Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival returns to downtown Pensacola featuring artists from 30 states

Pensacola News Journal
USA TODAY NETWORK

The fall might technically start at the end of September, but we all know Florida weather traditionally lags behind a bit. The Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival is a sure sign of cooler weather to come. 

Painting, sculpture, jewelry, the Pensacola Symphony, crafts from the past, great food – all the arts come together at the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival in historic downtown Pensacola on Nov. 5 to 7. Admission is free.

The juried art show draws more than 200 of the nation’s best painters, potters, sculptors, jewelers, graphic artists, craftsmen and other artists. This year will welcome artists from 30 states — 50 artists are from Florida and 10 artists are local. The artists compete for a total of $25,000 in prize money in categories including ceramics, drawing, fiber/leather, glass, jewelry, mixed media, oil/acrylic, photography, printmaking/graphics, sculpture, watercolor and wood.

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Emerging Artists 

The Emerging Artists Program is designed to introduce newer artists to the Art Festival circuit. GGAF partnered with Artel Gallery in developing the program and searching for new artists. 

Local artists Ivo Alcala and Summer Sevi were selected as this year’s Emerging Artists.

Alcala said his focus is figure drawing and portraits. He uses mainly charcoal, water and one or two acrylic colors to achieve a wide range of tones and values but has recently started using oil paints.

Sevi is an art teacher and working artist in Pensacola, Florida. Working primarily in oils and charcoal, she creates haunting portraits conveying the struggles that we all share.

Both artists can be found in their booth by the gazebo. 

The Festival Poster

The 2021 Festival poster is by local artist Danielle Pierce. The design is turned into a limited-edition poster, T-shirts, and other items which have become local collectors’ items. The only way to get posters and T-shirts is at the Festival.

The 2021 Festival poster is by local artist Danielle Pierce.

Heritage Festival

Travel back in time as you watch traditional artisans create handmade crafts before your eyes in Pensacola’s oldest and most historic neighborhood. A favorite of festival fans, The Heritage Arts area provides an authentic setting for craftspeople from around the country to demonstrate such arts as blacksmithing, engraving, spinning, weaving and other skills. 

Children’s Festival


Neighboring Bartram Park is the site of the Children’s Arts Festival with hands-on art projects for kids of all ages plus an entertainment stage just for kids! Activities are all provided free of charge.

Also in Bartram Park you’ll find the Student Art Show which showcases the talents of both private and public school students of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Over 2,000 pieces of art from elementary, middle and high school students will be on display.

Entertainment 

The Festival features great music on the Main Stage and the Museum Plaza Stage, dance and more on the Parrish Performing Arts Stage. The Children's Stage features local performing arts, dance and musical groups. See demonstrations of traditional arts and crafts in the Heritage Arts area.

Museum Plaza

During this year’s Arts Festival, visit Museum Plaza behind the Pensacola Museum of History for live performances by the Pensacola Opera and Pensacola Little Theater along with various performances and demonstrations by local college and high school Drama and Music groups. 

COVID

Various COVID precautions will be taken throughout the Festival, including additional sanitizing stations throughout the parks, sanitizer at each beverage booth, and committee members and volunteers in masks. We are also asking that patrons wear a mask while visiting the Festival.  

The pandemic has forced a few changes on the Festival. Due to limitations on international travel, The Festival will not have an Invited International Artist this year. Also, the Children’s Area Very Special Arts Day on Friday will be on pause. The Children’s Festival will be open on Saturday and Sunday. We look forward to both programs returning in 2022.

Hours:

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday,
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday

Children’s Festival Hours:
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Other Details

  • Pets are not allowed at the Festival.
  • Handicap parking is at Bartram Park. Patrons with handicap permits should enter from Main Street at Barracks Street. Present your permit to the police officer manning the street closure for access.
  • Posters and t-shirts and other items are available for sale at the festival.