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Calling All Artists & Art Lovers | Cape Coral Art Festival & Market Place kicks off month of art shows in Southwest Florida

By CJ HADDAD - | Jan 10, 2024

One of the largest events in Southwest Florida returns to Cape Coral Parkway this weekend with hundreds of artists, artisans and vendors taking part.

The Cape Coral Art Festival & Market Place, put on each year by the Rotary Club of Cape Coral, is set for Jan. 13 and 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m each day. The event, now in its 39th year, is free to attend.

The parkway, from Southeast 10th Place to Del Prado Boulevard, will be transformed into an arts paradise for two days, as the possibility of selection for every eye is endless. Numerous exhibitors with the creative touch will show off their style and chat with attendees about their process and the meaning behind their works, which are, of course, for sale.

“This year is bigger than what we’ve ever had,” said Festival Chair Bob Welsh. “It will be the biggest event that we have put on as a club. It’s going to be exciting.”

New this year is the addition of a car show, as well as some boats throughout the marketplace.

When organizers say you can find anything and everything at the festival, they mean it. Vendor booths will line the South Cape for more than a half-mile and, on most occasions, more than 120,000 attendees have turned out to view the vast array of selections.

“We have nearly 300 artists that have set up,” Welsh said.

This year’s featured artist is world-renowned Leoma Lovegrove, whose work also may in the Leoma Lovegrove Collection at Bealls. Lovegrove is a long-time Matlacha-based artist, whose studio and home was ravaged by Hurricane Ian. She recently moved her gallery to downtown Fort Myers.

“She was randomly selected and chosen to be the poster artist,” Welsh said. “I thought that was absolutely wonderful, because it was somebody local, and not only local, but somebody who had some devastating circumstances this past year. It’s quite exciting she was chosen this year.”

Welsh said this year’s attendees can also expect “bigger and better” pieces of art from the attending artists.

“We have two or three artists that have taken three booths because they have large sculptures and things of that nature,” he said. “I believe we have upgraded the quality of artists this year.”

Categories that will be displayed at the festival include 2D and 3D Mixed Media, Ceramics, Glass, Jewelry, Leather, Metal, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, and Wood. Festival jury will be conducted by a panel of experienced artists and community professionals and is based solely upon the quality of the work as illustrated in the submitted digital images and submitted statement of material/technique.

Welsh said people with all tastes and style, as well as budgets, can find something to pique their interests that the festival.

“There’s different price points within the show,” he said. “There is a lot of different avenues that are out there, from the expensive to art that is more affordable. We have something for everybody. And looking at Cape Coral and what Cape Coral has to offer, we feel it’s a good mix, because we have a little bit of everybody in Cape Coral.”

With Hurricane Ian recovery still ongoing when last year’s festival took place, many artists were forced to cancel their spot in the show. Welsh said any artists that were not able to attend last year were not made to pay again for space.

For more information, visit capecoralartfestival.com.

Other upcoming arts festivals include:

• Art Fest Naples

Art Fest Naples returns to Fleischmann Park on Jan. 20 and 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Now in its 27th year, Art Fest Naples is a juried show that offers Southwest Florida residents and visitors an opportunity to browse and purchase fine art that includes paintings in oil and acrylic, watercolors, drawings in graphite and pastels, art photography, blown glass, turned wood pieces, sculptures, metal works, ceramics and pottery, fiber art, hand-crafted fine art jewelry and a variety of 2D and 3D mixed media pieces.

“Art Fest Naples draws some of the best fine art and fine craft artists from around the country and is a must do for residents and visitors of Southwest Florida,” said Taire Malloy, show director, in a release. “Art Fest was named one of Sunshine Artist magazine’s 200 Best of the past decade. The show ranked 57th of 200 of the best shows in the United States from 2010-2020 in the fine art and design category.”

A portion of the proceeds benefit 501(c)(3) organization St. Vincent de Paul Naples’ Meals on Wheels Program. The program serves nutritious food and a friendly visit to homebound seniors and disabled neighbors.

Admission is free, though donations at the gate will be collected to benefit St. Vincent de Paul Meals on Wheels.

Fleischmann Park is at 1600 Fleischmann Blvd. in Naples. Sponsorships are available. For more information contact Taire Malloy at 239-634-2337, email artfestnaples@gmail.com, or visit artfestnaples.com.

• Sanibel Invitational Art Fest

The Sanibel Invitational Art Fest will be held Jan. 26 to 28.

Organizers state that due to Hurricane Ian, they are cutting the number of artists by 50%, and the event will be indoors.

The show is held on the main street in Sanibel; Periwinkle Way, on the grounds of The Sanibel Community House.

“This new Sanibel Art Festival promises to be Sanibel Island’s premier art event,” organizers state. “The festival features the finest artists.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit The Sanibel Community House and SCA.

For more information, visit boulderbrook.net.

• ArtFest Fort Myers

ArtFest will once again enliven the Fort Myers waterfront on the first weekend in February.

On Feb. 3 and 4, attendees can experience exceptional art from more than 200 selected artists, lively entertainment, food, and fun children’s art activities.

Overlooking the Downtown Fort Myers riverfront and yacht basin, this free art event welcomes all greater Southwest Florida community members.

Art Fest Fort Myers runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 3, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 4.

ArtFest Fort Myers has partnered with Gulf Coast Symphony for the festival’s Opening Night on Feb. 2 from 6 to 9 p.m.. Attendees will be treated to Symphony on the Sound, a free Pops Concert featuring talented musicians from Southwest Florida.

For more information, visit artfestfortmyers.com.

• Coconut Point Art Festival

The 18th annual Coconut Point Art Festival takes place Feb. 17 and 18 in Estero from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The outdoor art festival at the Coconut Point Mall is free to attend.

Event organizers state the show produces record size crowds and “astronomical” revenues consistently year after year. The event is ranked as one of the top fine art festivals in the country by Sunshine Artist Magazine.

Coconut Point Mall is at 23181 Via Villagio Drive.

For more information, visit artfestvial.com.