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Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival is this weekend

By Staff | Jan 9, 2020

One of Cape Coral’s most popular events will fill Cape Coral Parkway this weekend as the Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival returns to South Cape Coral for its 35th year.

The juried art show, which also features live entertainment, will run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12.

The festival is held on Cape Coral Parkway between Del Prado Boulevard and Southeast 10th Place.

Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival Chair John Jacobsen said the annual event came to fruition more than threes decades ago after he went to his Rotary Club and said there were no art festivals in Lee County.

“We need to put it on and have it be a great community service project to bring art and culture to Lee County,” Jacobsen said. “Art festivals like this are a way for people to come and see art in a non-threatening manner. For many people, art is not something they studied in school, and our curriculum doesn’t teach much art, or none at all anymore. Art becomes an after thought for most people and they buy stuff to put on their walls and around the house at Kmart. It goes with the colors when decorating. One shouldn’t buy art to match the furniture or carpet, but because it means something to them.”

The Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival is a nice open space to get outside and look, see, appreciate and talk to the creators of the work.

“The idea is to overcome people’s fear of the unknown,” Jacobsen said.

The festival has grown from 100 to 125 artists with about 4,000 to 5,000 attendees to 306 exhibitors last year showcasing their artwork for 110,000 festival goers.

“We have been rated the eighth best art festival in the United States. This is a rating done by the exhibitors themselves through Sunshine Artist. We have been 50th to 24th to 8th, which means the exhibitors themselves really like doing the show because it is good for them to work and they make money at it and enjoy the artists that come,” Jacobsen said.

The juried show requires exhibitors to send five slides of their work, which is then is scored from one to 10 with 10 being the highest. The highest scores are chosen across six categories.

The artwork will include fine art, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, photography, metal works and mixed media.

“We get more jewelers apply than any other category. We limit it to 300, but I lay out 306 spaces. There aren’t any bad spaces; everyone is on the parkway facing the street,” he said.

The festival, for the past four years, has also included Student Art Way on the Parkway.

Three years ago the festival introduced a music portion to the event. This year they are partnering with iHeart Radio, which will feature musical acts from every genre from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

“The idea was to extend the length of time that people come to the festival. We invite people to stay and perhaps have dinner and be more enticing for people to come out of state and get a room and stay overnight,” Jacobsen said.

The festival is now accessible to those who have visual impairment, something offered for the first time since the festival’s inception.

Jacobsen said he was approached in October by an artist who asked if it was too late to enter the festival, which at that time it was. He said he became engaged in the conversation after Jim Morgan shared his story.

In 2014, Morgan was struck by a car while riding a bicycle through a crosswalk in Fort Myers. He suffered many injuries, with one of them being losing his eyesight.

“Suddenly he had to adapt to being without sight. He wasn’t giving up on life, he was going to try to do what he had previously done and come up with new ways of doing it,” Jacobsen said.

He builds clocks by using power tools including drill presses, sanders and table saws.

“Every clock is absolutely gorgeous and one-of-a-kind,” Jacobsen said.

He said he is looking forward to Morgan being showcased at the festival.

“People can walk up and see, or touch his clocks and think about the fact that there is a bright side on the other side of a catastrophe,” Jacobsen said. “It’s the first festival that this man has ever done.”

With the conversation with Morgan, Jacobsen said they decided to ask each exhibitor if they are willing to have their art touched and be enjoyed by attendees who are blind.

“We will give them a banner outside their booth. Their partner will be able to bring them in and be able to touch sculptures and wooden items that are not fragile,” he said.

In addition, those who are visually impaired can also navigate the festival’s website, capecoralfestival.com, by having a button read what’s on the page, or have the letters change font and size.

This year the art festival also will have new routing to give vehicles an option to avoid the festival altogether, or for those who are visiting the festival, an easier route to gain access.

Looking for more art options?

The Bonita Springs National Art Festival also will be held Jan. 11 and Jan. 12 as well as Feb. 8 and 9 and March 7 and 8.

All shows are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Riverside Park, 10450 Reynolds St. The shows will feature 200 national and international artists.

ArtFest Fort Myers will be held Feb. 1 and 2 on the waterfront in historic Downtown Fort Myers, 1375 Monroe St.

The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There will be an opening night from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31.