GFA is committed to connecting with the community in a variety of ways that are year-round and help extend our reach beyond the Festival. Our Community Engagement activities include the Young Artists Expo, Scholarships, and Permanent Art Installations programs, as well as actions nurturing relationships with local arts organizations. Additionally, we have a Community Outreach Village at the Festival that is home to the Young Artists Expo, Children’s Activities, Art Collectors in Training, and several organizations focused on showcasing artists with disabilities, including the MacDonald Training Center, Arts4All Florida, and Pyramid, Inc.


The mission of the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, Inc. is to produce an annual, premier juried outdoor art festival for the enjoyment and education of our patrons, artists and guests and the enhancement of the Tampa Bay area’s cultural life. Four GFA Collegiate Scholarships are being offered to further this mission by assisting local college and graduate students to pursue an education and a career in visual art.

2025 Application Details

2025 Scholarship Application details coming in Fall/Winter 2024.

Application Requirements

Applicants must be pursuing an associate, bachelor, or graduate degree with a declared major in fine arts, including studio art in the disciplines we feature at the Festival: ceramics, digital, drawing, fiber, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, watercolor, and wood. Students only minoring in visual art fields are not eligible for the scholarship.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, enrolled as a full-time student in an institution of higher education located in Hillsborough or Pinellas County, and be in good academic standing.

The scholarship will be awarded based on demonstrated artistic talent, determined at the sole discretion of the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, Inc. Applicants must submit a minimum of three (3) and a maximum of five (5) images of their work (1 image each of 3-5 different pieces). Although no essay is required, applicants should submit a brief description accompanying each image (fewer than 100 words for each) and a brief artist statement explaining their aspirations for a future art career.

By applying for the GFA Collegiate Scholarship, the applicant agrees that the images submitted to GFA may be used on the GFA website, on social media, in press releases, or for any other purpose related to its scholarship program or for promoting GFA; however, all artwork and its likeness shall remain the sole property of the applicant.

Have Questions?

Any questions regarding the GFA Collegiate Scholarship program should be submitted to

Scholarships are supported by:

  • The GFA Board of Directors

  • Roddy Brownlee Reed Memorial Fund

  • John and Judy Scheffel in memory of Harold W. Scheffel

  • Jeremy Donimirski

  • Sandra Sroka

  • Alexis Mootoo

  • The Zumbano Family

2024 Scholarship Winners

2024 Jurors: Dolores Coe and Bruce Marsh 

My Thi Nguyen, GFA Collegiate Scholarship 2024
Ritornaro, GFA Collegiate Scholarship Winner 2024
GFA 54 Scholarship art- silver vase with lemons
Rivera-Alvarez, GFA Scholarship Winner 2024
Mercado-Lues, GFA Collegiate Scholarship Winner 2024

2023 Scholarship Winners

Alissa Pradera, GFA 2023 Collegiate Art Scholarship Winner
Alaniss Viera, GFA 2023 Collegiate Art Scholarship Winner
Delaney Hatfield, GFA 2023 Collegiate Art Scholarship Winner

2022 Scholarship Winners

Natasha Rivera-Alvarez, GFA 2022 Collegiate Art Scholarship Winner
Lee Pearson, GFA 2022 Collegiate Art Scholarship Winner
Jessie Goldstein, GFA Emerging Artist 2022


As an extension of our mission to enhance the Tampa Bay area’s cultural arts and to have a lasting impact in the community, GFA is endeavoring to create Permanent Art Installations in all areas of the community. While a relatively new initiative for the organization, it is hoped that we can fund at least one new installation each year.

The GFA Permanent Art program is generously supported by sponsors Johnson, Newlon & Decort, PA, Karen Price and Campengia Sugar-van Calcar


GFA’s Young Artists Expo (formerly Scholastic Showcase), which debuted in 2017, gives our community’s youngest artists an opportunity to display their artwork at the Festival. We hope this experience encourages them to pursue their artistic talents and helps them recognize that becoming an artist is attainable and rewarding. 

