Explore More than 200 Artists' Creations at the Annual Fort Myers ArtFestJan 13, 2023 04:00PM ● By Ann Marie O’Phelan
ArtFest Fort Myers draws in serious art lovers to novice collectors, as well as people of all ages. There’s something for everyone at ArtFest Fort Myers. Images courtesy of ArtFest Fort Myers.
Every year art lovers are drawn to ArtFest Fort Myers. It is not only because of the exceptional collection of juried art from over 200 on-site artists—working in ceramic, painting, photography, jewelry, and more — but there are also plenty of family-friendly fun activities and performances for all ages.
This free event is located on the beautiful Downtown Fort Myers Riverfront and Yacht Basin and is held on the first weekend of February. Opening night is February 3, and takes place throughout the weekend, February 4-5, 2023.
“We are kicking off the weekend with a free pops concert performed by the Gulf Coast Symphony. “Symphony on the Sound” takes place at the Caloosa Sound Amphitheater,” says Kathryn Kinsey, Executive Director. New this year are food truck areas where foodies can experience diverse menus, including seafood, steak, gourmet mac and cheese, Greek, Chinese and more favorites.
Students of all ages look forward to this fun event. The young can enjoy creating Art Yard paper hats, wearable art, and more—thanks to the hands-on Publix Art Yard experience. Students at eight local middle schools will display their sculptures and participate in the Lee County Solid Waste’s We Are Overflowing, an exhibit that harnesses the power of art to increase awareness and inspire the rethinking of waste.
“This year, a pictorial art installation will share the impact Hurricane Ian had on our community and the tremendous efforts to remove debris. Students used discarded materials that they adapted to build a sculpture or were reused in a new way to create an award-winning sculpture,” says Kinsey.
Chalk Block, presented by Golisano Children’s Hospital, supports forty teams from Lee County high schools and four professional artists to create beautiful chalk street paintings directly on the pavement.
“For many students, this is their first-time painting on the street with chalk. The 2023 theme is Living in Harmony,” explains Kinsey.
Additionally, Suncoast Credit Union presents Art Under 20, a visual art exhibit and competition for Lee County high school students who exhibit their work as they compete for cash awards.
“ArtFest Fort Myers created this venue to encourage students in their pursuit of art, and to encourage community support of art programs in our schools,” says Kinsey. Hundreds of Lee County students exhibit their artwork in a gallery-style tent to thousands of family members, teachers, friends, and admiring patrons.
Art For All celebrates inclusion. Art is a form of creative expression in which individuals with disabilities can excel, given the opportunity.
“The innovative, fun activities help develop motor skills, concentration, social interaction, and help build self-esteem for children with cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and developmental disabilities,” says Kinsey.
Using Zot Artz adaptive tools and devices, wheelchairs turn into giant paintbrushes or chalk drawers, creating large or small works of art. Along with the Zot Artz artist facilitator, children of all ages and abilities can stamp, draw, and print to make their mark.
“We aim to create a memorable and wonderful experience with talented artists, diverse cuisine, and activities for all ages each year,” says Kinsey. "At ArtFest Fort Myers, there’s something for everyone, including a 5K Fun Run.”
For more information, visit artfestfortmyers.com.
Ann Marie O’Phelan is a SW Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media.