Award-winning FiArt-ist wins top prize sponsored by FIAT of Winter Haven

Central Florida is home to thousands of talented artists. If you attended the 863 Local FiArt Fest, you could have seen some of their amazing work first-hand. Held for the last four years in Winter Haven, the annual event has been a homecoming of sorts for many, including Tammy Archer, who has won awards at the show in each of the last four years.

Archer took home first place this year, honorable mention last year, third place in her second year, and first place in her first year of the festival.

First place cashes in a $750 prize sponsored by FIAT, not a bad day at the office.

“I moved here (to Sebring) 10 years ago on July 4. I worked for the Post Office and instead of transferring, I opened my own business,” says Archer.

She said at last year’s festival, which is free to the public to attend, the judging was a little different. It took in the mixture of art rather than a single piece.

“This year the judge couldn’t pick just one he liked, he told me he judged me on my whole collection,” she says.

Archer’s volume includes a lot of different types of art — especially watercolor with gouache, a method of painting using opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a glue-like substance.

“I love it all,” she says. “Watercolor has always been my favorite.”

Art started as a hobby for Archer. In 2003 before she moved to Florida, Archer participated in an art show in New York.

“A lot of people really enjoy my work and style,” she says. Archer opened a site on eBay and now has about 1,200 pieces of art she’s sold around the world.

“I was surprised at the response to people buying my art. It’s very gratifying and rewarding.”

Archer said she’s probably never going to become rich from her artwork because she doesn’t take the steps to highlight the selling, such as making copies of her work, but she is satisfied with the connection people make to the work she does.

“Every painting belongs to one person. It evokes an experience and that belongs to them … and it keeps me busy and having fun.”

Returning for fifth year

Next year’s 863 FiArt Festival is scheduled on April 21 in Central Park Winter Haven. The event will feature a free arts workshop for children and it will include local authors, food trucks, body products and candles, a tattoo artist, wood furniture, music by a DJ, and more.

Artists will be selling their artwork and competing for cash prizes. FIAT of Winter Haven will give the first prize award of $750 to best artist. Other cash awards include: second and third place and five honorable mentions as well as the People’s Choice award. Alfa Romeo FIAT is a proud sponsor of this great community event and look forward to next year’s show!