Category Archive for: ‘Gulfport Events’

Sculpture Selected for Prominent Gulfport Public Art Location

Artist Stephen Oliver has been selected as the winner of the Gulfport Merchants Association’s competition for a work of public art adjacent to the Gulfport Casino. Oliver’s sculpture proposal, titled “Best Kept Secret, reflects on Gulfport’s history and the spirits of diversity and creativity that characterize the City today.  According to Oliver, “it also celebrates the openness of a once-segregated community that continues to grow to accept everyone.”

The sculpture will be sited adjacent to the Gulfport Casino, an Art Deco styled public hall that is a Gulfport icon and has served as a community gathering place since the turn of the century.  The Casino was recently approved for addition to the list of National Historic Landmarks.

Concept drawing of "Best Kept Secret," the winning entry by artist Stephen Oliver in a competition for a public art installation in front of the iconic Gulfport Casino

Concept drawing of “Best Kept Secret,” the winning entry by artist Stephen Oliver in a competition for a public art installation in front of the iconic Gulfport Casino

Oliver’s sculpture will consist of a metal boat situated in a raised position at eye level so that visitors can read the poetry cut into its port and starboard sides:

“To cross the gulf be our port of call
leaving a wake of peace and love for all”

“All hands together joined to row
make rainbows of gauntlet as they go”

The sculpture also incorporates a keyhole in the stern of the boat, through which one can view a rainbow of painted colors and reflecting colored glass elements on the interior.  The stern of the boat is also shaped like the façade of the casino and serves as a palette for a painting of “the colored people’s dance pavilion” to reflect how the community has evolved to become an inclusive one since the days of segregation.  Oliver found an image of the old pavilion on the Gulfport Historical Society’s website.  The boat’s tall mast-like weathervane, situated beside the boat, reflects the themes of peace and love in the poetry cut into the boat’s hull and incorporates sculptural elements intended to resemble Gulfport’s initials ‘G-P’.

Stephen Oliver is known by many Gulfport locals and visitors as the designer and vendor of the graphic “Give Peace” shirts and other garments he sells at Gulfport’s Tuesday Fresh Market.  He has a background in architecture and furniture design, and has worked with numerous museums and artists in coordinating and designing projects, residencies, exhibitions and public art as well as making his own art.

Oliver has a degree in Architecture from New Jersey Institute of Technology and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Furniture Design from Rhode Island School of Design. He lives part of the year in Maine.  His family has local roots in St. Petersburg, where his father and other family members still live. His grandfather, Henry Oliver Sr., was a prolific builder whose wife ran their small produce market in St. Petersburg.  “Grandpa Oliver” also helped lay the brick streets of Gulfport during a building boom that started in 1923 and ended in the Great Depression.

 Oliver expects to begin work on the sculpture immediately, with final installation and dedication ceremony planned for this summer.  The Gulfport Merchants Association (GMA) selected Oliver’s work after a national call for artists that resulted in over a dozen entries.  Proceeds from Gecko Fest and other events sponsored by the GMA are funding the public art commission.

Gulfport Merchants Association

Gulfport Merchants Association

Springfest Garden, Art & Faerie Festival

The 20th annual Springfest will take place along the green and tree-covered expanse of Gulfport’s 7.5 acre Clymer Park (5501 27th Avenue South), along the Beach  Boulevard approach to the City’s historic waterfront district, on Saturday, April 12th, from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.  The theme of the event features Springfest as a “Garden, Art and Faerie Festival.”  For one day only, the park will be transformed into an “enchanted village” inhabited by costumed faeries, sprites, gnomes, ogres and trolls.  Renaissance-era characters, gypsies, minstrels, wizards and roving entertainers in costume will also stroll through the event.  All visitors are encouraged to join in the spirit of Springfest by donning wings, faerie-tale finery, Renaissance flair or any imagination-inspired attire.  Two costume contests will take place to recognize the most colorfully-clad visitors, one for the little ones and another for older folks.

The event is free, family and dog-friendly, and open to the public.  Activities and entertainment for all ages will be offered.  A wide variety of activities and entertainment will include a May pole dance, a faerie house contest, garden art & plant sale and live music.  A children’s area will offer many activities including tiara-making, face painting, pixie dusting, bubble blowing, a “faerie fight” and more.

Vendors will offer live garden plants, garden art, flowers, herbs, Renaissance-period items, clothing, jewelry, art, hand-made crafts and more.  Assorted food and drink vendors will be on hand, and an enchanted beer garden will offer adult beverages.  Live music will be performed throughout the day.

