Art fair showcases talent

Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe $34,000 is a little overpriced for what you’re getting out of school?

Well, if you took advantage of last weekend’s opportunity offered at UM, the Beaux Arts Festival, you might feel that $34,000 is a more reasonable price.

The festival took place on the greens surrounding the Lowe Art Museum on January 19 and 20, and featured beautiful works selling for as much as $16,000 a piece.

With over 250 artists displaying work in 12 mediums, including beadwork, bent wood, and blown glass, in addition to the more traditional oils, watercolors, and photography, the festival was a dazzling blur of colors and shapes.

The festival, in its 51st year, is an annual fund-raiser for UM’s Lowe Art Museum.

“It was called the ‘Clothesline Art Festival,” remembered artist Victor Edwards, returning for his 20th consecutive year to display work at the festival. “They hung paintings from a clothesline outside the museum to sell.”

Edwards now displays his paintings and hand-made hammock chairs in a comfy booth at the festival. The hammock chairs, by the way, were extremely comfortable, but unfortunately wouldn’t fit in a dorm room.

Artists came from all over the United States, including Alaska, to sell work and be judged for the contest.

This year’s judge was Diane Kamber, head of the Bass Art Museum in Miami.

From art deco sculptures to oil painted landscapes, all styles and genres of art were represented, including hand-cut painted glass wall hangings priced from $3500 – $16,000 a piece.

Ed Heiple, creator of these wall hangings, says, “If I make one sale per show, I’ve been successful.”

For those students just looking for something to cover the cinder-block dorm walls, UM art students sold their equally skillful work at more affordable prices.

Some excellent sketches were priced as low as 10 dollars. Many UM students donated the entire profit of their sales to the Lowe Museum.

“It’s an important fundraiser,” said chairwoman of the Beaux Arts Organization, Chriss Wood. “We hope to make approximately $100,000 to support the Museum this year, for new art acquisitions and programs for students.”

Also attractive about the festival were the entertainers and the food. Story-tellers, folk singers, and guitarists filled the air with their music as guests and students browsed the booths.

Although there were no free samples, the food booths offered a variety of choices, from Thai to down-home Southern to funnel cakes and sweets.

The Beaux Arts Organization, with the help of the Coral Gables Cultural Arts Council and the Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs Council, runs the festival every year. Amazingly, they manage to run the huge project with only 15 staff members and 100 volunteers.

If you are a UM student, part-time or full-time, and would like to volunteer for next year’s festival, or if you have artwork you’d like to submit for sale, contact Tracy Helenbrook, Advancement Officer for the Arts and Sciences, at 305-284-5735.

The Lowe Museum invites students to a special lecture by Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Mexican-American artists, on Friday, February 8, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.

The lecture will take place at the Lowe Museum, located at 1301 Stanford Drive, just east of Stanford Circle.

Call 305- 284-2542 by Feb. 1 to make reservations.