What began in 1963 as an intimate “clothes line” art show featuring a handful of artists and a few thousand onlookers as part of a promotion for the Coconut Grove Playhouse’s production of Irma la Douce has transformed itself into South Florida’s most successful arts festival. Today, the event attracts an estimated 120,000 people to the winding streets of Coconut Grove during President’s Day weekend.
Produced by the Coconut Grove Arts and Historical Association, Inc., a non-profit community organization under the direction of a board of directors and full-time staff, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival® showcases the works of 360 internationally recognized artists who are selected from nearly 1,300 applicants. Jurors evaluate the artist’s work and displays to select participants in such categories as mixed media, painting, photography, digital art, printmaking & drawing, watercolor, claywork, glass, fiber, jewelry & metalwork, sculpture and wood.
Proceeds help fund year-round arts programs, which create a positive impact on our community and touch the lives of many throughout the year. Recent initiatives include the “New & Emerging Artists” category, which allows artists ages 18-29 to not only display their work for the very first time at an outdoor fine arts festival, but also partake in a hands-on Arts Symposium and gain access to a carefully-matched Experienced Festival Artist in their genre.
Similarly, the Arts Festival also amplified its existing, nationally-lauded Visiting Artists Week, with a two-part mentoring series designed for a select group of talented high school students to take place two weeks prior to the Festival.
The Association also presents special exhibitions from its Coconut Grove Arts Festival Gallery location inside the Mayfair in the Grove throughout the year and has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to students who attend fine arts programs in local schools.