I visited the Coconut Grove Art Festival in Miami, FL for the first time this past weekend. I had high expectations, considering all the hype it gets nation-wide. I went with the intention of finding 2 or 3 first-time or second-time exhibiting artists for possible use in a future Visual Overture Magazine article.
After finally finding a parking space for $10 in someone's yard several blocks away, I strolled down to the park where the festival was to be held. As I approached the front entrance, I was met with some confusion as several additional street fairs were set-up along the sides leading to the actual Coconout Grove Art Festival entrance. Upon realizing those were not my destination, I made my way quickly to the ticket sales counter and was given my press pass for free admittance. Yey!
The first booth I visited made me believe my trip was worth the journey. Very nice, clean display of quality bronze sculptures by Theodore Gall of Ojai, CA. His high level of technical skill and great assortment of medium-sized sculptures made me aware that the jurors for CGAF were serious about showing the best artists. Though Gall's work was of suberb quality, he didn't fit my goal of finding a first-timer at the fair. My discussion with him informed me that he has been at CGAF for more than 20 years! Must be working out well for him, I take it.
Long story short, I walked around for 4-5 hours and only made it through half of the booths! I did manage to meet 3 first or second time exhibitors. I'll call them next week to find out about their experiences at the festival as far as sales and overall success. I plan on writing an article for the Summer 2011 issue of Visual Overture Magazine that details these experiences and gives suggestion tips for art festival newbies.
Overall I was super impressed with CGAF and am curious to hear from my contacts how it went. Here are a few pics from the event:
Exploring Thoedore Gall's kinetic sculptures
Artist Geoff Buddie closing a big sale
Artist Comusina Celan with her mixed media work