The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most prestigious juried outdoor art festivals, consistently rated among the top shows by Sunshine Artist and American Style magazines. Each year more than 350,000 visitors enjoy the show.
This year about 1,100 artists from around the world applied for entry and an independent panel of judges selected 225 national and international artists to attend the show. The National Endowment for the Arts, The White House, Congress and many others have lauded the Festival for promoting art and art education in Central Florida. An all volunteer board of directors runs the annual Festival, now celebrating its 53rd year.
The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival was started by a handful of enthusiasts as a community project to benefit local artists and art lovers. The first festival was held on Park Avenue in March 1960. The festival featured original works of art and, after being advertised for just three weeks before the opening, drew 90 exhibiting artists. Over the next decade, the festival grew to over 600 artists and was spread out over Park Avenue from Fairbanks Avenue to Canton Avenue and on all cross streets. For the past 30 years or so, the festival has been contained solely in the park area and currently features 225 artists and 3 emerging artists. A loving art community has created and nurtured a successful festival that looks forward to another 50 years in Central Park.
There is a wide variety of outstanding artwork. Categories include: Clay, Digital Art, Drawing and Graphics, Fiber, Glass, Jewelry, Leather, Metal, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography, Sculpture and Wood.
The artists compete for 63 awards totalling $72,500. Best of Show is $10,000. The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival Committee purchases the Best of Show art and donates it to the City of Winter Park. (All previous Best of Show winners are on permanent display at the Winter Park Public Library.) There are also 10 Awards of Excellence; each is $2,000. There are 20 Awards of Distinction; each is $1,000 and there are 30 Awards of Merit; each is $500. In addition, a $2,500 Award for a Distinguished Work of Art is presented through the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. A $5,000 "Art of Philanthropy" purchase award donated by the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation has been added for 2013.