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Lake Wales
Friday, April 12, 2024

Lake Wales Art Council ED Discusses Upcoming Lake Wales Art Fest


by James Coulter

For more than 50 years, the Lake Wales Art Fest has showcased scenic artwork in scenic Lake Wales, most currently along the shores of scenic Lake Wailes Park.

This year, more than 75 fine artists and artisans will be arriving from across the county, state, and even country to showcase their artwork and compete for over $22,000 in awards.

The Lake Wales Art Fest will be hosted from Sat. Feb. 24 from 10 AM – 5 PM to Sun. Feb 25 from 10 AM – 4 PM. The event will kick off with Art-B-Q, which will be hosted on Fri. Feb 22 from 5 PM – 9 PM. For more information, visit their website at: https://www.lakewalesartscouncil.org/lake-wales-arts-festival-2024

Tommy Frank, the Executive Director of the Lake Wales Art Council, recently joined us to discuss the upcoming art fest and his expectations for it. Here’s a little of what he had to say:

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience with the Lake Wales Art Center.

A: I have been the executive director for about a year and a half now. Before that, I was our director of programs. During that time, I helped to augment our concert programs, gallery exhibitions, and our education center.

Q: How long has the Lake Wales Art Fest been hosted and what does the event entail?

A: The Lake Wales Art Festival is in its 53rd year. It has been in a couple of different locations. After the last few decades, it has been hosted at Lake Wailes Park, which is a beautiful scenic area to have an outdoor art show. It boasts anywhere from 50 to 100 artists. It is open to the public and free.

Q: What can people come to expect from the upcoming event this weekend?

A: We like to call it an arts festival because it has a lot of extra components beyond just seeing artists and their booths. We also have a hands-on activity area, which is exciting because the community can come and try some of the stuff that they are seeing these artists make. We have a great community hospitality area where we have performances from local bands like Sandy’s Music Girl, which is a great organization that works with girls between 6 and 19 to learn string music. We have an awesome food vendors, so it is a really full festival for people to come down and enjoy for the whole weekend.

Q: Tell us about some of the artists who will be attending this year. Any particular artists you would like to highlight?

A: I have to say there have been a few that have been really great. They range from all over the place. Some of them are right here in Lake Wales like Linda and Richard Marino, who are some really great potters who are locals. Jeff Ripple is also someone from the state of Florida who makes incredible landscape paintings. He is our favorite and an award winner. We also have Tim Peters, who is a former best-of-show winner who will be showing his amazing ceramic works. So it is really exciting to host different artists who are showcasing their wares at our place.

Q: The Lake Wales Art Fest has been hosted for more than 50 years. For as long as it has been hosted, how would you say it has grown, and what has allowed it to be as successful as it has been?

A: It has certainly changed over the years since our humble beginnings in our first years in 1971 at the Southgate Shopping Center where Publix is. That is where we got started. We then moved to downtown Lake Wales. It became too big, and we moved it down to the lake. Overarching our theme there, this community is incredibly supportive of the arts. They want to see artists come to our town, showcase their wares, and have a chance to talk with those artists, and I think it has been the support of the community that has allowed this art festival to be as great during that time.

Hear more of Tommy Frank’s interview on our latest episode of Chattin on the Ridge. Listen to our podcast on Acast: https://shows.acast.com/chattin-on-the-ridge/episodes/ep-23-lake-wales-art-fest-2024-wtommy-frank

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