IMAGES festival program offers new talent path to success

There will be something a little different at this year’s IMAGES: A Festival of the Arts. In a partnership with Daytona State College, festival organizers added the inaugural Trish Thompson Memorial Emerging Artists Program to the event, now in its 46th year. The program honors Trish Thompson, a local artist involved with the festival, the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the college, who passed away in 2021.

“We have talked about it for years, but this is our first year doing it,” said Nance Casey Koch, IMAGES coordinator. “We wanted to do something a little different this year.”

Koch said the juried art festival created the Emerging Artists Program for people just getting into the arts.

“We wanted to do something this year so we decided to partner with Daytona State,” she said.

Koch said 23 Daytona State College   applied for the program, a number that far exceeded expectations.

“We were blown away by it,” Koch said. “We never expected to get that many.”

As part of the festival, the student artists will have a tent with tables and chairs to set up their displays and will receive $250 to get whatever they need to put the booth together.

Koch said part of the reason for the Emerging Artists Program is to introduce new artists to the entrepreneurial side of being a creative.

“It’s not an easy life,” she said. “A lot of artists show in galleries and of course they all have their websites. It really is an entrepreneurial thing.”

For Trent Berning, chair of the Mike Curb College of Music, Entertainment and Art and a professor of ceramics at Daytona State College, being part of the new program offers students a chance to learn about the practical side of the life artistic and gain entrepreneurial experience.

“We want them to attend the symposiums with artists and learn about how to price your work, how to apply for shows,” Berning said. “Things that students wouldn’t necessarily have experience with.”

Berning said the art programs at Daytona State are primarily focused on defined learning outcomes and don’t generally get into the kind of practical skills students would learn in a full bachelor of fine arts program or graduate school.

“The Emerging Artists Program is really filling a niche for our program,” he said. “I’m really excited about it and it’s really going to help with those professional skills.”

IMAGES: A Festival of the Arts runs from Jan. 28-30 on Riverside Drive and Canal Street in historic downtown New Smyrna Beach. For more information visit