. Petersburg

I've come to know Gialanella's work through exhibitions at Florida CraftArt. His metal sculpture of a man with a light emanating from his chest was one of my favorites from the gallery's "Lightheaded" exhibition. Animals and figures are common themes, but his work certainly isn't limited to them. He apprenticed with Louise Bourgeois, the renowned artist known for her large-scale spider sculptures. Find out more about Gialanella at donsculpture.com.

Su Griggs Allen, Sarasota

You've probably seen Allen's ceramic sculptures at other outdoor art shows and in galleries. She calls herself "a storyteller in clay in paint." The faces of her figurative sculptures are extremely expressive, particularly in the eyes. She paints, too, and her magical aesthetic is found in both mediums. See more of her work at sugriggsallen.com.

Lori Pitten Jenkins, Melbourne

I just love Jenkins' watercolors, maybe because many depict food, which makes me happy. In fact, happy describes Jenkins' work, with a vivid color palette and whimsical subjects and titles. Feast your eyes on her work at loripittenjenkins.com.

IF YOU GO

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at 701 Bayshore Drive NE. Free. Paid parking available at Sundial and South Core garages and on Beach Drive. Free event shuttles are available from First Street and Central Avenue to Vinoy Park. Find stops at stpetetrolley.com. mainsailart.org.

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