High School Program
  • Participants represent public schools in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Manatee, and Sarasota counties.
  • Up to ten works of art per county are submitted to GFA.
  • Allowable mediums: ceramic, digital, drawing, fiber, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, watercolor, and wood
  • Works on display are purely for artist participation. Accordingly, the artwork will not be available for sale during the Festival.
  • The works will be judged by the festival juror. The creator of three winning pieces will be awarded $1,000 each and each corresponding school will receive $2,000 each for its visual arts program.
K-12 Art Doodad Competition

For the 2024 Festival, GFA presentsd the annual Doodad Repurposed Sculpture Competition. Since 2012, Doodads has inspired students to create imaginative sculptures repurposing common objects, or “doodads” following a specific theme. Open to K-12 students attending public, private, charter and home schools in Hillsborough County, the competition challenges them to think beyond traditional art materials. The goals for the competition are to enhance students’ creative expression skills, confidence, and self-esteem, leading to a life-long appreciation and love of art as they build skills that will be useful in whatever field of endeavor they choose. 

Details for the 2025 competition will be released closer to festival weekend.

Publix Super Markets Charities logo
The Doodad Repurposed Sculpture Competiton was generously supported by Banker, Lopez & Gassler and Publix Super Markets Charities.
Tampa Bay Lightning logo
The 2024 Young Artists Expo was generously sponsored by the Vinik Family Foundation and the Lightning Foundation.


Established in 2020, the Local Artists Spotlight Program showcases five local artists by inviting them to participate in the festival, allowing festival-goers to see some of the beautiful and provocative work that is being produced in our backyard.

Local artists are also featured during festival weekend in Remote Studios. The Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts invites five artists to set up a working studio at the festival. Festival attendees get a rare live look at the creative process. See our Live Entertainment page for our 2024 Remote Studio artist schedule.

Logo Gobioff Foundation
The Tampa Bay Local Artists Spotlight was founded with generous support from the Gobioff Foundation


Ajeva is a funk/rock band from St. Petersburg, FL. The band started in 2013 and features Reed Skahill (vocals), Taylor Gilchrist (bass), Mike Nivens (guitar), and Lyndon Thacker (keys). They’ve carved out a sound of their own with epic melodies and distinctive vocals that pair perfectly with their deep grooves. Each Ajeva show is a one of a kind experience with the band taking their songs to different places and new heights every night.

Light the Wire

Light the Wire makes heartfelt, indie-folk rock that with powerful vocal harmonies, thoughtful lyrics, and powered by driving bass and drums.  The quintet is based out of Tampa, FL, and released its self-produced, debut EP – “Someday Is Coming” on all streaming platforms on November 1, 2023.


Rock musician that refuses to find a niche


FFO: Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World


Biggest influences are church, his mother, Coheed & Cambria, Acceptance, James Morrison, Bombay Bicycle Club, Disturbed, Arctic Monkeys, Young The Giant, Chevelle, Rusko, Chief and Matt Corby. Most of the music he listens to has a darker sound to it so he in turn makes darker, melodic music.


Datagram has been the moniker of shapeshifting Tampa musician Scott Olson for the better part of the last decade.

In that time, the sound and styles of this project have shifted and morphed, painting with shades of glitch, downtempo, techno, and all that lurks in between.

Shevonne and the Force

A multi-hyphenate, genre-bending artist, Shevonne Philidor is a singer-songwriter, producer, and actress who epitomizes her dynamic background in music and performing arts. A military brat born in Philadelphia, PA, she experienced living in multiple cities – including a stint in Italy – before landing in Tampa, Fl, where she nurtured her musical ability throughout her childhood. She’s a scion of a musical family stemming from her half-Haitian descent and taught herself to play the guitar at an early age, inspired by the likes of Prince, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, and M83. In 2003, she made her first TV debut on America’s Most Talented Kids, and in 2010, she made an appearance on America’s Got Talent Wild Card. A recipient of the prestigious NFAA scholarship, she also made American Idol’s top 40 twice in 2016 and 2019, the same year she performed at Austin City Limits with five-time Grammy award-winning artist Gary Clark jr. In 2021, she performed alongside CeeLo Green at a Superbowl party for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was tapped to sing for ABC’s Juneteenth celebration with T.I. and Domani. Working with Grand Hustle Records, she’s a Luna Guitar-endorsed artist who was also selected to perform in Just Blaze’s SXSW showcase in 2022. A theatre kid at heart, she’s flexed her acting skills on a national tour for Todrick Hall’s musical, Oz The Musical, and she was also recently casted in Life’s Rewards, an upcoming Amazon Prime TV show.

