Festival enriches local art

Blown glass and floating flat-iron heads were among the variety of colorful displays at the 34th annual Temple Terrace Community Arts Festival, held Sunday at Riverhills park.

Egrets, ducks and herons could be seen floating on the banks of the Hillsborough River while hundreds of oak and cypress trees covered the area, adding to the bucolic ambience.

Coordinated by the Temple Terrace Arts Council to promote the arts, the festival featured 60 crafters and 72 fine artists, according to the Tampa Tribune.

“Every year, we try to make it a little better by adding and improving things, and that’s what makes it so special,” Linda Beckham, arts council president told the Tribune.

And special it was.

From paintings, photos and pottery to handcrafted soap, purses and jewelry, the festival had something for everyone. Artists showcased their artwork beneath pop-up canopies while visitors walked through the park, stopping to look at whatever

sparked their interest. No two artists or exhibits were the same, giving visitors the opportunity to experience various types of art in myriad media.

One standout exhibit was On the Virg Designs by Virginia Spalter, glass artist. Spalter fuses several layers of different colored glass together to create bowls, plates, trays, sushi sets, wall art and – my favorite – jewelry. She uses dichroic glass that exhibits both transmitted and reflected color, which causes the sunlight to reflect off the glass, creating multihued vibrant colors. The pieces of glass are heated to about 1400 degrees until they melt and fuse together into different shapes and sizes.

Spalter said she became a glass artist nearly three years ago and has participated in the Arts Festival for two consecutive years.

“(The Arts Festival) is an opportunity for people to come out and see their neighbors in a different light,” she said. “It also adds culture into the community.”

Over the course of the weekend-long festival, a panel of judges hand out various awards to contributing artists, ranging from a $100 Best of Craft Award to the $2,200 an artist receives for placing first overall. According to the Arts Council’s Web site, the Council typically purchases about $4,500 worth of artwork from festival participants.