The Polk Museum of Art’s MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake has claimed the 20th position in Sunshine Artist magazine’s list of the top 200 art shows in the country for 2016.
This is the highest that Lakeland’s annual juried art show has ranked on this prestigious list. The magazine ranked Mayfaire 55th in 2015. Mayfaire first appeared on the list in 2012.
“We were all ecstatic to see where we placed on this year’s list,” says Executive Director Claire Orologas. “I hope our entire community can take pride in the fact that what began 46 years ago as a small craft fair on the lawn of the library has become a major event in Polk County with national recognition.”
In considering the 2016 rankings, Sunshine Artist asked show participants to vote on all aspects, including sales, artist amenities and the quality of art or craft. The magazine noted that 100 percent of voters reported earnings between $2,000 and $5,000 at Mayfaire.
Orologas anticipates this year’s ranking will attract higher caliber artists and more first-time applicants to the 2017 show. She also believes it could result in larger attendance, she says. Organizers estimated attendance at roughly 70,000 in May.
Eight of the top 20 shows on the magazine’s list are in Florida. Among the factors in ranking are low costs to artists and strong sales.
“All of the top 20 shows demonstrated support from the community,” Orologas says. “Awards are another factor. The Polk Museum of Art gives nearly $17,000 in prize money to winning artists. Artists also have always remarked on the great hospitality they experience here.”
This community event is successful due to the museum’s team of staff and volunteers, the participation of the Lakeland Runners Club, and the City for the pride taken in making it such a well-run event, Orologas says. The lion’s share of the credit goes to Brenda Friedman and Maya Beck, who served as Mayfaire coordinators for the past 10 years. They have left the event in the capable hands of incoming coordinators Joy Williams and Leslie Norman.
About the Magazine
Sunshine Artist is the leading publication for art and craft show exhibitors, promoters and patrons. Since 1972, the magazine has provided its readers with comprehensive reviews of everything from fine art fairs and festivals to small craft shows around the country. Each issue includes hundreds of art and craft show listings, including contacts, booth fees, application deadlines and the type of art/craft that the event accepts.