Free parking is available on site and free trolley rides to and from off-site parking areas will be offered.  Springfest is hosted by the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce.  Co-sponsors include the City of Gulfport, the Gulfport Merchants Association, Bright House Networks, Paradise News, The City of Imagination and other community groups.  For more information, visit and “like” Springfest on Facebook/Gulfport Springfest or call 727-322-5217.

Vendor space and sponsorship opportunities for Springfest are still available.  Applicants may include, but are not limited to: faerie theme, fantasy, Renaissance, plants and gardening, garden art, artists, craftsperson’s, food and beverages, corporate sponsors, and 501(c)(3) children’s non-profits.  Chamber members will receive a discount.  All merchants are asked to decorate their displays with a theme appropriate for the event, including faeries, fantasy, gardens, Renaissance or medieval periods.  The merchandise itself need not be themed.  Apply at

The Gulfport Art Walk has become a beloved Tampa Bay tradition, over 20 years and counting! Twice a month on each First Friday and Third Saturday 6-10pm year-round.

The Gulfport Art Walk has become a beloved Tampa Bay tradition, over 20 years and counting! Twice a month on each First Friday and Third Saturday 6-10pm year-round.

Gulfport’s Art Walk takes place twice monthly year-round. Shop local for interesting selections in Gulfport’s Waterfront Art District, each first Friday and third Saturday from 6:00 -10:00 pm. Gulfport’s authentic “Old Florida” atmosphere will provide a unique and relaxing shopping experience for visitors of all persuasions. Marvel at the work of artists and craftsmen, as well as authors and entertainers stretched over a half-mile up and down scenic Beach Boulevard. Live musicians including the Urban Gypsies, the Double M Band, and others will be appearing at venues throughout the Art Village. While browsing the art and craft booths, visitors may also enjoy Gulfport’s unique shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants. There is no admission fee for visitors and complimentary parking is available nearby with courtesy trolley rides available from off-site parking areas. Gulfport events are pet and family friendly. Experience a dining, shopping and cultural experience unlike any other. The event is located near the surrounding area of 3129 Beach Blvd. S., Gulfport, FL 33707.  Vendor information can be found at For general information, follow us on Facebook, visit us at or call 727-322-5217.

Gulfport Art Walk details

Gulfport Art Walk details


Get Ready to GET RESCUED!

Gulfport's Get Rescued 2014 Events

Gulfport’s Get Rescued 2014 Events

Gulfport, FL – Gulfport’s Get Rescued has a full day of fun planned for you at this year’s 10th annual event on Saturday, February 22. Not only will you be able to find a fur-ever friend from one of the many rescues who will be on site but you can also shop for both humans and animals at an array of vendor booths that will be lining Beach Blvd in downtown Gulfport from 10 AM to 6 PM.  There will be yummies for your tummies, ranging from Mediterranean and Jamaican food to fire-baked pizza and tacos for both you and your puppy!  Admission to the event is complimentary and the Gulfport Trolley will be running from off site parking areas at no charge.

The first ever “Bark-B-Que” will be at Salty’s on Shore Blvd. from 12 PM to 6 PM, or until sold out.  Hamburgers, hot dogs and “Doggie Daiquiris” are on the menu at Salty’s, located at 5413 Shore Blvd S, in Gulfport. A donation of $5.00 will get you a burger, a bag of chips and a soda, or two hotdogs, a bag of chips and a soda.  All-natural frozen treats for the pups will be available for $2.00.  We’ll have your sweet tooth covered as well, with a wide variety of goodies available at the Bake Sale and there will also be a “Pick-A-Prize” raffle with a wonderful selection of items from our very generous donors.  All proceeds will be going directly to Gulfport’s Get Rescued, the animal rescue festival and fundraiser. Bark-B-Que is sponsored by Salty’s, Stella’s Deli, and The Tampa Bay Adventures Meet Up group.

During the day, visit the Beach Haus Garden on Shore Blvd to celebrate National Margarita Day, with margaritas on the rocks for a special price of only $4. While you are there, you can write a memorial message or honor message on a lighted paper lantern that will be launched from the beach in front of Beach Haus at 6:45 PM.  We are asking for a $1.00 donation to send up your message and you may also purchase a lantern and join the launch for a donation of $5.00. Beach Haus is also the place to be to watch the Pet Parade at Noon!

Visitors and attendees are encouraged to bring donations of dog and cat food, cat litter and pet supplies for the Pet Supplies Drive.  Drop-off locations will be conveniently located on Beach Blvd at the intersections of 128th Ave S and Shore Blvd. next to Beach Haus. These much needed contributions will be distributed to participating rescues on the day of the event.

Don’t forget to register at the GMA booth for the pet parade and costume contest at noon that will feature adoptable animals as well as animals that have come to Get Rescued to play.

