Former State Senator Lorraine Wojahn has been quoted as stating, “Arts are the glue that hold a community together.”
Beverly Sills is noted for her powerful quote “Art is the signature of civilization.”
Art Is Important
As a tool for economic revitalization, public art creates community identity. Whether it’s a park sculpture, stained glass, temporary or permanent structures – these visual displays are all around us.
A leisurely walk through Fort Blount Park will afford a visitor a display of sculptures, (one permanent), as well as the beauty of the reflection pond and fountain.
Then take a few short blocks to City Hall, and see the Mayor’s Kids’ Art Project on the walls. What a great job the kids from area schools have done to provide us with art designed for viewing by the general public.
You can visit Main Street Bartow, Inc.’s office on Central and Summerlin Avenues and pick up a walking art tour of POP ART – 12 beautiful (and large) pieces of computer art displayed in windows of vacant buildings that are for rent or sale. Each piece is a winner of the Main Street Bartow’s art project, and each offers a form of expression that embodies our community’s spirit.
The bronze statue of the Volunteer Fireman in front of the Fire Department represents a sense of community pride and helps define us.
These are just a few of the public and easily viewable forms of art in and around the City of Bartow. Be sure to check out the Polk County History Center, the Bartow Public Library, and the events and organizations listed below for more forms of enriching art in Bartow.
Bartow Art Guild
In September 1958, a small group of Bartow artists gathered to work and paint under the tutelage of Henry de Rues.This group founded the Bartow Art Guild in 1959 as a non-profit organization with the purpose of development and exposure of visual and cultural art in the City of Bartow and its environs.The Bartow Art Guild is a non-profit organization of artisans from Bartow, Florida and surrounding areas of Central Florida. Guild membership is open to artists and supporters of the arts. The guild has open meetings, including presentations by artists of all mediums. Workshops and classes available year round and several events are scheduled throughout the year.
Bloomin’ Arts Festival
Bartow’s Bloomin’ Arts Festival draws some of the Southeast’s finest artists to Bartow, as well as thousands of visitors every Spring. The two-day festival is held down Bartow’s historic downtown streets in the shadows of the old historic courthouse. This event offers a wide variety of food, a children’s section, adult & student awards, quilt show, flower show, antique car show and Bloomin’ Bike Ride, providing an exciting atmosphere visitors find irresistible! An application to enter the artshow can be found on the Bartow Art Guild website, or click here.
Bartow Craft Fair & Honeybee Festival
The Downtown Bartow Honeybee Festival and Craft Fair is a one-day (November) craft fair featuring all types of homemade crafts and art. It also includes kids’ activities, classic car show, antique fair, produce and plants. Food is provided by local groups and downtown restaurants. The location is along Main Street and Admission is FREE. This is an event of Main Street Bartow, Inc., (863) 519-0508.
Bartow Adult Concert Band
The Bartow Adult Concert Band provides a venue for experienced, volunteer musicians to perform in a series of popular community concerts throughout the year. Many of the band’s 70 musicians have been playing all their lives, and most of them are full-time Polk County residents. Although the band is made up of adults of all ages, their target audience is the retired population around the county, and band members come from all parts of the county. For more than two decades the band has performed one free concert a month in the Bartow Civic Center between November and April. The Bartow Civic Center is located at 2250 S. Floral Ave. All concerts are performed on Sunday beginning at 2:30 p.m., except the the special concert every July 4 that typically fills the 1,000-seat civic center. All concerts are free. The band performs a wide variety of music, including marches, classics, Latin-influenced pieces, jazz and Broadway show tunes. Director John DeYoung, a retired Polk County high school band director, organized the band in 1990, patterning it after similar concerts in northern states.
Dancing Under The Stars
If you like Dancing With the Stars, you won’t want to miss the Bartow’s Dancing Under the Stars, returning September 16, 2016 at the Bartow Civic Center, 2250 S. Floral Ave. Tickets are on sale now and will continue up to and including September 13. The premiere gala was one of the top fundraising events in Bartow in 2015: a fundraiser with a touch of elegance and sophistication not seen in years, consisting of social dancing to a live, five-piece band, catered dinner and performances by two of the top couples in U.S. Competitive DanceSport.
This year’s gala has again partnered with the Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce Foundation and its cultural arts initiative. Chamber Executive Director Jeff Clark called the partnership a natural fit between the business and arts communities. “Arts and culture-related activities and events such as Dancing Under The Stars can provide economic benefits to our community. They create jobs, attract investments, generate tax revenues and stimulate local economies through tourism and consumer purchases,” said Clark. “They also enhance quality of life, enriching local amenities and attracting young professionals.”
The majority of this year’s proceeds will be directed toward the Chambers Foundation’s many Arts Initiatives programs and will include a contribution to help maintain Care To Dance, a Bartow-based initiative.
“Pairing the Chamber’s Arts Initiative with Care To Dance, a wellness program using ballroom dance and music to assist those with mild to severe cognitive and physical challenges associated with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other neurological conditions is a perfect marriage,” said DUTS chairwoman, Debra J. Sutton, who also chaired the past two Dancing Under the Stars events.
“This particular event also supports exciting new findings that link dance with effective Alzheimer’s and dementia therapy,” Clark said in support of Sutton.
Among the highlights at last year’s event were the performances by Sergey Barsukov and Maria Sidnjova (2014 U.S. American Smooth Rising Star Champions), and Maksym Lotoskyy and Sarah Haworth (2016 Emerald Ball Rising Stars of American Rhythm).
To make reservations
Dancing Under the Stars will run from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., Friday, September 16 and includes a social hour and dance with music provided under the direction of Craig Singleton and the Big City Band, catered dinner and special performances by the two professional dance teams.
Tickets for the event are $50 per person and may be ordered online by visiting www.bartowchamber.com, going to the second column on the home page (Events in the next 365 days) and scrolling to Dancing Under the Stars and clicking on the link, which will bring you to the ChamberOrganizer.com page. From there scroll down and click “Register for the Event.”
Reservations can also be made emailing: CaretoDanceFL@aol.com. To make reservation by phone, call Trish Pfeiffer at 863-533-1337, or The Sutton Law Firm at 863-533-8912.
Deadline for reservations is Sept. 13.
Sponsorship and VIP seating available
Businesses, organizations and/or individuals wishing to sponsor Dancing Under the Stars can do so in any of the following levels:
• Champagne & Chasse – $2,500: Includes VIP front row seating with table for eight; champagne with select cheeses, specialty meats and fruit; dinner, social dancing, group photo with dancers (eight copies); prominent listing in program; prominent listing in DVD; inclusion on stage sponsor board or banner; media mention, recognition at the event.
• Wine & Waltz – $1,500: Includes VIP table for eight; wine with select cheeses and fruit; listing in program; group photo with dancers (eight copies); listing in DVD; inclusion on state sponsor board or banner.
• Spirits & Swing – $1,000: Includes VIP seating with table for eight; drink tickets (eight); listing in program; listing in DVD.
Forms available at/from The Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce, 510 N. Broadway, Bartow, FL 33830; or sign up online, www.bartowchamber.com; or call 863-533-7125 to order by phone, email: Jeff@BartowChamber.com.