Date ArticleType
11/21/2018 Member News

CraftArt Festival 2018 Hosted Record-Breaking Crowds

CraftArt Festival 2018 hosted record-breaking crowds

Downtown St. Petersburg, November 17 and 18, Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.


More than 12,000 of St. Petersburg’s residents and visitors enjoyed the free 21st Annual CraftArt Festival held on Saturday, November 17 and Sunday, November 18, just outside the doors of the Florida CraftArt Gallery, at the crossroads of Central Avenue and 5th Street in Downtown St. Petersburg.

CraftArt Festival 2018 was presented by the Red Apple Group. Collectors and art lovers were delighted by the creations of over 100 of the nation’s best contemporary fine craft artists, artist demonstrations, food trucks, craft beers. Children learned how to make weavings in the Kids CraftArt activity tent sponsored by The Don CeSar. The two-day festival featured handmade works in ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, paper and mixed media.

"As a sixth generation St. Petersburg native, I couldn't be prouder of our statewide presence and success through Florida CraftArt Festival this past weekend,” said Tyler Jones, Board President of Florida CraftArt. “From artist demonstrations to children's hands-on activities, our community has again shown the power of fine craft in bringing people together. It is this culture that defines St. Petersburg as THE arts destination in which to live and visit. Thanks to all our patrons for the continued support!"

Mr. Jones and Jean McLaughlin, the show judge and the former Executive Director of the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, awarded $10,000 in cash awards to the artists. The exhibiting artists said an increase in sales of their work was attributed to the great weather and strong promotion by Florida CraftArt.

CraftArt Festival also showcased the talents of seven emerging artists with the support of the DMG School Project, as Florida CraftArt engages and mentors the next generation of fine craft artists. Emerging Artists received a free booth, photography session, postcards and the opportunity to show and sell their work at a premier Festival. Those sponsoring the artists were Kevin Beck, DMG School Project, Kathryn Howd, Jennifer and Jeff Lovelady, Rising Tide Innovation Center, Royal Bank of Canada, Barbara Sansone and Robert F. and Alexandria Welker.

Other sponsors who make the festival possible are Raymond James, The Don CeSar, Regions Bank, Duke Energy, Tricera Capital, Trenam Law, Camden Pier District, Acropolis Greek Taverna, St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport, Tyrone Square Mazda, Brian James Photography, The City of St. Petersburg, the Division of Cultural Affairs for the State of Florida, Tampa Bay Times, Creative Loafing, Total Wine and WUSF. To learn more about the 21st Annual CraftArt Festival, visit

Florida CraftArt is Florida’s only statewide nonprofit organization representing established and emerging fine craft artists. For over sixty years, Florida CraftArt has advanced and celebrated Florida’s fine crafts, in St. Petersburg and throughout the state as Florida’s primary authority for fine craft art. Its engaging and thoughtful cultural programming enlightens, inspires and brings the joy of art to all. Florida CraftArt’s mission is to grow the statewide creative economy by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work. Visit Florida CraftArt at 501 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.


CAF2018 Award Winners 6078.jpg: CraftArt Festival 2018 award winners are (front row) Award of Excellence $1,000 by Trenam Law to Obayana Ajanaku, a jewelry artist from Decatur, Georgia; Best of Show $3,000 by RAYMOND JAMES to William Kidd, a ceramic artist from Lakeland, Florida; Award of Excellence $1,000 by TRICERA CAPITAL to Leslie Peebles, a mixed-media artist from Gainesville, Florida; Award of Excellence $1,000 by Duke Energy to Calan Ree, a ceramic artist from St. Petersburg, Florida. Back row are Jean McLaughlin (Judge), Award of Merit $500 winners (Royal Bank of Canada award) Billie Barthelemy, a fiber artist from Pinewood, Minnesota , (Rising Tide Innovation Center award) Leeann Kroetsch a fiber artist from Tampa, Florida, and (St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport  award) Kevin Knittel, a mixed-media artist from Wesley Chapel, Florida; Emerging Artist Award to Emmett Freeman from St. Petersburg, Florida, and Award of Excellence to (Regions Bank award) a mixed-media artist from Ormand Beach, Florida.

Not pictured are Directors Best of Show $1,000: (The Red Apple Group award) Jessica Weiss, a jewelry artist from Knoxville, Tennessee; Award of Merit winners (WUSF award) Jonathan Stopper, a jewelry artist from Sarasota, Florida, (Camden Pier District  award) Ronnie Grundset, a mixed-media artist from Treasure Island, Florida and (Board of Directors award) Mel Fleck, a mixed-media artist from Louisville, Kentucky. Photo by Katie Deits.

William Kidd-Best of Show Winner-Photo by Barry Ravel.jpg: The Raymond James Best of Show was awarded to William Kidd, a ceramic artist from Lakeland, Florida. Photo by Barry Ravel.

Calan Rae - Duke Energy Award of Excellence.jpg: The Duke Energy Award of Excellence was presented to ceramic artist Calen Ree for her entrancing ceramics. Photo by Katie Deits.

Kids CraftArt Tent -The Don CeSar sponsored Weaving Project. Jpg: Hundreds of children enjoyed creating weaving projects and writing messages on cloth to be woven into a wall hanging. The Kids CraftArt Activities were sponsored by The Don CeSar. Photo by Katie Deits.

CraftArt Festival 2018 crowd.jpg: The weekend’s sunny weather and art attracted a record-breaking crowd to the 21st Annual CraftArt Festival in downtown St. Petersburg.



Janie Lorenz

Business and Membership Manager

Our mission is to grow the statewide creative economy by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work.

Please click here to donate to Florida CraftArt and support fine craft in Florida! Thank you!

Florida CraftArt

501 Central Ave.

St. Petersburg, FL  33701