Stick around  after the pets have gone to bed for Tails at Twilight, the evening fundraising event at the Gulfport Casino, 5500 Shore Blvd., which begins at 7:00 PM. “Tails” will feature silent auctions, raffles, cash bar, snacks and music by The Hot Tub Club. Tickets for Tails at Twilight are a $20 donation and will be available at the GMA booth during the daytime event as well as at the door at 7. For more information on Tails at Twilight, or to purchase advance tickets, please visit www.GulfportMA or contact Lynda Shehan at (727) 323-3892 or

Gulfport’s Get Rescued is one of the largest animal rescue events in the state, with all profits to benefit participating non-profit rescue groups. The events location is in the surrounding area of 3129 Beach Blvd. S. For more information on Gulfport’s Get Rescued, visit or or contact Suzanne King at 727-322-5217 / email


Important Call to Artists!

The Gulfport Merchants Association is seeking artists to submit proposals for a public art installation to be located adjacent to the City’s iconic Gulfport Casino, located on the Gulfport waterfront.

The historic Gulfport Casino proudly graces the City's waterfront.

The historic Gulfport Casino proudly graces the City’s waterfront.

The Gulfport Merchants Association (GMA) is a non-profit civic organization dedicated to the advancement of business in the Gulfport Waterfront District.  The GMA raises funds primarily through membership dues and sponsored events, including its twice-monthly Art Walk, weekly Tuesday Fresh Market and the annual Gecko Fest, Gecko Ball and Gecko Pub Crawl.  Funds are used primarily to promote and advertise Gulfport as a destination for visitors.  However, the GMA is also committed to supporting local charitable causes and has donated many thousands of dollars to local organizations.

The GMA is also committed to supporting art in the Gulfport community and has previously funded two public art installations flanking the entrance to the Waterfront business district at Beach Boulevard and 29th Avenue South, by artists Frank Strunk III and Owen Pach.

For 2014, the GMA is investing considerably more in its commission of a single public art installation.  $8,000 will be awarded for the project, to include all associated costs.  This public art installation, next to Gulfport’s most famous historic landmark on the City’s waterfront, will be highly visible for generations.

All artists are welcome to submit proposals, which must be received no later than Friday, February 14th.  More information, including a downloadable application, is available at  Owen Pach, Vice-President of the GMA and President of the Industrial Arts Center of Gulfport, will act as liaison for the application process.  For more information and questions, please contact Owen Pach (727-320-4051; 727-623-4920 or email

Holiday Hoopla!

5th Annual Holiday Hoopla!

Dec 14, 2013
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

3129 Beach Blvd. S., Gulfport, FL 33707


Don’t get your Tinsel in a Tangle…It’s time to get your holiday cheer in gear!

Support small business and independent artisans and crafters by shopping local! The Gulfport Merchants Association presents the 5th annual Holiday Hoopla on December 14, 2013 from 10am to 6pm. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Operation Santa and Gulfport families in need.

Holiday Hoopla is a celebration of arts, crafts, foods, live music and roving holiday characters set in a waterfront atmosphere amid bright, twinkling, colorful lights.

Stroll the decorated streets filled with talented exhibitors and unique shops and galleries. The festival will provide shoppers with one-of-a-kind gifts that cannot be found anywhere else, and all of your holiday shopping can be done in one place!


Visitors will be enchanted by a variety of festive and fun holiday-themed music, holiday carolers, dance performances, and roving street performers.

Many types of entertainment will perform during the Hoopla, from local school bands & Choral groups and local musicians to area performing arts groups. Roving performers include Dickens characters and carolers.

The Gulfport Merchant’s Association gives back to the community all year round.

During the Holiday Hoopla event donations will be collected for Operation Santa (New Toys/Gift cards, etc.), The Gulfport Senior Center Foundation (Non perishable food, toiletries & Pet Supplies) ).  If you are able, please help these organizations in need.  Collection Boxes will be located at the Casino Stage at the intersection of Beach and Shore Boulevards during the event. Prior to the event drop off locations include Gulfport Police Department and The Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce.


Holiday Hoopla takes place on Beach Blvd. S. in Gulfport on December 14 from 10am to 6pm. (GPS: 5500 Shore Blvd. S., Gulfport, FL 33707)

The event is sponsored by Bright House Networks, Tampa Bay Times, the Industrial Arts Center and the City of Gulfport. As always, admission and parking are free.

Gulfport Celebrates 20 Years of Art Walks

Gulfport will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its well-known Art Walk on Friday, November 1st.  A forerunner of similar events that are now common throughout Tampa Bay, Gulfport’s Art Walk now takes place on the first Friday and third Saturday of each month, year-round from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m.  Local and visiting artists and crafters line the sidewalks of scenic Beach Boulevard in Gulfport’s historic Waterfront District.

