February and March are big months for huge outdoor art festivals in Florida.
Last weekend was one of my favorite events to visit – the 20th annual art festival in downtown Dunedin. Main Street was filled with artists and craftsmen from all around Florida and all over the United States. This small town has the ideal location for the park with the artists is surrounded by good restaurants, even some that accept pets.
It is an expensive investment to come to Florida and exhibit at the art festival circuit. There is a processing fee at each fair, strict requirements for quality photographs of samples of your best work and one of your outdoor exhibit tent, usually limited to 10 feet by 10 feet. If you are accepted and there are no guarantees, you must pay entry fees.
While the larger fairs have several thousand dollars in prizes, the real reward is finding customers and that requires knowing the Florida market. There may be more upscale buyers in Mount Dora and Winter Park or Palm Beach or Sarasota, but your art work might find a major niche with nature lovers and outdoor people anywhere.
Here are some of my favorite art shows coming up in the next few weeks:
The Naples Show Surrounded By Royal Palms
The Naples National Art Festival (February 18 & 19) fills Cambier Park with 260 exhibitors in the heart of prosperous Naples. The art market here is traditional and more upscale than most Florida festivals.
Fish, Boats, and Sunsets Sell Best in Key West
If you prefer a more funky exhibition of boat and landscape paintings than the Old Island Days Art Festival (February 25 and 26) in the heart of Historic Old Town in Key West is the place to go. It is a tropical themed show of only art work, no crafts.
On March 3 and 4 in Fort Lauderdale is the 29th Annual Las Olas Art Fair with over 200 artists lining Broward County’s best boulevard for shops and restaurants.
Across the state on March 4 and 5 is the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts now located on the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. 327 exhibitors pack the grounds next to the Tampa Museum of Art.
Big Money and Big Buildings Highlight Gasparilla Art
The big prize money recruits not just highly successful artists, but many massive and unusual exhibits.
There is little protection from the sun at Gasparilla, but that is not the case with the Under The Oaks Art Festival on March 10 to 12 held in scenic Riverside Drive in Vero Beach. This show attracts 215 very competitive artists and artisans.
Vero Beach Artists Get Oak Tree Shade
If you prefer to catch some sun on the beach, you can do that at the 29th Annual Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center Art Fest held right off South US Highway 1 at Juno Beach.
Palm Beach Art On Beach (David R. Randall)
Whatever the environment – riverside or beach side, urban or rural – the quality of art work at these winter shows seems to get more impressive every season.