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Coconut Grove Arts Festival shifts away from carnival features

The Coconut Grove Arts Festival returns next week for its 55th year, highlighting the works of 380 internationally recognized artists during its annual three-day festival.

This year’s art show will include works in mixed media, paintings, photography, digital art, printmaking & drawing, watercolor, clay works, glass, fiber, jewelry & metalwork, sculpture and wood pieces, according to the festival’s website.

“To determine, which artists are going to be in this year’s show we used an online database to review artists’ submissions,” said Katrina Delgado, art curator for the Coconut Grove Arts Festival. “Each artist created a Zapplication profile and uploaded images of their art so that it could be reviewed by the judges.”

“Over 11,000 to 15,000 applicants apply yearly,” said Monty Trainer, president of the Coconut Grove Art Festival, which is narrowed down to 380 artists by five judges over a two-day period.

On the first day of judging, Ms. Delgado said, “2D works, paintings, watercolors and photography were reviewed, and on the second day wood, clay and sculpture pieces were reviewed by five judges.”

The judges, she said, “have no idea who the artists are and are solely judging the art based on their first impressions.”

In addition to all of the art, this year’s festival will once again utilize Art Express buses as one of its main transportation options, Mr. Trainer said.

Guests can take the Metrorail and arrive at the Douglas Road station at 3060 SW 37th Court and get picked up by the Art Express bus, which will take guests to and from the festival.

Another transportation service available for guests is the green mobility free bike valet.

Last year 230 to 300 bikes used the valet service, said Mr. Trainer, who expects to double last year’s numbers at this year’s festival.

As for what else is new at this year’s show, Mr. Trainer said, “our poster this year, which was created by pop artist Hector Prado, is all about the ‘age of empowerment of women,’ which we think will be a great addition to the show.”

Also, he said, “we have expanded our family fun zone to encompass all of Regatta Park, which is sponsored by Mayfair in the Grove and presented by FPL.”

“We have done away with the ziplines, rides and bounce houses and are going to have a very active kids area,” Mr. Trainer said. “The festival was becoming too much of a carnival and not enough of an art show.”

Children will be able to participate in hands-on activities with the Miami FC soccer team, the Miami Marlins and more.

As for how the proceeds from the festival are utilized, Mr. Trainer said, “all profits go back into scholarships.”

At least $20,000 in scholarship support is presented to 20 graduating seniors from local public magnet arts high schools each year, he said. “In fact, last year marked the 25th anniversary of the Arts Festival’s scholarship program for talented art students in Miami-Dade County.”

This year’s festival will take place Feb. 17-19, with tickets ranging downwards from $12 per person per day. A one-day pass for residents costs $5 and a family package for two adults and two children 12 years old and under costs $20.


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