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Festival of the Arts opens Saturday

By Staff | Jan 7, 2011

Three hundred booths will line Cape Coral Parkway on Saturday and Sunday for the 26th annual Festival of the Arts that attracts local and national artists.
Cape Coral artist Gretchen Kish Serrano is among one of the 300 artists who will be participating in the Festival of the Arts this weekend to showcase her paintings of pets. Although the collection consists of mostly dogs, she also has one painting of a cat.
She said she enjoys the festival because of all the people who visit her booth.
“My art attracts pet lovers and when they are art enthusiasts as well, it is so fun and rewarding for me,” she said. “Personally, when I meet people who appreciate my art, it fuels my passion. I am inspired by the people I meet and am encouraged to keep creating.”
After she rescued her dog from the Anti-Cruelty Society she decided to mix her enjoyment of painting with her love for pets to create her Pet Art Collection. Her goal is to create a large collection that will include all breeds of dogs as a “tribute to their enrichment of our lives.”
“My enjoyment of painting and love for pets has evolved into my life’s work,” Serrano said about her collection she began five years ago. “My dream is for my art collection to benefit the animals that inspire us all.”
While creating her oil paintings her inspiration comes from “our adored pets and the great masters of art.”
Serrano said she is inspired by such artistic styles as Picasso, van Gogh and Matisse.
“I have given each artistic inspiration it’s own name for fun,” she explained, which includes “Pawcasso,” “Van Growl Muttisse” and “Woofhol.”
The festival can be challenging for artists because of the time they have to dedicate to the weekend event.
Serrano said the most challenging part of the festival is being away from her two small children for an entire weekend.
Artists will line the center of Cape Coral Parkway from Del Prado Boulevard to Vincennes Boulevard with their backs to the median, so individuals can walk up the parkway one way and view the rest of the tents when they make their way around the other way.
The festival was introduced to the community after John Jacobsen, event organizer wanted to provide a festival in the same county he lived in.
The art festival took a full year to plan before it was put on annually at Jaycee Park for the first 10 years. The festival then moved to Tarpon Point Marina for three years before it was moved to Cape Coral Parkway, where it has been held ever since.
Jacobsen explained that between 50 to 60 percent of the artists who participate in the festival are repeats.
The festival attracts between 80,000 to 100,000 people over two days, making it one of the city’s largest events.