Tampa artist Brian Taylor was tired of going to St. Petersburg for art shows.
For years it seemed like all the fine art happenings were taking place across the bridge, and very little was going on downtown.
“Instead of going over to St. Pete, why don’t artists come here,” Taylor said. “We’re from Tampa.”
So Taylor came up with Art on the Water, a high-profile showcase for Tampa artists that also raised money for charity.
“The art was dying here in Tampa, and I’m trying to bring it back up,” said Taylor, surveying his colleagues who Sunday set up displays of their artwork at the Sail Pavilion on the scenic Tampa Riverwalk.
More than 60 artists participated in yesterday’s event – a fine art show, sale and auction that raised money for the Mike Alstott Family Foundation.
“We have done a couple of the shows before,” Taylor said, “but we are basically doing this as our first major event. What we want to do is get a jumpstart, to where we eventually want to go with these shows.
Taylor – whose business card reads ‘mission: create events for a special cause’ – connected with the Alstott Foundation through his close friend and mentor, Eric Kennedy, a former account executive and editor who presided over the duPont Registry.
“Eric showed me that Mike did really great stuff for children and all kinds of important work for our community,” said Taylor. “Mike’s foundation picks from a variety of needy organizations. When you donate money [there], it goes to a lot of worthy places.”
Taylor wants to hold Art on the Water events every two or three months, and connect with a different charity for each show.
“This is going to catch on and in the fall it’s going to blow up,” said Kennedy. “If you can do this in the summer, you can really do it in the fall.”
The scenic waterside location doesn’t hurt either.
“The venue is world class,” said Kennedy, “and it’s a great way for local artists to get their work out there. After all, they pour their hearts into this stuff.”
On Sunday, window shoppers and art enthusiasts milled about the numerous tents and art displays set up in along the Riverwalk. They ate, drank, listened to live music and eyeballed the artwork. Some bought a painting or a piece of jewelry. At the show’s conclusion, Taylor held the art auction - 100% of all profits from auction items sold, after event costs are met, will be donated to the Alstott Family Foundation.
“Our goal has always been how can we draw lots of people, get the artists exposure, and get a charity involved,” Taylor said. “With Art on the Water, it all coincides in one.”
“It’s neat that we can have all this fun and help somebody out [with the Alstott Foundation],” Kennedy said.