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Cape Coral Festival of the Arts this weekend

By Staff | Jan 9, 2015

For three decades now, the Rotary Club of Cape Coral has organized an annual festival that draws hundreds of artists and artisans from all over the country who specialize in a range of mediums.

The 30th Annual Cape Coral Festival of Arts will take place Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. along Cape Coral Parkway, between Del Prado Boulevard South and Vincennes Boulevard. The juried show will feature 320 exhibitors, with Best in Show and the top placers awarded cash prizes.

“It is an opportunity to see art for all ages and all tastes,” John Jacobsen, chairman of the 2015 Cape Coral Festival of the Arts Committee, said. “Modern, traditional, photorealistic art, and more.”

Admission to the festival is free, and free parking is available in the public parking lots.

“This is a benchmark anniversary,” he said. “What we’re really celebrating this year is Rotary. We really want people to understand what Rotary is, what Rotary does – and why we do it.”

Last year, the festival featured approximately 300 exhibitors.

“We reallocated the space a little bit, so we could fit in a few more this year,” Jacobsen said.

The six categories are painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media and graphics, fine crafts, and jewelry. First, second and third place in each one will receive $500, $250 or $150, respectively.

The Best in Show winner will take home the $1,000 grand prize.

“We have a judge, and he will be judging the show on Saturday,” he said.

An estimated 70 percent of the exhibitors are repeat visitors.

“Every year, the show gets a little harder to get into,” Jacobsen said.

This year, artists are coming from all across the country, from Texas, Michigan and New Jersey, to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. In the past, the festival has featured international exhibitors.

“It’s truly a national mix of really good stuff,” he said. “And the neat thing about these art festivals is you get to meet and talk to the people who created the work.”

Jacobsen noted that there is a price point for all.

“It runs the gamut of works from $5, to $5,000 and $10,000,” he said.

The exhibitors must submit four pieces of work, and one artist is picked to be featured on the official festival poster. The 2015 poster artist is Jen Callahan, of Jen Callahan Artwork – Coastal Colors.

“Jen’s work is superb,” Jacobsen said. “It’s bright, it’s colorful.”

Framed copies and rolled up copies of the poster will be available for purchase at the show.

Last year’s festival was a “tremendous success” with about 100,000 in attendance.

“That’s fairly typical,” Jacobsen said.

Organizers, however, are expecting a bigger turnout this year. By receiving a $16,000 grant from the Lee County Tourist Development Council for the first time, they were able to promote the event in the Tampa and Miami areas. AAA also mentioned the festival in a recent issue of a monthly publication.

“We are expecting increased attendance,” he said.

In addition to the exhibitors, there will be a children’s area for families to enjoy. It will feature games and activities, like a rock climbing wall, bungee jumping and more.

Food and drinks will be for sale.

“There are food booths aplenty,” Jacobsen said.

Organizers encourage the public to stop by and check out the festival.

“It’s kind of like Cape Coral’s block party,” he said. “You’re just going to mingle on the street.”

“It’s a chance to discover what’s downtown,” Jacobsen added.

For more information on the Cape Coral Festival of Arts, visit: www.capecoralfestival.com.