San-Cap Rotary Club to host Annual Arts & Crafts Festival
Marking its 37th year, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club’s Annual Arts & Crafts Festival will bring more than 100 top-notch artists and crafters to the islands to exhibit and to sell their one-of-a-kind pieces.
Held on the grounds of The Community House on Sanibel, the two-day event will take place on Feb. 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Feb. 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will feature artisans from around the country competing for accolades in a range of media and styles, along with a silent auction and more.
Festival chairman Scot Congress explained that it is a juried show and about 200 apply each year.
“We have experts in the field of artwork that judge each category,” he said.
The dozens of participating artisans include artists, crafters, exhibitors and cultural jewelers, who will present 2-D and 3-D work like jewelry, photography, wood carvings, pottery, sculptures and more.
“It runs the gamut,” Congress said.
“We feel like we really gather some of the finer art for display and sale,” he added.
The artisans are coming from the Midwest, Northeast and West Coast.
“They’re really from all over,” Congress said.
As for the cost of the pieces, there is something for every pocketbook.
“There’s something for every price range and every artistic palate,” he said, explaining that while some of the artwork will be priced at $15 or $20, other pieces will have price tags of $15,000 and $20,000.
For the juried show component, the artisans will compete for first place, second place and third place in each of the three categories – 2-D, 3-D and Creative Crafts – as well as two honorable mentions.
A Best in Show, known as the Ikki Matsumoto award, will also be handed out.
“Everybody who knows about Sanibel associates his work with Sanibel,” Congress said.
While the booths are set up outside, attendees are encouraged to step into The Community House and check out the items up for grabs in the silent auction – another big element to the annual festival.
“There is literally $60,000 worth of retail, coupons, baskets, bottles of wine,” he said, adding that there will be approximately 150 donated items, including electronics. “And we created about 12 baskets.”
Each of the participating artisans also contribute to the auction.
“Each artist donates a piece of artwork,” Congress said.
New this year, each item will have a “Buy It Now” price for those must-have selections.
The festival will also feature booths and activities related to health and life enrichment, including a display of books for sale written by Rotarians. A booth with beaded jewelry, necklaces and more handmade by residents in Haiti will benefit an organization that helps provide access to clean water.
There will be an informational display about ShelterBox, one the Rotary Club’s projects.
“It’s a big tent, but it’s an environment that creates shelter for anyone who’s homeless after a major event,” he said, explaining that Rotary provides the tents following hurricanes and earthquakes.
Proceeds from the event will go directly toward the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Trust Fund. The funds are then awarded to organizations and non-profits locally, regionally and internationally through grants.
“It is our primary fundraiser,” Congress said. “It basically funds all of our giving.”
Locally, the club funds several college scholarships and helps to support island organizations like F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva, plus groups like Habitat for Humanity and the Harry Chapin Food Bank.
To raise additional funding, the club creates a commemorative T-shirt to sell every year. Digitally preserved and then enhanced with the addition of text and such, the artwork is always by Matsumoto. Available in men’s and women’s sizes and styles, there will also be event posters and baseball caps.
“It’s a typical Ikki look, so it’ll be a good representation,” he said of this year’s chosen art.
The food court will offer award-winning food from Little Joe’s.
Major event sponsors are Congress Jewelers, Bank of the Islands, Sunny 106.3, Island Taxi, John Grey Painting, Royal Shell, Shell Point Retirement Community and The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company.
“We couldn’t do it without them,” Congress said.
He also expressed thanks to this year’s other sponsors, as well as the festival volunteers.
“The idea of Rotary is to attempt to achieve 100 percent participation from all members. Everybody has a job, everybody plays a role,” he said. “We certainly couldn’t do it without our volunteers.”
Admission is a requested $5 donation at the gate and it covers both days.
There will be limited free parking at The Community House, but additional lots will be available; signs and volunteers will point motorists where they need to go. Island Taxi is donating its shuttle service.
For attendees who purchase large items, a pack-and-ship service will be available on site.
Residents and visitors are encouraged to stop by.
“You’re going to see unique artwork, you’re going to help an amazing cause and you’re going to see a great show,” Congress said, noting that it is a top-rated festival in Florida. “It’s a terrific show.”
For more information, visit the event website at www.sanibelartfair.com.
The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way.