The Polk Museum of Art is looking for a new sponsor for its annual Mayfaire-by-the-Lake art festival to replace MidFlorida Credit Union, which has been the title sponsor for 10 years.

“Those 10 years of support were critical because those were the 10 years that Mayfaire was climbing in the rankings of Sunshine Artist magazine’s prestigious ‘Best 200 Art Shows’ list,” museum Executive Director Claire Orologas said in a prepared statement. “Without the support of all of our sponsors, we would not have been able to achieve this stature. We are deeply grateful to MidFlorida for their role in this endeavor.”

The museum plans to announce a new title sponsor this fall.

This article was updated on Augl 21 with comments from MidFlorida Credit Union.

MidFlorida still plans to support other museum initiatives, Orologas said. The credit union’s agreement with the museum was broader than the Mayfaire sponsorship, she said, adding that the range for a top sponsorship is $15,000 to $25,000.

MidFlorida has “completely enjoyed our ten year relationship with the Polk Museum of Art,” said Jill Davis, the credit union’s senior vice president for marketing. “We have nothing but good things to say about the event and the staff at the Museum who work tirelessly to execute the event year after year. I am sure whoever decides to take over the sponsorship will be equally pleased.”

The Mayfaire contract ended at a time when MidFlorida had taken over both sponsorship and coordination of the annual event now known as MidFlorida Auto Show and Lake Mirror Concours, she said. “We just felt we needed to focus our resources to continue and make the car show a great event for the central Florida area.”

MidFlorida, long the dominant credit union in Polk County, has expanded its marketing reach as it has acquired other credit unions and established a coast-to-coast, 20-county footprint in Central Florida over the last decade.

In 2013, the credit union claimed naming rights to the amphitheater at the Florida State Fairgrounds near Tampa after the venue’s contract with 1-800-Ask-Gary expired.

“Our real goal is to get our name and message out to Tampa Bay,” MidFlorida CEO Kevin Jones told The Tampa Bay Times at the time “We were looking for media buys — how do we brand ourselves? Do we use TV, radio, newspaper? This allows us to become a household name.”

Mayfaire started in 1971 as a small festival on the museum lawn and expanded to a juried, two-day event on the shore of Lake Morton that attracts 70,000 visitors on Mother’s Day weekend.

Prior to the MidFlorida sponsorship, the festival was known for three years as Volvo Mayfaire-by-the-Lake before the Robert G. Waters auto dealerships changed hands.

The show reached the 20th position on the Sunshine Artist list in 2016 before dropping to 45th this year.

MidFlorida, founded in 1954 as the Polk County Teachers Credit Union, reached a record $3 billion in assets as 2018 dawned.

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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