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  • Tara Crutchfield

Best of LKLD 2022 - Arts & Entertainment



BEST PARK

COMMON GROUND PLAYGROUND

Veterans Park, 1000 E Edgewood Dr, Lakeland Pavilion

Rentals: (863) 834-2280

All other inquiries: (863) 834-2233

“Explore. Laugh. Experiment. Run. Jump. Slide. Climb. Have fun.” According to the City of Lakeland, “Common Ground was Polk County’s first “inclusive play experience,” a term used to describe non-traditional play areas. Children of varying abilities and disabilities are able to play together side-by-side!” Common Ground is a public park offering plenty of traditional play features – monkey bars, slides, and swings – while also boasting unique features like rocks to climb on, a rock wall, a rope net, and more. Turn your kids loose among the different play zones, including Spider Web Peak, Butterfly Meadow, Adventure Canyon, Gopher Mountain, Fossil Beach, Sculpture Gulch, and Journey Plateau.

2nd: Munn Park

3rd: Circle B Bar Reserve


BEST GOLF COURSE

GRASSLANDS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB

1600 Grasslands Blvd, Lakeland

(863) 680-1600

FB @grasslandsgolf

It’s tee-time at Grasslands! This Lakeland golf course designed by Jerry Pate and Bob Cupp opened in 1990 and was restored in 2008 by the Jerry Pate Design Group. We’ve heard playing there is un-fore!-gettable! Grasslands Golf & Country Club is private and member-owned, boasting a clubhouse, junior Olympic-size pool, children’s pool, the Deckside Cafe restaurant, five har-tru soft tennis courts, two hard courts, and two lighted pickleball courts. Memberships are available to residents of Grasslands and the surrounding communities.

2nd: The Club at Eaglebrooke

3rd: Cleveland Heights Golf Course


BEST DANCE STUDIO

JUST DANCE ACADEMY OF DANCE AND ETIQUETTE

124 S Kentucky Ave, Lakeland

(863) 940-4701

FB @JustWantToDance

IG @smilejustdance

“Often imitated, but never duplicated,” Offering safe, affordable, and fun classes, Just Dance Academy of Dance and Etiquette shimmies into first place again! Downtown Lakeland’s premier dance studio, Just Dance, has taught the community how to Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Rumba, Cha Cha, Swing, and more through private lessons and group classes for over nine years. “Just Dance prides itself on emphasizing the spirit of dance & fine arts in all forms. We believe everyone can and should have the ability to dance regardless of your economic, physical, or educational abilities. Remember, ‘Smile. It’s Just Dancing!’”

2nd: Ultimate Dance Center

3rd: TIE – Highland School of Dance Florida Dance Theatre


BEST LIVE MUSIC VENUE

UNION HALL

1023 Florida Ave S, Lakeland

(863) 288-0372

FB @unionhallevents

IG @unionhallevents

Union Hall is Lakeland’s live music hub according to Best Of LKLD voters. Lofty ceilings, exposed terracotta brick from the 1920s, art deco accents, and concrete bar tops adorn this intimate Dixieland music and event venue. Grab a cocktail at the bar and enjoy the show or book the space in advance for a private event. One Union Hall patron wrote, “Union Hall has been my spot lately. I have attended a live concert, private birthday party, and line dancing lessons recently. All of the events were great. The staff is awesome! We have now planned our own private event there as well!” Check out their website to see what bands are coming to Union Hall next.

2nd: Swan Brewing

3rd: The Yard on Mass


BEST MUSEUM

POLK MUSEUM OF ART AT FLORIDA SOUTHERN COLLEGE

800 E Palmetto St, Lakeland

(863) 688-7743

FB @PolkMuseum

IG @polkmuseumofart

Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College sees 140,000 visitors annually with its diverse exhibitions, workshops, and educational programs. PMA’s permanent collection has grown to more than 2,800 works of art, including works by Rembrandt van Rijn, Andy Warhol, Faith Ringgold, and Pablo Picasso. The museum celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016 and remains “the largest and only nationally accredited visual arts organization in Polk County and is the only fine art Smithsonian Affiliate between Orlando and Tampa.” Visit Polk Museum of Art soon to catch “Rodin: Contemplation and Dreams” before October 30, 2022, when the exhibition ends. Bring your friends – admission is always free!

