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Festival of the Arts: Rotary’s annual art festival this weekend

By Staff | Jan 8, 2016

For over three decades, 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 31st 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 a Best in Show and the top placers earning cash prizes.

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

John Jacobsen, chairman of the 2016 Cape Coral Festival of the Arts Committee, explained that the event is ranked among the top 50 art festivals countrywide by well-renowned industry experts.

“We’re proud to be on that list and high up on it,” he said.

Jacobsen estimated that more than 100,000 people attended last year.

“If we have good weather this year, I expect to meet or exceed that,” he said.

About 120 of the exhibitors are new, with the rest being repeat artists.

Jacobsen noted that last year’s event featured 308 exhibitors.

The artists are coming from all across the country, from Alabama, California and New York, to Delaware, Maine, Idaho and Florida. In the past, the event has featured international artists.

“This year, oddly, we don’t have a single international exhibitor,” he 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.

As far as the artwork, there is something for every taste.

“You may not like everything, but you’re going to love some things,” Jacobsen said, adding that there are birthday gifts and hanging wall art, to handmade clothing and earrings. “You’ll find it here.”

And, there is a price point for all.

“You’ll find things from $5 and $10, up to $5,000 and $10,000,” he said.

If someone cannot afford an original, there are greeting cards, prints and more instead.

“You can own the art on a wide variety of formats,” Jacobsen said.

The exhibitors must submit three pieces of work, and one artist is picked to be featured on the official festival poster. The 2016 poster is “Three Amigas” by artist Don Nedobeck, based out of Deland.

“He’s is a prolific and fun artist,” he said. “He is an artist of whimsy.”

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

For the first time this year, the event will feature a Youth Art Exhibit. Art teachers across Lee County were invited to bring 10 pieces of work from their students, from elementary up to high school.

“I want to give students the opportunity to get some recognition,” Jacobsen said.

The submissions will be judged, with ribbons going to the students.

“I’m expecting about 130 to 150 pieces of art,” he said.

In addition to the exhibitors, there will be a children’s area set up for families to enjoy.

Food and drinks will be for sale, with nearby restaurants ready to serve.

“And there’s wonderful shops to explore,” Jacobsen said.

The festival serves as a major fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Cape Coral.

“It funds almost all of our community efforts,” he said.

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