The Lakeland Center Welcomes Lakeland Art Guild

The recent growth of the Lakeland Art Guild shows rich and compelling evidence that a fertile local art community exists right here in Lakeland and the Greater Lakeland area. Seeing a renewed synergy and enthusiasm, a leadership team emerged to articulate a vision and begin to fill an artistic need.

The Lakeland Art Guild has met some of the challenges of artists who find themselves in a small city that may not have the resources of a larger metropolitan area. Creatives need encouragement. Many want to connect with peers and mentors, some want to learn new techniques. Several meeting venues have helped in these areas.

A larger challenge lunges for an organization operating without a permanent space and that challenge is finding dedicated spaces for the Guild’s operations. The first challenge was a meeting space for the monthly member meeting. Meetings have been held at Visual Concepts, but with the high-class challenge of a rapidly growing membership and greater meeting attendance, the group outgrew this space. Wisely, the leadership had adopted a collaborative, community-oriented spirit that is serving the Guild well. The Guild now has a new alliance with the local chapter of Campfire USA and began meeting in their beautiful building last November.

Another formidable challenge is securing dedicated space for exhibitions. Florida Southern College has been a strategic alliance with the Guild for forty-three years, providing the Guild with an annual exhibition space at the Melvin Gallery for an Annual Juried Exhibition.

Collaboration & synergy and that community-minded spirit of the Guild’s leadership team lead to an exciting opportunity for both local artists and residents of the City of Lakeland as well as visitors to our area.

Recently, The Lakeland Art Guild and The Lakeland Center formed a strategic alliance serving the needs of both organizations. The Lakeland Center has an impressive collection of art; however; the director, Mr. Mike LaPan, had a different vision. He desired to make room for artists closer to home. The Guild had found a new vital local art scene, yet had few dedicated venues for showcasing it. The collaboration between The Lakeland Center and The Lakeland Art Guild embraces the will to believe, and the will to treat local art as big league – that is that innovative, important, and valuable can emerge not only from somewhere else, but from what’s here!

Visit Lakeland Art Guild’s inaugural members only juried exhibition in the main lobby of The Lakeland Center. The award winners are:

Best of Show, Mal Surrency, Repair Work, Watercolor

Second Place, Greg Jones, The Deep Woods, Mixed Media

Third Place, Sharon Siebert Haeusler, Glad to Meet You, Watercolor

Merit Award, Toni Treverton, The Arrangement, Oil

Merit Award, Barbara Canning, Let’s Tie One On, Watercolor

Honorable Mention, Jane Bryant, Sunlit Splendor, Oil

Honorable Mention, Cheryl Fitzsimmons Dossey, Vintage Home, Oil/Mixed Media

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Polk Arts Alliance

PO Box 727 Bartow, FL 33831-0727 director@polkarts.org (863) 804-0494