2nd: Explorations V Children’s Museum

3rd: The Mulberry Phosphate Museum


BEST MURAL

“ORANGES” AT THE YARD ON MASS 2020 | GILLIAN FAZIO

802 N Massachusetts Ave, Lakeland

FB: Gillian Fazio Art

IG @gfazioart

If Central Florida were a mural – it would be this one. Gillian Fazio’s Oranges mural at The Yard on Mass features bold oranges contrasted by smaller orange blossoms, a bumblebee, and a Monarch butterfly, on a monochromatic blue and white floral porcelain-esque background. Fazio’s talent can be seen in other colorful, nature-inspired pieces around Polk County, like in the “Create” mural at Catapult or the oranges and butterflies in “Slice of Happiness” in Lake Wales. A Lakeland native, Fazio graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors’ Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Florida in 2017. Fazio has painted over 20 murals across Central Florida from Tampa to Anna Maria Island and describes herself as a “new age flora and fauna artist.”

2nd: “Welcome to Lakeland, Florida” | Jenna O’Brien

3rd: “Let’s Ride” | Gillian Fazio


BEST VISUAL ARTIST

BUMP GALLETTA

FB: Bump Galletta

IG @bumpgalletta

Josh “Bump” Galletta is a Lakeland-based commercial artist and illustrator. “I specialize in creating dynamic designs with an organic feel,” says Galletta. “I don’t wear a suit and tie to work; I roll up my sleeves and get down with paper.” His cool black and white style can be seen on t-shirts and living room walls across Polk County (and beyond). In November 2020, Galletta and Ida Mundell released their Swan City picture book, “Goodnight Lakeland.” In addition to his personal work and commissions, Bump has created for brands like Starbucks, Swan Brewing, Top Buttons, Haus 820, GreenWise, and many more.

2nd: Gillian Fazio

3rd: Sara Jones


BEST PHOTOGRAPHER

DAVID DICKEY JR.

FB: David Dickey Jr.

IG @david_dickey_jr

Lakeland freelance photographer David Dickey Jr. has an impressive portfolio brimming with event photos, portraiture, boudoir, fitness photography, and more. His work has been published everywhere, from People.com, which featured actress Kate Upton, to ShoutoutArizona. com. Dickey seems attuned to capturing just the mood each photoshoot demands – from the sweet moment a bride stares up at her groom during their first dance to generations sitting for a family portrait, a cheetah crouched in the grass, or the vivid closeup of an insect.

2nd: Scott Audette

3rd: Emily Plank Photography


BEST BAND/MUSICIAN

SMOKEPOINT

FB: Smokepoint

Performing a range of classic rock, modern rock, classic club dance music, and songs by current Billboard artists, you can catch Smokepoint jamming out at local live music venues in the greater Tampa Bay area and community fundraising events. Smokepoint’s lineup consists of lyricist Joe Cooper on lead guitar, composition, and backup vocals, John Hessler on lead vocals, melody, and composition, Steve Hessler on keyboards and vocals, Thom Thompson on bass guitar and vocals, and Jamie Riekens on drums. According to the band, “If you enjoy live music, and find yourself singing along or dancing when you hear songs like ‘Livin’ on a Prayer,’ ‘Don’t Stop Believin,’ and ‘You Shook me all Night Long,’ please join Smokepoint at an upcoming show for a great evening.”

2nd: Van Plating

3rd: Daniel Pepin


BEST LOCAL MAKER

BUMP GALLETTA

FB: Bump Galletta

IG @bumpgalletta

Fist “Bump” to this year’s Best Visual Artist and Local Maker! Lakeland-based commercial artist and illustrator Josh “Bump” Galletta is the everyman’s maker, creating murals, prints, mugs, hats, tops, commissions, and more that are often Florida or Lakeland-specific but universally cool. Galletta pops up at markets around Central Florida, offering neat stuff like his “Sunshine State” shirt, LKLD hat, and prints depicting everything from the state of Florida to Star Wars. Check out his website to shop and cop some Bump Galletta merch.

2nd: Jaime Jay Handmade

3rd: East of These

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