Kristopher James

Though he’s lived in the Sunshine State, for most of his life, Kristopher’s talent for melody and song (now) extend far past the state’s line. Like his influencers Otis Redding, Amos Lee, and Roberta Flack, Kristopher’s voice is clear, controlled, and full of all-the-feels.  As with all artists, Kristopher’s sound has ebbed and flowed, evolving yet remaining instantly recognizable. With the growth he’s experienced as an artist, Kristopher felt it was time to capture his songs, in their fully-imagined sound!

With his debut album “Kindness Never Quits”, featuring members of Scary Pockets, Kristopher caught the attention of Relix & Glide Magazine, Spotify Playlist curators and continued praise, such as “vocals are so powerful and as the song progresses, he showcases why he is one of the best singers out there. All that soul in one artist is just unbelievable” from Reignland Magazine.

Continuing through the COVID years, Kristopher partnered with musicians to keep the music and community alive. Along with composer and keys player Mike Hicks of Rascal Flatts, The War & Treaty’s Max Brown on guitar, as well as talented artists Kyshona Armstrong, Jonathan Huber, DeMarco Johnson, Kristopher released 3 acclaimed singles: “Never Had to Find Our Way”, “Feelings” and “I Can Only Love You in a Song”

Deaf Company

Three piece Rock n Roll band hailing from St. Petersburg, FL.

Skyler Golden

Musician from St. Pete Florida and Studio Producer for Zen Recording. Brings an eclectic sound of string instruments for the Yoga Classes at GFA 2024


From Tampa Florida, SydLive was born to write and sing songs that touch the world. As her mother recalls, her climb to stardom began with getting on top of restaurant tables to sing at the age of two.

By the time she was eleven, she acquired her first guitar and began to teach herself to play by learning Beatles songs. Within four years she found her way to the stage singing in a Carpenters tribute band. Since this time, Syd has amassed over a decade of experience as a professional singer/songwriter and recording/performance artist. Within the industry, she names Aretha Franklin as her idol.


The first sound you hear on Durry’s rambunctious and poignant debut album, Suburban Legend, is an old-school Internet dial-up tone. To songwriter Austin Durry, the sound is instantly familiar but his bandmate and sister, Taryn, hadn’t heard it before. The Burnsville, Minnesota-based duo might identify with different age groups — with seven years between them, Austin is a millennial and Taryn is Gen Z — but by joining forces in Durry, they show just how much the neighboring generations have in common.

Between their serendipitous origin story and a crop of dynamic, hook-heavy alt-pop tracks, Durry are doing something few bands can achieve — and they’re doing it entirely on their own terms. As a band, Taryn and Austin’s journey happened both unexpectedly and fortuitously. At the start of the COVID pandemic, Austin and his wife moved back into his parents’ house, where Taryn was also living at the time. In addition to moving back in with his family, COVID forced Austin to cancel an extensive tour with his previous band, Coyote Kid. Faced with nothing but time, he got back to songwriting, regularly asking Taryn for input — or as the two playfully put it, “Gen Z quality control.”

“I’d say, here’s an early concept, what do you think? Then she’ll steer the ship, and then I’ll evolve it from there,” Austin explains. “Taryn is the sounding board and Gen Z vision of the band, where I’m kinda cranking stuff out.”

As they got going, forming what would turn into Durry, the siblings also outlined DIY ideas for branding and promotion, creating all of their own content and imbuing their visuals with nostalgic golden yellow, large fonts, and tactile images that would later make their way into eye-catching merch.

The immediate result of their musical partnership was the pop-punk/alternative anthem “Who’s Laughing Now,” which leads with wry, tongue-in-cheek lyrics about the futility of young adulthood in 2023: “My mama always said I would regret it if I ever got a tattoo,” Austin chants, adding: “She said I’d never get a job like I ever wanted one with that attitude/ My dad said I had to learn to drive a stick shift, but every van I ever had was an automatic/ My friends said that someday I would make it big, but I’m still living in the basement.”

After posting an unfinished version of “Who’s Laughing Now” on TikTok, it swiftly took off, galvanizing thousands of viewers who shared their coming-of-age frustrations. Clearly, the song’s sentiments — which land somewhere between a shrug and a clenched fist — resonated with millions of listeners, and today the song has garnered more than four million Spotify streams. Meanwhile, Durry have recorded a fully fleshed-out version of “Who’s Laughing Now,” which is set to appear on their riveting, perfectly sardonic debut LP, Suburban Legend.