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GFA Selects its Jurors for the 53rd Annual Gasparilla Festival of the Arts.

Allison Glenn
Allison Glenn

GFA is pleased to announce the Festival jurors who will be selecting artists for more than $92,000 in prize money at the next Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, which will be held March 4 and 5, 2023 at Julian B. Lane Park on Tampa’s downtown riverfront.

Meet Festival Awards Juror Allison Glenn

Allison Glenn is currently Senior Curator at the Public Art Fund in New York City and one of the curators of Counterpublic 2023, a St. Louis-based triennial. She recently garnered critical acclaim for Promise, Witness, Remembrance (2021) at the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY that brought together the work of 23 artists to honor the life of Breonna Taylor.  Previous curatorial roles include senior curator and director of public art at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; associate curator, contemporary art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; curatorial associate and publications manager for Prospect New Orleans international art triennial Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp; and a curatorial fellowship with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

One of the country’s leading curators, Glenn is deeply invested in working closely with artists to develop ideas, artworks, and exhibitions that respond to and transform our understanding of the world. Her curatorial work focuses on the intersection of art and public spaces through public art, biennials, special projects, and major new commissions by leading contemporary artists. Glenn has also written extensively, and her writing has been featured in catalogs published by The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Prospect New Orleans, Princeton Architectural Press, Studio Museum in Harlem; she has contributed to Artforum, ART PAPERS, Hyperallergic, Fresh Art International, ART21 Magazine, and Gulf Coast Quarterly, among others.

Glenn received dual master’s degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism and Arts Administration and Policy, and a Bachelor of Fine Art in Photography with a co-major in Urban Studies from Wayne State University in Detroit.

Meet Selection Juror Dr. Lesley A. Wolff

Lesley A. Wolff, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Art and Design at The University of Tampa, specializing in art history and museum studies. Her interdisciplinary research on art, food, and heritage in the Americas has appeared in various books and journals and manifested in curatorial projects with venues across the U.S. For more about Dr. Wolff’s research, publications, and curatorial projects, visit

Meet Selection Juror Christopher Weeks

Christopher Weeks, is Assistant Professor of Art & Design at Hillsborough Community College where he has served on the full-time faculty since 2007. Alternating between photography and illustration for the past 25 years, his work explores social issues through the lens of contemporary pop culture. His work has been exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibition, including venues in New York, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles, as well as Cuauititlan Izcali, Mexico, and Chiang Mai, Thailand. In addition, his work has been reviewed in the NY Times, In These Times Magazine, and Boston’s artsMEDIA Magazine. In 2007, he was awarded a Hillsborough County Individual Artist Grant, and then from 2010 to 2017 he served as an official photographer for Tampa Roller Derby. His roller derby photographs have been published in both 5on5 magazine, and Blood and Thunder magazine. In 2019, a monograph of his roller derby photographs, entitled “Women Who Fly” was published, and is currently available on Amazon. Currently, some of his illustration work is on exhibit until September 29, 2022 as part of the HCC Faculty, Staff & Alumni (FASTA) exhibition in Gallery 221, on the Dale Mabry campus of HCC.

Meet Selection Juror Emily Kapes

 Emily Kapes is Curator of Art at The James Museum, managing the collection of Western American and wildlife art on view and the special exhibitions calendar. She is responsible for research and interpretation, collections care, and exhibition design. In addition to coordinating and supplementing borrowed shows, she curated James Michaels: An American Pop Life, The Cultural Connections of Edward S. Curtis, and John Seerey-Lester: A Tribute. Her current research on Chinese immigration to the American West will be the basis for a painting exhibition opening in 2023.

Prior to her current role, Kapes served as art collection curator managing the Tom and Mary James/Raymond James Financial Art Collection for 12 years. She also helped to plan The James Museum starting in 2016, managing the art selection and gallery layout of more than 500 works.

Kapes has judged and juried art competitions around the country. A selection of shows includes Birds in Art (Woodson Art Museum, WI), Jackson Hole Art Auction’s Top Tier (WY), Artists for Conservation Annual Exhibition, Mainsail Art Festival, Melbourne Art Festival, and Quest for the West (Eiteljorg Museum, IN). She earned bachelor’s degrees in art history and in studio art from the College of Charleston.

Meet Selection Juror Christopher Jones

 Christopher Jones is the inaugural Stanton B. and Nancy W. Kaplan Curator of Photography and Media Arts at The Ringling Museum of Art and holds a curatorial faculty position at Florida State University. He has curated numerous photography and contemporary art exhibitions including Territories: Photography, Space, and Power; Approaching the Border; Hank Willis Thomas: Branded/Unbranded; Coco Fusco: Twilight; Manuel Álvarez Bravo: Specters and Parables; and most recently Metadata: Rethinking Photography in the 21st Century. Prior to the Ringling, Christopher was Assistant Curator of Prints of Photographs at the University of New Mexico Art Museum. He has completed doctoral coursework work at the University of Florida in the History of Photography and received his MA in art history from the University of New Mexico. He has taught courses on the history of art and the history of photography at Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL and at New College, Sarasota.

Meet Emerging Artists Juror Selena Román

 Selina Román is an artist based in Tampa, Florida. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of South Florida in 2013. Prior, she worked as a newspaper reporter and investigator. Her work is in the collection of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota; the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, and the Tampa Museum of Art.

Román has exhibited at institutions such as The Ringling Museum of Art and Tampa Museum of Art, and internationally at Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica and the Universidad del Sagrado Corazon in Puerto Rico. Her work was also featured at Brighton Photo Fringe in the UK during the 2016 Brighton Photo Biennial. She received a Hillsborough County Artist Grant in 2017 and 2021. She was also invited to participate in Review Santa Fe 2019 and Critical Mass 2020. She has taught university courses in art and photography, most recently at the University of Tampa and Hillsborough Community College. She currently teaches photography at The Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota. This year, she curated the show The Company We Keep: Photographs of Our Complex Relationships with Animals for the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa. She is also part of The Peninsularium, an immersive, Florida-themed art experience. Her lens-based work explores ideas of femininity, perception, liminality, memory, place, and how the invisible offers more answers than what’s visible.


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.