Massive art festival announced for Julian B Lane Riverfront Park

The 52nd Annual Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts has announced  its festival juror and featured image for the 2022 festival, which will be held at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park March 5-6, 2022.

“As we emerge from the Pandemic  we must come together to celebrate all that unites us,” said Gasparilla Festival of the Arts President Jamie Jenkins. “It’s events like GFA that bring the community together to celebrate our common interests, passions, and purpose.” 

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Since holding the country’s only juried art show virtually last year, which was  the only one to award prize money, the all-volunteer led team at GFA has been working passionately toward  making the 2022’s festival  one for the record books. 

Janet Echelman to jury art show in Tampa

GFA has  announced that artist and Tampa Bay native Janet Echelman will jury the 2022 show. Echelman is a world renowned artist who is local to the Tampa Bay region and has a deeply personal connection to GFA. 

“We are so excited to have Janet’s continued support of GFA and thank her for being a part of this year’s festival”, noted Jenkins. “Her inspiring creations can be seen around the globe. Most notably, ‘Bending Arc’ is one of her works which can be seen at the St. Pete Pier.” 

According to art enthusiasts around the globe, Echelman defies categorization. She is well known for creating billowing sculpture engineered to the scale of buildings, choreographed by wind and light, that shifts from being an object you look at, to a living environment you can get lost in.

Virtual show celebrates artists in Tampa Bay

Echelman’s TED talk “Taking Imagination Seriously” has been translated into 35 languages and viewed nearly 2,500,000 times.. Recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award, Harvard Loeb Fellowship, and Fulbright Lectureship, Echelman was named an Architectural Digest Innovator for “changing the very essence of urban spaces.” Oprah ranked Echelman’s work Number One  on her “List of 50 Things That Make You Say Wow!”

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“I grew up helping my mother, the late silversmith Anne Echelman Cantor, with her handcrafted jewelry so it’s always a special joy to return to my hometown to meet artists and share their work,” said  Echleman.

GFA has also announced  Betsy Best as its festival image artist. Twister II – Twist Again, uses Printmaking as the canvas for a  playful and poignant representation of the intimate interactions we’ve all missed over the last year and a half. 

A new experiential art experience

“The pandemic curtailed some of our most intimate interactions…holding hands, hugging, dancing, playing. Twister II – Twist Again is an homage to the physical contact and play that we’ve had to do without” said Best. “Here, the physical proximity of the traditional Twister game is extreme, resulting in a jumble of tangled and entwined bodies. Discerning one figure from another is formidable. The varied array of patterns adds to the commotion. Yet, there is no caution here, only levity and an acknowledgement of the human need for fellowship.”

“This is but one way to interpret this piece. I hope viewers will observe my work through the lens of their own experience and construct a story or a meaning of their own. Above all, I am most pleased when my work resonates with an individual and provokes a nod of recognition or a smile,” said Best.

Learn more by visiting the festival’s official website.

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