12 of America’s Top Contemporary Fine Craft ArtistsAwarded $10,000 at the 26th Annual Florida CraftArt Festival
(Sunday, November 19, 2023, St. Petersburg, FL); Under bright St. Petersburg skies, surrounded by the best and brightest fine craft artists, jewelry artist Samantha Freeman, Samantha Freeman Design, took the top award this morning’s artist awards breakfast celebration at the 26th annual Florida CraftArt Festival. Freeman is a British born jewelry designer who calls Ocala, Florida home, has traveled the world with curiosity and delight. The strong visuals of foreign cultures provide the vocabulary from which she draws to write her story in jewelry. Unique designs which are wearable, comfortable and timeless. “I use every trick in the book, and some that I invented to create original and innovative jewelry,” in describing her approach to her craft. Barbara Anderson Hill, Hill Fine Art Consulting was this year’s festival juror. Hill managed Tampa’s public art program and served as consultant to several public art programs in southwest Florida. She has served Florida’s art and cultural institutions as exhibition curator, collections manager for the Florida GulfCoast Art Center, grants and major gifts manager for the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art, founding executive director and curator for the von Liebig Art (now Naples Art Institute) and executive director of the Edison-Ford Winter Estates Foundation. Her large-scale ceramic sculptures are in numerous private, corporate, and public collections including the Harn Museum of Art and the University of South Florida.The yearly autumn destination for art favored by enthusiasts, collectors and holiday shoppers alike, this two-day Florida CraftArt Festival is held the weekend before Thanksgiving each year, artfully heralding the Tampa Bay holiday shopping season. The Florida CraftArt Festival, hosted by the statewide, nonprofit Florida Craft Art organization, has raised funds from generous sponsors and donors allowing for well over a hundred thousand dollars to be awarded to fine craft festival artists for more than a quarter century.
“Our juried festival is the only such festival across Florida, and among the only such festivals in the U.S. Southeast, dedicated to exclusively showcasing the best in contemporary fine craft,” said Florida CraftArt CEO Jorge Vidal, who joined the host organization earlier this year. “To qualify for our festival, work must be original and handcrafted in mediums including ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media and wood.”
An additional eleven artists were awarded as follows:Award of Excellence: Marc Aune, Jewelry Award of Excellence: John Mascoll, Wood Award of Excellence: William Kidd, Ceramics Award of Excellence: Trent Manning, Mixed Media Award of Merit: Caitlin Albritton, Jewelry Award of Merit: Steve Palmer, Glass Award of Merit: Pam Fox, Jewelry Award of Merit: Kenneth Rosenberger, Jewelry Award of Merit: Lena Adams, Jewelry Award of Merit: Lynn Hardesty, Jewelry Emerging Artist Ribbon: Olivia Rogowska, Ceramics
Festival presenting sponsor is The Residences at 400 Central by Red Apple Real Estate, and co-sponsored by the City of St. Petersburg Parks &Recreation, with additional support for the festival from Raymond James and Suffolk Construction.
Samantha Freeman, Samantha Freeman Design, Best in Show2023 Florida CraftArt Festival
Award of Excellence & Award of Merit Winners2023 Florida CraftArt Festival