Pinellas Community Foundatio­n celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year with Festivale 50, a celebration of the arts in Pinellas. Held at Creative Pinellas, Festivale 50 served as a showcase of Pinellas County’s incredible artistic range and talent.

It was an uncommonly warm winter afternoon, perfect for an outdoor celebration. There was live music, live theater, interactive art stations and exhibits featuring the talented artists who were part of Pinellas Community Foundation’s ACT II Artist Grant program.

As guests arrived, they could sign up at the Wheels on Wheels bus to try their hand at the pottery wheel on Dunedin Fine Art Center’s mobile pottery workshop. As they walked further into Festivale 50, guests were greeted by food stalls to enjoy various festival-worthy treats like soft pretzels, shaved ice, fresh lemonade, corn dogs and of course, cotton candy.

No matter where guests went on the campus, they were serenaded by beautiful music from one of the many groups and performers. The Brazillian ‘Som Do Jazz’ Trio played soothing jazz in the exhibit hall while Sherwood White belted out classic Elvis songs in his full impersonator attire on the outdoor stage. The Ruth Eckerd Hall Chorus led by Johance Wicks sang entrancing acapella tunes in the courtyard.

Other musical performers included the awe-inspiring string quartet led by composer Tom Sivek, playing his original score “Three Dementians for String Quartet.” One could see the audience’s feet tapping to the music of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday’s Young Lions, a band made up of high school musicians Erik Hempel, Nick Love and Alex Malkovich.

Guests made a little music of their own with the Florida Orchestra Instrument Petting Zoo, with all sorts of instruments on display for them to pick up and play.

Pinellas Community Foundation Introduces its ACT II Artists

One of the major highlights of the event was the ACT II Artists displays and performances. Lynn Foskett Pierson, the PCF artist in residence for 2018-2019, was at Festivale 50 showing off her chair-inspired collection of work and answering questions about her art. ACT II Artists like Paula Kramer (“Travelers on the Same Road”), Victoria Jorgenson (“The Magic Hour”), Cora Marshall (“Golden Years”), and the ACT II+ Artists of Creative Clay, PARC, and The Arc of Tampa Bay all displayed their hard work for the enjoyment of the guests.

The ACT II+ project by Creative Clay, PARC, and The Arc of Tampa Bay was particularly motivating as it represented a collaboration among artists with special needs 60 years and over. Each artist was asked to paint their answer to the question: “How does it feel to age?” All of the pieces were arranged in a mural over which acetate was hung, enabling visitors to post their comments.

Besides the Wheels on Wheels bus, guests could try making different crafts at the NOMAD printmaking studio, the Florida CraftArt ornament making space, and the Pinellas Sheriff’s PAL woodworking station. Festivale 50 was a truly interactive experience, where all guests could experience first-hand the explosion of arts that make Pinellas unique.

To complete the art-full afternoon, all guests gathered on the midway for an energizing performance by the Pinellas Sheriff’s Police Athletic League (PAL) Drumline. The applause could be heard for miles (OK, a little exaggeration).

Those Who Made It Possible

Festivale 50 would not have been possible without the generous support of the sponsors, including presenting sponsor Regions and hosting sponsor Creative Pinellas. Other sponsors included AARP; Senior Citizens Services; Carr, Riggs & Ingram; WUSF Public Media; Tampa Bay Times; WEDU; Dr. Jim & Sue Petru; Bollenback & Forrett, P.A.; and Allen Harris Design.

Pinellas Community Foundation wishes to thank its the sponsors, the many PCF donors that make life better every day in our community, over 60 hardworking volunteers and all of the talented artists who attended and contributed not only to Festivale 50, but who make Pinellas County a culturally and artistically vibrant place to live.