Bar scene turns art hub

This weekend, Coconut Grove will offer more than the usual ID checks, Moose Juice and late-night tacos. From Saturday to Monday, the 49th annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival will be painting the bayfront neighborhood with fine art, musical talent and culinary expertise.

Extending a mile from McFarlane Road to Bayshore Drive, the festival will showcase the works of more than 360 artists from around the world. The event attracts an estimated 120,000 total visitors every year, with crowds swelling by mid-afternoon.

“Our festival is truly a celebration of the arts, introducing top caliber masters of art in all mediums and genres,” said Monty Trainer, president of the festival.

Although art is one of the festival’s main focuses, foodies can will be able to satisfy their inner Emerils by watching nationally-renowned chefs conduct cooking demos at the festival’s culinary pavilion.

Also, live musical performances will take place on the main stage in Peacock Park. The University of Miami’s Frost School of Music’s Concert Jazz Ensemble Band will perform Saturday from 12:30 to 5 p.m.

“I visited the festival last year and was overwhelmed by the amount of art I saw,” UM senior Chris Sonoki said. “There was really something for everyone to enjoy, and pieces offered at a wide range of prices.”

Exhibitors display work in areas including mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture, jewelry making and clay work. Pieces range from very cheap to very expensive.

Still, whether you seek handbags or oil on canvas paintings for your dorm room, the festival has pieces to satisfy all tastes and wallet sizes.

“The Coconut Grove Art Festival fits in any college student’s budget,” said Melissa Nobles, a festival spokesperson. “It’s a great way to spend your President’s Day weekend.”

Proceeds from ticket sales will go toward funding art programs at schools across Miami-Dade County.

If You Go

What: Coconut Grove Arts Festival

Where: McFarlane Road

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday through Monday

Cost: $10; $5 for residents

For more info: cgaf.com

February 15, 2012


Kari Scharf

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