MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake Returns to Lake Morton for 47th Year

The Polk Museum of Art’s MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake returns to Lake Morton May 12-13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. 

Celebrating its 47thyear, this juried art show is a great way to spend time with your mom on Mother’s Day weekend, but this annual event packs a ton of fun for the rest of the family, too.

Included during the weekend of activities is Mayfaire Saturday Night on May 12, 5:30-11 p.m. This free concert features the band MPiRE at the Frances Langford Promenade at Lake Mirror, as well as the MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire 5K Road Race presented annually by the Lakeland Runners Club. The evening ends with fireworks.

Events and activities occurring during Mayfaire include the Children’s Art Tent and Kids Zone with games and free, hands-on art activities designed for participation by children of all abilities. Live performances are held throughout the weekend on the front lawn of the Lakeland Public Library, and food trucks offer lots of tasty variety for everyone to enjoy. 

Art is available for purchase, from jewelry and pottery to paintings and sculptures in a wide range of price points. Mayfaire presents $17,000 in awards to artists annually, and this year’s winners will be determined by Mayfaire Judge Leland Michael Bryant. You can learn more about Bryant here.

An Adaptive Services Oasis is located on the library lawn to provide event accessibility information for people of all abilities. This will be staffed by volunteers who will provide assistance with communication, shuttle transport and information regarding reaching accessible entry points designed for people who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices. You can learn more about accessibility at Mayfaire here.

Mayfaire organizers select an artist’s work to serve as the event’s poster and T-shirt design each year, and this year’s image is by Orlando artist and long-time Mayfaire participant Tony Eitharong.You can learn more about Eitharong here.

Free parking and shuttle service is available, and free shuttles also run around Lake Morton and to the museum during the festival.

This signature event is one of the museum’s oldest traditions, and it has grown exponentially since its debut as a crafts fair on the front lawn of the Lakeland Public Library. More than 70,000 visitors from throughout Central Florida attend Mayfaire each year.


Visit https://www.mayfairebythelake.orgfor more information.

Polk Museum of Art Closes, Reschedules Events Due to Hurricane Irma

Due to Hurricane Irma, the Polk Museum of Art will be closed beginning Friday, Sept. 8 and remain so until further notice.

Museum staff are working Thursday and Friday to secure the building by removing art from the galleries and securing it in a safe storage location.

The museum has rescheduled several events to the following dates:           

  • Art Lab originally scheduled Sept. 9 is rescheduled to Sept. 16 at 10:30 a.m.
  • VSA Student Reception originally scheduled Sept. 9 is rescheduled to Sept. 16 at 11 a.m.
  • Point of View Gallery Talk with Dr. Alex Rich originally scheduled Sept. 8 is rescheduled to Sept. 22, noon-1 p.m.
  • Access Art: Special Needs scheduled Sept. 9 is canceled. It will resume on Oct. 7 at 11 a.m.

Additional changes occurring during the week of Sept. 10 are as follows:

  • School tours are canceled all week.
  •  Programs and meetings scheduled Sept. 11-13 will be rescheduled.
  • Additional programmatic determinations will be made after the storm passes.

Elves Shelves Returns to the Polk Museum of Art

Santa’s elves are helping children do some holiday shopping for their friends and family members with Elves Shelves at the Polk Museum of Art.

Elves Shelves runs Nov. 26 through Dec. 11, and features items priced mostly between $2 and $10. It is geared toward children ages 5 to 13, and is set up outside The Shop in the main gallery. 

This shopping event is held during regular museum hours, and it provides a comfortable, fun atmosphere for young shoppers who may have a limited budget to buy small gifts for their family and friends. Children can make their lists and add up their gifts to see if they are within their budgets.

Shop and Visitor Services staff and volunteers provide paper, pencils and calculators to help children. If they don't find what they are looking for on Elves Shelves, there are other low-cost items throughout The Shop.

Elves Shelves also offers a free giftwrapping station where children can wrap their gifts by themselves or with assistance. Staff and volunteers also can wrap gifts for children.


MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake Breaks into Sunshine Artist Top 20

The Polk Museum of Art’s MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake has claimed the 20th position in Sunshine Artist magazine’s list of the top 200 art shows in the country for 2016.

This is the highest that Lakeland’s annual juried art show has ranked on this prestigious list. The magazine ranked Mayfaire 55th in 2015. Mayfaire first appeared on the list in 2012.

“We were all ecstatic to see where we placed on this year’s list,” says Executive Director Claire Orologas. “I hope our entire community can take pride in the fact that what began 46 years ago as a small craft fair on the lawn of the library has become a major event in Polk County with national recognition.”

In considering the 2016 rankings, Sunshine Artist asked show participants to vote on all aspects, including sales, artist amenities and the quality of art or craft. The magazine noted that 100 percent of voters reported earnings between $2,000 and $5,000 at Mayfaire.

