Suncoast Arts Fest is produced by Fine Arts of the Suncoast, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to its mission to develop a community culture that embraces the arts. The organization is organized exclusively for charitable and promotional purposes with three key goals.
- Provide a quality fine arts show within Pasco County, Florida
- Promote all arts for all children in Pasco County
- Increase awareness of the arts in Pasco County
2017 will mark the twelfth year for Suncoast Arts Fest, which will once again take place in the quaint town center environment of The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel. This upscale shopping venue is conveniently located just north of Tampa off I-75. A winding, cobblestone main street edged with trees provides the perfect strolling venue for art lovers to browse through tents filled with extraordinary fine arts and crafts.
One of Tampa Bay’s most popular festivals, weekend crowds of up to 100,000 visitors have traveled to The Shops at Wiregrass to enjoy the festival activities, which features over 125 fine arts and craftsmen from around the country, live entertainment, street painting and emerging artists exhibitions, free art projects for the kids and more.
Our Beneficiary – Arts for Education
The Fine Arts of the Suncoast believes strongly in the educational benefits of an arts-rich education and created Suncoast Arts Fest twelve years ago to help elevate the arts in Pasco County. Not only does the festival provide the public with free access to fine artists and craftsmen from around the country, but it raises valuable resources to support arts education in area schools.
Since the festival’s inception, Suncoast Arts Fest has raised $85,000 and benefited over 15,000 children and teens through its Classroom Grant Program, which provides special project support for visual and performing arts projects in public, charter or private schools in Pasco County.
The History of the Suncoast Arts Fest
People grow up and so do art shows. The Suncoast Arts Fest has shown remarkable promise ever since its “birth” in 2005. Many changes have been made over the last 8 shows and we would love to share some of its highlights with you:
- December 10, 2005, the show was born as the 1st Annual Longleaf Fine Arts on the Village Green.
- Twenty-three fine artists from all over the US were juried into the show along with 30 community artists from Pasco County
- The event committee was made up of all volunteers who gave generously of their time and expertise
- Our trademark “Emerging Artists Gallery” with work of 10th-12th grade students was a crowd-pleaser.
- Sixty juried artists made the show a success.
- The event was once again held at the Longleaf Town Center
- Musical entertainment added energy and excitement to the show.
- For those of you who wondered why we skipped 2006 – we had a lot of revamping to do and decided we needed more than a year to do that.
- Some big changes happened this year!
- The name was changed to the Suncoast Arts Fest
- The show moved to the 17-acre location at the corner of SR 54 and Starkey Blvd.
- WMNF 88.5FM Community Public Radio joined us to provide the music
- The Taste of Pasco added delicious delights to the show
- A whole tribe of fire ants joined the show. As a result of their participation, we decided we needed to change the venue one more time
- Voted the 2009 Pasco Tourist Development Council Event of the Year!
- The Shops at Wiregrass, here we come!
- The show found a new home in Wesley Chapel, FL two miles east of I-75 – convenient to all of Tampa Bay and beyond.
- There were 70,000 visitors and 85 incredible fine artists and craftsmen
- WMNF 88.5FM broadcast live throughout the weekend along with live performances from regional professional and community youth entertainers
- We kept all of the successful parts of the show and added even more
- Chalk artists were a crowd favorite
- Our most important accomplishment was the establishment of the “Art for Kids” funding program to supplement funding of arts education in our community
- Six art partners joined the Suncoast Arts Fest to highlight arts destinations around Pasco County
- Leepa Rattner Museum of Fine Art, Pasco Arts Council, Progress Energy Art Gallery, West Pasco Art Guild, Pasco Hernando Community College and the Pioneer Museum
- Technology reigned this year – QR codes, mobile website and social media
- Production of videos by a professional videographer
- Warm temperatures and sunny skies greeted people from all over the Tampa Bay+ area to enjoy the venue and buy art
- Over 96,000 visitors came to see the 110 fine artists and craftsmen at The Shops at Wiregrass
- Tim Decker, performance artist extraordinary, was featured under the entertainment tent
- The kids’ chalk art section was added and the children had a ball. And, some of the adults did too!
- The 1-mile “Fun Run for the Arts” was added on Sunday morning followed by a yummy pancake breakfast
- More artists than ever participated – over 130!
- For the first time, the artist application system called Zapplications was used with great success
- Everyone was invited to enjoy an evening “Celebration of the Arts” concert by the always popular Late Night Brass
- The largest number of grant checks ever were handed out to teachers to help fund their arts programs
Yet some things remain the same…
- Great, high-quality fine art and fine crafts are featured
- Volunteer run
- Free entrance for all
- Continued support of youth arts programs – music, visual, drama, and more – and art teachers in Pasco County schools.
- Appreciation of the artists who make our show the best!