ArtFest Fort Myers headlines a list of excellent shows as art festival season continues in Southwest Florida during the month of February.
ArtFest Fort Myers takes place February 1, 2 & 3, 2013 in the downtown Fort Myers River District. This year, Fort Myers’ newly-completed 1.8 acre river basin will serve as backdrop for the festival – along with Fort Myers Marina, Art of the Olympians, the Harborside Event Center and Centennial Park. The basin serves the important utilitarian function of collecting and filtering the stormwater that drains from the surrounding 15-acre hardscape, thereby insulating the Caloosahatchee and downriver estuaries from nitrogen and a host of other pollutants. But for ArtFest, it will definitely provide a picturesque location for the tents and booths of many of the 200 artists who have been juried into this year’s festival. As in years past, a wide array of genres and media will be represented in this year’s festival, including works in sculpture, painting, ceramics, photography, printmaking, drawing, digital, mixed media, ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, wearable fiber and wood.
Down the road on Saturday, February 2 is Naples Art in the Park. This one-day fair showcases paintings in oil and acrylics, watercolors, mixed media, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass art, jewelry and wood-working created by members in good standing of the Naples Art Association. For art lovers, it’s a casual, fun-filled venue for meeting local artists and becoming acquainted with their work. On the flip side, Art in the Park not only gives participating artists the opportunity to show and sell their work, it affords them a terrific platform in which to build rapport with collectors while fostering their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the the arts and their own extensive portfolios. One of the special features of this outdoor art fair is its art demonstration booths, where Naples Art members introduce the art community to process, technique and methodology.
The Bonita Springs National Art Festival returns to the Promenade at Bonita Bay on the weekend of February 9 & 10. Like its January and March editions, this festival places a heavy emphasis on quality and originality, with the 211 artists juried into the show from across the United States, Canada, South America and even Europe exhibiting and selling original paintings, drawings, pastels, photography, handcrafted jewelry, clay works and ceramics, glass art, metal sculpture and more. Together with the festivals held in January and March, this show is a major fundraiser for the Center of the Arts of Bonita Springs. Located in the fast growing community of Bonita Springs, The Promenade at Bonita Bay is a luxuriant, upscale 115,000-square-foot restaurant, retail and office center that received the coveted ICSC Design & Development Award in 2002.
The 7th Annual Coconut Point Art Festival also takes place on the weekend of February 9 & 10. The Coconut Point Mall serves as the site for this outdoor art festival, which features more than 250 artists and artisans from 30 different states in a pre-Valentine’s Day weekend art extravaganza. There is something for every artistic taste and sensibility at this festival, which sets up in the parking lot just north of Panera Bread and east of U.S. 41. With 113 stores and 25 restaurants surrounding several acres of lakes and boardwalk, Coconut Point Mall offers a unique outdoor shopping experience, but at this art festival, the focus is exclusively on the art and artists. Variety and diversity are themes at every Howard Alan event, and for the Coconut Point art festivals, there is something for everyone ranging from $15 handmade silver jewelry to life size sculptures costing in excess of $50,000.
This year the Pine Island Art Association’s 41st Annual Art Show and Sale will be held on Saturday and Sunday, February 9 and 10, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event will draw the largest crowds of the season to Matlacha, a picturesque artists’ community where pelicans and great blue herons circle above moored fishing boats, brightly painted galleries, and fresh fish markets. This show is located inside the Community Building in Matlacha Park, 4577 Pine Island Road, just west of the newly-completed Matlacha Bridge. So rain or shine, warm or cold, festival-goers can view in comfort the works of more than 100 artists, many of which feature motifs that include Florida landscapes, seascapes, birds, fish and flowers – “all ready to hang in your home.” Be sure to visit the PIAA show first, then tour the local galleries and restaurants and be delighted by the local color. Pine Island and Matlacha are remnants of a time gone by.