Orologas anticipates this year’s ranking will attract higher caliber artists and more first-time applicants to the 2017 show. She also believes it could result in larger attendance, she says. Organizers estimated attendance at roughly 70,000 in May.

Eight of the top 20 shows on the magazine’s list are in Florida. Among the factors in ranking are low costs to artists and strong sales.

“All of the top 20 shows demonstrated support from the community,” Orologas says. “Awards are another factor. The Polk Museum of Art gives nearly $17,000 in prize money to winning artists. Artists also have always remarked on the great hospitality they experience here.”

This community event is successful due to our title sponsor, MIDFLORIDA Community Credit Union, all of our sponsors, the museum’s team of staff and volunteers, the participation of the Lakeland Runners Club, and the City for the pride taken in making it such a well-run event, Orologas says. The lion's share of the credit goes to Brenda Friedman and Maya Beck, who served as Mayfaire coordinators for the past 10 years. They have left the event in the capable hands of incoming coordinators Joy Williams and Leslie Norman.

About the Magazine

Sunshine Artist is the leading publication for art and craft show exhibitors, promoters and patrons. Since 1972, the magazine has provided its readers with comprehensive reviews of everything from fine art fairs and festivals to small craft shows around the country. Each issue includes hundreds of art and craft show listings, including contacts, booth fees, application deadlines and the type of art/craft that the event accepts. 

“Visible Rhythms” Exhibition Opens at Lake Wales Arts Center

The Polk Museum of Art installed its second annual exhibition at Polk State College's Lake Wales Arts Center on Monday.

It is on view in support of the college’s annual Jewel of the Ridge Jazz Festival April 6-10 along the shores of Lake Wales, and remains through May 16.

The exhibition titled “Visible Rhythms” includes 22 works by 20 artists that are part of the museum’s permanent collection. They were chosen for their ability to visually correlate with the sounds from the jazz festival.

Although these works of art can be appreciated when viewed alone, their visual vivacity is enhanced when coupled with the rhythmic power of modern jazz, Curator Adam Justice says.

“Essentially, it's equating color with rhythm,” Justice says. “All of these pieces are abstract works that are characterized by their vibrant colors.”

This exhibition is one of many ways the Polk Museum of Art brings art to residents who live throughout Polk County and the Central Florida region, says Executive Director Claire Orologas.

In addition to this exhibition done in partnership with Polk State College, the museum is a partner in the Winter Haven arts incubator, The Outer Space Gallery, which opened in 2015. 

The Polk Museum of Art also has sculptures in Polk, Highlands and Lee counties as part of the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition.  

The Lake Wales Arts Center is located at 1099 FL-60. The center is open Monday- Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed weekends.

The Story Behind “Visible Rhythms”

In 1911, Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) penned his now famous treatise “Concerning the Spiritual in Art.” Through this momentous work, Kandinsky was the first artist to lay out the connections between music and painting, Justice says. He equated certain tones of sound with specific shades of color. For example, the lowest frequency tones, or bass sounds, were the auditory equivalent to deep blue hues.

People don’t connect sound and color exclusively with the ears and eyes, but with our souls, according to Kandinsky. He believed, as so many artists and theorists before him, that sensitivities to music and visual art are innate in every human, and we connect the two in our own respective and unique ways. By outlining the relationships between painting and music, Kandinsky helped us understand the basis for our spiritual interpretations of the two art forms.

Perhaps the best modern example of Kandinsky’s theory is the relationship between modern jazz and 20th-century abstract art. Just as a visual artist composes a canvas according to the interaction of color and shape, a jazz musician composes a piece of music according to the interaction of tone and rhythm. What ultimately connects these two sorts of compositions is the similar energy innate in each.

“Visible Rhythms” seeks to emphasize that energy.


Polk Museum of Art is Awarded its First Disney Grant

Walt Disney World Resort awarded a $12,000 grant to the Polk Museum of Art on March 4.

The money will be used for two youth-oriented programs in the Parker Street neighborhood.

The Parker Street Teen Program has about 12 participants who have created a business to design and sell clothing. This program incorporates the arts, entrepreneurship and life skills training, says Laura Putnam, outreach manager for the Polk Museum of Art.

Putnam works with teens to design, plan, develop and market a silk-screened clothing line. Profits from the T-shirt sales are split, with one half going to a local charity of the teens' choosing and the other being spent as a class. This unique aspect flips participants from being recipients of charity to being community benefactors, she says.

“The teens are doing everything from the ground up, which includes creating a business plan,” Putnam says. “Giving back to a local charity promotes civic engagement, and the role reversal from recipients of charity to community benefactors is a key component to the project.”

The Disney grant will help cover supplies, production and administrative costs for the program’s third year, which begins in October. Putnam also will use the funds to purchase iPads so participants will have access to design apps that will be useful in designing more clothing.

The remainder of the grant funds will be used in the Parker Street After School Program, which provides an outlet for about 80 children to express themselves creatively and safely.

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