The 43rd Coconut Grove Art Festival becomes a celebration

Instead of playing host to the typical Thursday night crowd, Coconut Grove housed more than 300 artists, vendors and restaurants who took to the streets over President’s Day weekend at the 43rd annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival.

Visitors of all ages hiked from Johnny Rocket’s to Monty’s to observe art in all forms: From paintings, jewelry, glass and metalwork to culinary demonstrations, street performers and live entertainment, art became a celebration.

The festival began as a clothing art show in 1963 and eventually grew into an internationally acclaimed art exhibition attracting artists from across the world. The three-day event was expected to attract more than 150,000 people, and last year, the festival sold more than four million dollars of artwork. Admission is five dollars and part of the proceeds benefit the Coconut Grove Arts and Historical Association, Inc. Building Fund which will help create a permanent home for the arts festival.

Each year an artist’s work is chosen to represent the arts festival on its commemorative poster, and 2006 is characterized by Clyde Butcher’s black-and-white nature photograph “Ghost Orchids.” Some of this year’s unique displays included Jim Budish’s bronze sculptured rabbits, Fred Tate’s “small sculptures that are wearable” and Sally C. Evan’s contemporary acrylics and paintings.

In front of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church hosts its own free arts and crafts show with a variety of vendors, from those specializing in sculpture and photography to potpourri and soap, sand art, princess crowns, vintage clothing, pop art fashion and even a traditional English tearoom.

In its 18th year running, the St. Stephen’s show began as a group of people who sold refreshments to visitors to the Grove’s art festival to help raise money for their youth group and eventually developed into a full-blown art show. All proceeds go to fund and expand community outreach programs such as AIDS outreach and the Coconut Grove Food Bank.

For more information on the Festival and its artists, visit

Bari Lieberman can be contacted at