Artists and Writers Ball Returns to Ybor City

Artists & Writers LogoContact: Janet Henderson 828/883-4888 /


Back in the late 1970’s a group of artists working and living in Ybor City, led by legendary photographer Bud Lee, decided to create a collaborative event to bring the artistic community together for a night of magical fun. Thus the Artists & Writers Ball was created and became a much-anticipated annual event. After 14 fun-filled and wacky years of satire, silly debauchery and costumed mischief, the artists and writers group took a hiatus. But now the tribe is tired of resting on their laurels.

The Artists & Writers Group proudly announces the resurrection of their Group and their Balls! You are cordially invited to the fundraiser REUNION BALL, on in the Cuban Club ballroom.

The Ball began as a friendly spoof of all the Gasparilla krewes and was held after the February ‘night parade’ in Ybor City. The themed and costumed Ball sported its own twisted version of king and queen, a parody parade, and lots of strange music! And the pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe became some of the most loyal fans of the party.

“The Artists & Writers Balls were different from other events at that time and even now,” said David Audet, one of the founding members. “The Ball had a sense of humor, of absurdity, of self-mockery. Life is so serious; we had to find a space where we could lighten-up. And most of the folks who came were participants, not on-lookers. They were a big part of this celebration of creativity, in thought, word and deed. While the ball started with people who considered themselves artists and writers in the traditional sense of those words, it embraced, encouraged and attracted all those people who really are artists and writers at heart.”

“The balls were the first time the creative community in Tampa was able to come together and celebrate,” said Paul Wilborn, another of the original organizers. “The costumes, the music, the décor and all the creative energy all came together to make something bigger than any of us anticipated.”

Audet, who is advising on the original artists and writers traditions and intentions, is the Balls’ artistic director. Wilborn has reunited his popular headliner group, Paul Wilborn and the Pop Tarts for the Reunion Ball. Other groups include Ronny Elliott and Friends, Strange Agents, JJ and the Cone of Uncertainty, the Vodkanauts and Seahorse Orchestra.

Other original members serving on the Artists & Writers Group board include Bud and Peggy Lee and their children. “We are thrilled to have Thomas, Steckley, Parker and Charlotte Lee involved,” said David Audet. “Bud’s children grew up during the Ball years and have fond memories of making strange creatures and finding their toys hung as decorations in the Cuban Club. Plus they were the most enthusiastic about restarting the Ball!” The Lee siblings will serve on the non-profit foundation being organized for the purpose of supporting area artists and projects in the coming years.

The Artists & Writers Reunion Ball will boast typically unusual decorations and music. Attendees are strongly encouraged to create a costume based on the themes of any of the past Balls. Tickets and past themes, along with photographs, a history of the Ball, and membership information can be found at the Group’s Web site:

Office Phone: 828.883.4888 | Mobile: 813.992.7758 | email:
copyright © 2005 Janet Henderson | website by: Tricycle Studios