Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival

The Art Show

The Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival is a juried art show. Each year, we receive more than 600 applications for the festival. Each applicant is required to submit three images of their work and one image of their display area along with their application. Qualified jurors are shown each artist's images simultaneously and anonymously, and collectively choose more than 200 artists who will be invited to exhibit their work. Best of Show, Awards of Distinction, Awards of Excellence, Awards of Honor, and Awards of Merit winners from the previous year’s festival are exempt from the jurying process.

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.

This family oriented festival is ranked in the top 50 Fine Art Shows in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine and is listed in the Top 20 Events in the Southeast (November, 2014) by the Southeast Tourism Society.


The 2014 Judges were Phillip Counselman and Karen Graffeo.

Phillip Counselman is director and associate professor of art at the University of Mobile where he teaches studio art courses. He also teaches art lecture courses in the University’s Center for Adult Programs. Additionally, he is the director of Marilyn Foley Art Gallery at the university where he has held professional art exhibits and visiting lectures. Counselman’s works have appeared in numerous group and solo shows across the Southeast, including the Weatherspoon Museum of Art in Greensboro, N.C., The Sawtooth Center for the Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C., The Huntsville Museum of Art, Biggin Gallery at Auburn University, The Masur Museum in Monroe, La., and locally at the Mobile Museum of Art.

Karen Graffeo is a professor of art and directs the photography program at the University of Montevallo, Montevallo, Alabama Graffeo is the recipient of a Tanne Foundation award in 2014 and was awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholar appointment to Romania in 2013. In 2005 she was named University Scholar at the University of Montevallo for her long-term (1999-present) documentary photography work in Roma (Gypsy) communities and refugee encampments in Europe.


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