By Martie Thompson

Easter weekend is April 20 – 21 and for the 51st year, the Mandarin Art Festival will be held on the holiday weekend. The festivities will take place on the grounds of the Mandarin Community Club, 12447 Mandarin Road, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Easter Sunday.

The Mandarin Art Festival features the artwork of more than 100 professional artisans displayed amongst the beauty of nature, under the oaks of Mandarin. All of the artists selected have gone through a jurying process and will also be juried for awards once the festival is underway. Awards will be given in the categories of Functional Fine Craft, Jewelry, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography, Sculpture and Best in Show.

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According to festival chairman Susie Scott, this year’s guest judges are the well-respected and critically acclaimed artist Ted Head, and educator, artist, and activist, Hope McMath. Head’s work is currently on display at Village Arts Framing and Gallery, as well as at Sawgrass Village. In addition to her years at the Cummer Museum, McMath is the creator of a relatively new organization, Yellow House, which was established with a mission to connect the arts to the needs of the community.

The Children’s Art Show will display the work of elementary and middle school students, who may be among the professional artists of tomorrow.

The Children’s Art Show will be judged by well-known artist Pablo Rivera, who continues to have success in a number of mediums including sculpture, drawing, photography, and watercolor. His work can be seen at many of the area galleries. There will also be other enjoyable activities for children throughout the festival.

In addition, the Green Market will provide an opportunity to peruse unique, locally sourced and made items. A bake sale will feature homemade goodies from club members’ kitchens and food vendors will provide an assortment of cuisine for hungry festival goers.

A variety of live entertainment will be presented throughout the weekend and the historic, 100-year-old Post Office and General Store will be open and manned by the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society so that guests may stroll through its doors and back into history. Attendees can try their luck for a Chance Drawing for items contributed by local businesses.

Note that animals, other than certified service dogs, are not permitted at the art festival.

Parking is unavailable at the community club, but free parking is found at Alberts Field on Orange Picker Road and at the Masonic Lodge on Loretto Road. Shuttles will run continually throughout the art festival to and from these locations. A $2 donation per person is requested.

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Photo courtesy Mandarin Art Festival

John Cheer received the Mandarin Art Festival’s 2018 Best In Show Award, and will be exhibiting again at this year’s festival. Cheer combines stoneware, porcelain, glass, glaze, and sometimes copper wire in his creations.

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