All posts by Cory Skeates


MayfaireFlorida: Festival of the Arts Kicks Off April 30

Arts organizations around Polk County are celebrating the first MayfaireFlorida: Festival of the Arts, a cultural festival set for April 30-May 8.

Building on Polk Museum of Art’s 40-year tradition, MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake, the local groups will offer arts enthusiasts two packed weekends of events as well as plenty to do on the weekdays. The new festival is bookended by two longtime local events. The festival begins with Bok Tower Gardens’ 21st “Annual Concert Under the Stars” featuring the Imperial Symphony Orchestra and culminates with MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake.

The presenting agencies to date include Polk Museum of Art, Bok Tower Gardens, Imperial Symphony Orchestra, City of Winter Haven, The Lakeland Center, The Polk Theatre, Florida Southern College and the Lake Wales Arts Council. In addition, Polk Arts Alliance, the City of Lakeland, the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce and the Central Florida Visitors & Convention Bureau are marketing partners in this new countywide initiative.

Following is a schedule of planned MayfaireFlorida: Festival of the Arts events:

All week: Special national touring exhibition of “Annie Leibovitz: Women” at the Polk Museum of Art, with daily tours.

Bok Tower Gardens celebrates “Bok in Bloom! Florida Native Plant Celebration” and has on exhibit Alice Hansen’s watercolor show, “Florida Wildlife & Surroundings.”

Special docent-led tours of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture at Florida Southern College and exhibition in FSC’s Melvin Gallery.

“Coming of Age in America,” a traveling exhibit of collaborative works created by teams of established artists and emerging young artists at the Lake Wales Arts Center, Michael Crews Gallery.

Saturday, April 30: Bok Tower Gardens’ 21st Annual “Concert Under the Stars,” featuring the Imperial Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 30: Screening of “Voices from Mariel” at The Polk Theatre, 7 p.m..

Saturday & Sunday, April 30 & May 1: 9th Annual “Marilyn Newell Youth Music Festival” for outstanding young musicians at the Lake Wales Arts Center. Competition April 30, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; awards and winners concert May 1, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 5: 11th Annual Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition “Central Park Stroll” celebration with a Cinco de Mayo flair in downtown Winter Haven, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 5: “Menopause the Musical” at The Lakeland Center, 8 p.m.

Friday, May 6: Opening reception of the Lakeland Art Guild’s 39th Annual Show in the Melvin Gallery at Florida Southern College, 7 p.m.

Friday, May 6: Platform Art’s Pecha Kucha Night 3 at Florida Dance Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, May 6: Bok Tower Gardens celebrates “National Public Gardens Day,” where members of any public garden are admitted free.

Saturday, May 7: 40th Annual MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Lake Morton. Mayfaire Saturday Night from 5:30-11 p.m. at Lake Mirror, with live music, fireworks (9 p.m.) and Mayfaire Classic 5K with the Lakeland Runners Club (7 p.m.).

Sunday, May 8: Second day of MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake Art Festival, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sunday, May 8: Mother’s Day Carillon Concerts at Bok Tower Gardens.

For more information, please visit the festival’s Web site,


Alfonso to develop architecture program at USF Poly

The University of South Florida Polytechnic has named Alberto Alfonso to a courtesy faculty appointment as executive in residence and interim program development director, architecture and design.  This appointment runs from April 15, 2011, to June 30, 2015.

Alfonso is a founding principal and president of Alfonso Architects, Inc. of Tampa. The award-winning firm is working in partnership with Santiago Calatrava on the new campus for USF Polytechnic at the eastern end of Interstate 4 and the Polk Parkway in Lakeland.

In his role at USF Poly, Alfonso’s responsibilities will include developing the curriculum for an undergraduate program in architecture and design, conducting national and international searches for new incoming facility positions, planning for a study abroad program in France centered on the work of the late master architect Le Corbusier, and developing national and international relationships with other Polytechnic programs.

Tentatively scheduled to begin in 2013, the bachelor’s program in architecture and design is part of USF Polytechnic’s strategic plan to expand its programs as it prepares for the opening of its new campus.

Cuban born, Alfonso received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Florida. Alfonso’s love of architecture developed at an early age as he was raised in the house of an architect, his father. Carlos E. Alfonso Sr. began his career in Havana, Cuba, and fled the country with his family in 1960 to begin a successful practice in Tampa.  Greatly inspired by his father, Alfonso and his brother Carlos, along with their partner Angel del Monte, founded Alfonso Architects, Inc. in 1988.

Alfonso received the Eduardo Garcia Award for Young Architects in 1987 and under his leadership Alfonso Architects, Inc. received the American Institute of Architects 2003 Florida Firm of the Year award and the American Institute of Architects 2007 Tampa Bay Firm of the Year award.  Most recently, Alfonso has been awarded the prestigious American Institute of Architects State of Florida 2008 Design Honor.  This award is given an individual architect, who has, by the high quality and originality of one’s design and body of work over 10 or more years, advanced the cause and public value of good architecture in the state of Florida, and, by one’s leadership, provided an inspiration to colleagues.


Florida Trend to Publish Community Profile for Polk County

Attention: Polk County Residents!
Tell Florida Trend why you live in Polk County
Florida Trend’s July issue will publish a community profile of Polk County. Residents are invited to sumbit the reasons they like living there.

  • If you grew up there, tell us why you’ve decided to stay.
  • If you moved there from elsewhere and fell in love with the area, tell us why you wanted to make it home.

Be specific — was it the sports teams, cultural offerings, low taxes, access to the outdoors?

Share your story in 200 words or less and email it to Managing Editor John Annunziata.

[View Past Community Portraits]


Employers Needed for PolkWorks Virtual Job Fair: April 24-30

Sign up today and find your next great employee!!

The Virtual Job Fair is a week-long (24/7) online recruiting event for showcasing your jobs to high caliber job seekers.

Employers: Register at , follow the user-friendly guide to establish your booth and post your open positions.

For a Featured Booth @ $250 you get:

  • Company logo on all pages of the Virtual Job Fair website with connection to your website
  • Unlimited job postings
  • Immediate review of resumes posted and electronic copies of all resumes at the conclusion on job fair
  • Customer and technical support (during normal business hours)

For a Regular Booth @ no cost you get:

  • Company log at booth location
  • 10 job postings
  • Electronic copies of resumes at conclusion of job fair
  • Customer and Technical support (during normal business hours)

Polk Works will aggressively promotes the job fair to job seekers.  We will do a candidates review for you and we will monitor each employers booth and review the job postings.  Any questions, please email or call us at 863-508-1600.  Ext 1102


Chamber Organizes Sign Ordinace Task Force

The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce has formed a task force to study the City’s current Sign Ordinance.  The task force will review the current ordinance to identify areas that will  allow Lakeland businesses to more effectively market their products and services, while still  preserving Lakeland’s pleasing aesthetic environment.

The task force is chaired by Jimmy Waller of the Waller Group, and consists of business and community representatives from architecture, sign production, landscape, construction, retail and real estate.

Member input on the current sign ordinance is encouraged.  Please contact Yadira Holmes at or (863) 688-8551, Ext. 241 with any comments, suggestions or questions.