The seventh annual Art Crawl transformed Downtown Lakeland with its music, art and vendors on Nov. 2 in Munn Park.
The Art Crawl, which originally began in 2013, is supported by the Polk Museum of Art as one of its community outreach programs. Art Crawl’s goal is to break the traditional boundaries for new artists and performers by providing them with an opportunity to reach the community.
The free art festival featured over 70 local artists from across Central Florida who were selling their art and competing for special prizes, such as the People’s Choice Award, throughout the day. Art Crawl also hosted special dance, vocal and theater performances all day, along with live art demonstrations and music. The purpose of the event is to help build relationships within the community to bring appreciation and support for the arts in Lakeland.
Jenni Gregory came to Art Crawl from Davenport to display her comic book artwork and paintings to the Lakeland community. She focuses on creating artwork for comics, as well as whimsical paintings of sea life and magical creatures.
“I don’t come to many art events, as I mostly go to comic book shows,” Gregory said. “This is a great art festival because a lot of times it is hard for artists to get into many art shows or galleries so this is a fantastic local show that is a great start for any artist.”
The non-profit organization’s goal is to highlight artists who traditionally may not fit the identity of most art festivals. As a result, local unknown artists, colleges and small art organizations are able to participate in this inclusive event. Grass root organizations and fresh contemporary artists are just a few of the groups that Art Crawl tries to focus its efforts on promoting within the local area.
Krystal Johnson, a local artist who focuses on creating unique portraits of dolls, has participated in Art Crawl for the past two years. Her paintings play off of the mixed emotions that she feels many adults have towards dolls, creating an emphasis on the unsettling and macabre contrasted with bright colors for her art.
“Last year, we were a little bit of a mess,” Johnson said. “This time, we came more prepared, so this year I can really start showcasing my art fully and be proud of my booth.”
Art Crawl provides artists across Florida with a unique opportunity to showcase their artwork and receive support from the Lakeland community. This annual festival is unique in its goals and the spotlight that it provides to Central Florida’s local artists, musicians and organizations.