January 1, 2019 | By Lynn Whitelaw
Tarpon Springs Art Association’s
Plein Air Event
Established in 1887, Tarpon Springs is the oldest city in Pinellas County. It has maintained its small-town character over the years and was voted Best Historic Town in 2018 by USA Today.
Part of that recognition is the city’s legacy in the arts, which dates to the 1890s when it first attracted artists to winter in the town. Today, Tarpon Springs proudly nurtures being a “city of the arts” and artists find it a wonderful creative environment.
The oldest artist organization in the city is the Tarpon Springs Art Association which, according to its website, was formed on April 19, 1974 when 17 artists met to form a network of like-minded visual artists. Their mission continues to be: “to promote interest and community awareness of all forms of visual art, to provide opportunities for individuals to associate with other artists, and to share in and learn from artistic knowledge and experience.”
One of their first activities was the founding of the Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival in Craig Park, now organized by the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce, which in March 2020 will celebrate 46 years as one of the premiere outdoor art shows in Florida.
As a 501c3 non-profit organization, the Tarpon Springs Art Association has stood the test of time. It conducts monthly meetings and workshops, organizes art exhibitions for its members around the city, supports community outreach programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs and Tarpon Springs Library, and has decorated a wall for the historic Rose Cemetery, among other activities throughout the year.
The biggest event of the Tarpon Springs Art Association is its annual Paint & Photo Tarpon Springs, celebrating its 10th year in 2020. The event attracts over 50 artists both locally and from around the country, as well as visitors who enjoy watching the artists creating en plein air at locations around the city.
This years’ event is February 18-28 and includes a week of activities including registration with maps of suggested sites, a Quick Draw contest at Howard Park and a juried exhibition with $2000 in awards.
- Plein air paintings and photographs are created on location in Tarpon Springs from February 18-21, inviting artists to explore the city and arts lovers to watch. Artists then display their finished work, for sale, February 21-28 at the Heritage Museum in Craig Park.