On the occasion of the 20th Anniversary Celebration, organizers will offer a display of Art Walk memorabilia, a birthday cake to share with visitors, drawings for prizes donated by local merchants, and awards to artists participating for the evening.  Gulfport City officials will be on hand to help commemorate the event.  Cake will be served and awards presented in a brief ceremony beginning at 7:30 p.m. in front of Mangia Gourmet (2930 Beach Boulevard South).

The Gulfport Merchants Association has announced a “Call for Artists” to participate in the 20th Anniversary Art Walk Celebration.  A $200 “Best of Show” juried award will be presented during the evening.  Veteran Art Walk participants will also be recognized with awards in a variety of categories.  Artists interested in participating should contact Suzanne King by email to as soon as possible.

The first Gulfport Art Walk, originally referred to as “Gallery Walk,” took place on the first Friday, November 5th, 1993.  At that time, six recently-opened independent art galleries on a single block of Beach Boulevard banded together to draw attention to their burgeoning gallery scene.  An advertisement in the local newspaper announced the first Gallery Walk, and participants put out paper bag luminaries to direct visitors to the galleries, each of which offered refreshments.

The original participants were Sabal Palm Galleries (“tropical” and local art), Lynne Brown Fine Arts (Brown’s portraits and other art works), Troyka Art Gallery (Russian and European artifacts), Outta My Gourd (gourd and fiber art and basketry by Lisa Coopersmith), Kaleidoscope (stained glass work by Roger Turner), and Griffin Studio (paintings and pottery by Nan and Bill Griffin).

The original advertisement for Art Walk, originally called Gallery Walk, appeared November 4, 1993.

The original advertisement for Art Walk, originally called Gallery Walk, appeared November 4, 1993.

Gulfport’s Gallery Walk proved successful and drew increasing numbers of both locals and visitors to the first Friday event.  As the event grew, a 1994 full-page feature by the St. Petersburg Times art critic highlighting the Gulfport art scene resulted in a “mob” of visitors that same evening, according to Turner.  Lines of people waited to get into galleries.  As Turner recalls, “We felt like we had arrived!”  By that time, additional galleries were opened, as others closed.  A year after its origin, the terms “Gallery Walk” and “Art Walk” were often used interchangeably.  Also at this time, gallery owners and locals began referring to the Waterfront District, particularly along Beach Boulevard, as the “Art Village.”  The third Saturday Art Walk, originally called the “Saturday Night Stroll,” was added to the calendar in 1999.  Now sponsored by the Gulfport Merchants Association, Art Walk expanded to include several blocks of outdoor exhibits by local and visiting artists several years ago.

Gulfport’s status as an “Art Village” has remained attached through the years, although the number of galleries has ebbed and flowed over time.  An insurgence of restaurants to the same area in recent years has created an equally strong identity as a dining hub.  Artists living and working in Gulfport continue to maintain a strong presence in the small, eclectic city, and a handful of galleries and retailers that include original art work in their mix add to the current Art Walk offerings.

The combination of art and artists indoors and out, a variety of dining choices, live entertainment venues, street performers, and the “Old Florida” charm of the Gulfport Waterfront District combine to create today’s lively Art Walk scene.  Free parking and free trolley service to and from offsite parking areas is available during each Art Walk.   The Industrial Arts Center of Gulfport (IACG) maintains quarters in Gulfport after a recent relocation to the “Alley of the Arts” off 29th Avenue South, near Beach Boulevard.  Demonstrations and classes in hot glass-blowing and metal forging are offered at the IACG.  The nearby City of Imagination at Gulfport Arts Center (2726 54th Street South), offers a venue for classes, exhibits and performances in a variety of visual and other art forms.

The Gulfport Historical Society will continue the celebration of Art Walk’s 20th Anniversary by organizing memorabilia related to the history of Art Walk, artists in Gulfport and the growth of the “Art Village.”  Items will be displayed during the evening of the Anniversary event and will continue to be displayed at the Gulfport Historical Museum (5301 28th Avenue South) through the month of November.  The Historical Society’s next monthly “Porch Party” on November 15th will focus on the history of Gulfport’s Art Walk, Artists and Galleries.  The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and includes a speaker, as well as a social hour and hors d’oeuvre, with visitors invited to bring food of their own to share, as well as their own beverages of choice.  Donations to the Society during their third Friday Porch Parties are encouraged.

For more information on the 20th Anniversary Art Walk Celebration, contact Daniel Hodge by email to or phone 727-366-4086.

An illustration of Art Walk today.

An illustration of Art Walk today.

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