Saturday, February 9 is also the date for the Naples Artcrafters Fine Art & Craft Show. Naples Artcrafters is committed to promoting excellence in arts and crafts and to supporting established artists, craftspersons and students by providing a venue for the display and sale of their work in a beautiful setting. At their shows, they present a wide array of artistic genres, styles and media, including paintings in oils, acrylics, watercolors, drawings in pen and ink and pencil, pastels, scissors art, multi-media and collage, photography, ceramics and pottery, jewelry, metalsmithing, metal clays, lapidary, beading, sculptures, stained glass and fused glass, wood turning and carving, and basket weaving. The show takes place in Cambier Park along 8th Street South, within view of the Band Shell and Cambier’s Quilt, the first public art project at a municipal building under the City of Naples’ public art ordinance.
Saturday, February 16 is the date for The Fort Myers Downtown Saturday Art Fair, which takes place under the awnings of the galleries, shops and offices that border First Street. With wide sidewalks, majestic palms and old-time charm, this bricked thoroughfare is ideally-suited to an outdoor art fair. Over three dozen accomplished artists participate in the Fort Myers Downtown Saturday Art Fair, and the number grows each month. Together, they treat River District art lovers to affordable original works of art in oil, acrylic, watercolor and mixed media, photography, prints and giclees, wire and metal sculpture, ceramics, hand-crafted jewelry of every imaginable kind and composition, designer wear and unique artsy gifts of all kinds. The intimate, small-town ambiance of the River District engenders casual conversation between collectors and the participating artists, who willingly share stories about where they find inspiration, how they craft the unique pieces they sell, and what drew them to the arts in the first place.
The 3rd Annual Ole’ Art & Jazz Festival takes place February 16 & 17, 2013. This free art, wine and jazz festival is held at The Ole’ Village at Lely Resorts in Naples. This friendly community boasts charming Mediterranean architecture, lots of lush landscaping and inviting pedestrian thoroughfares situated around a thriving Village Center. The artists line the walkways around Spine Fountain while the renowned Alan Darcy Jazz Band performs in the Olé Amphitheater. This is a cozy boutique show with spaces available for just 40 national artists skilled in photography, jewelry, glass blowing and painting. Organizer Boulderbrook Productions has limited the number of artists for a variety of reasons. The small number of artists avoids duplication and repetition. It also ensures that festival patrons are exposed to only the highest quality art. Boulderbrook Productions festival director Richard Sullivan also limits the size and chooses intimate settings for his festivals in order to give participating artists and festival goers a reasonable opportunity to converse about the art on display in the show. You’ll find all of this and more at the Ole’ Art & Jazz Festival.
The weekend of February 16 & 17 is also time for the 30th Annual Sanibel Island Arts and Crafts Fair. The festival is held on the lawn of The Sanibel Community House located at 2173 Periwinkle Drive, Sanibel’s main street. The Sanibel Community House has been an island fixture since 1927 and touts itself as The Gathering Place on Sanibel Island. Many festival goers are already on the island, enjoying a break from the snow and ice covering the northern states this time of year. Others visit the island specifically to take in one or both days of the fair. Either way, this Rotary-sponsored classic arts and crafts fair attracts over 10,000 visitors and more than 100 artists and artisans from around the country who collectively bring paintings in oil and acrylic, watercolors, drawings and graphic art, photography and digital art, sculpture, ceramics, pottery wood working, hand-painted furniture, hand-crafted jewelry, unique gifts, wearable art, and much more. Besides the art, this fair is known for tasty food and community displays designed to introduce visitors to the islands of Sanibel and Captiva.
The 34th Annual Naples National Art Festival takes place on the weekend of February 23 & 24 in Cambier Park and along 8th Avenue in Naples, just steps away from Naples’ historic Fifth Avenue South. This is the #10 art festival in the United States according to Sunshine Artist Magazine, and has been in the top ten five years running. Because of its national ranking and the beautiful weather in Southwest Florida during this time of year, Naples National draws some of the finest artists in the country. Together, they provide a diverse array of artworks that include original oil and acrylic paintings on canvas, panel and galvanized aluminum, watercolors on paper, 2D and 3D mixed media, limited edition prints, photography, digital art, metal sculpture, wood carvings, ceramics, art jewelry, leather works and more. The local community counts Naples National among its premiere, must–see events thanks to the high quality of art, the engaging personalities of the artists and the festive atmosphere. This festival is one of five that benefit the programs and mission of the Naples Art Association.
Between November 1 and the ensuing April 30th, more than 50 stellar art fairs and festivals take place in Southwest Florida from Marco to Matlacha.