KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Creations by more than 100 fine artists from around the United States are to entice attendees Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 21-22, at the 50th annual Old Island Days Art Festival in historic Old Town Key West.
Begun in 1965 and originally called the Clothesline Art Show, the festival is to feature artists in media including watercolor, oil paint, acrylics, decorative sculpture, collage and photography. Additional attractions include wearable art, jewelry, pottery, pieces in wood and other fine craft items.
“The first show was held on the sidewalk on Front Street and artists used clothespins to attach their work to the fence in front of the old Customs House,” said event coordinator Lois Songer.
Now a nationally acclaimed event, the open-air festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Colorful booths line Whitehead Street from Greene to Eaton streets, alongside gracious historic homes and museums, and spill into the exclusive Truman Annex enclave at Caroline Street.
Several hundred artists from around the U.S. and Canada apply each year to display their fine art in Key West’s sunny subtropical setting, and the show is juried to ensure high quality. Pieces on display range from contemporary to traditional to tropical.
Approximately 25,000 art lovers browse the creative offerings each year. Artists are typically on hand to discuss the inspirations behind their work and offer insights into their techniques.
According to Songer, the initial “clothesline” show was held by the Key West Art Center to raise money to restore the 301 Front St. building that became the center’s gallery. The organization has sponsored the festival throughout its 50-year history, and proceeds continue to support its programs and maintain the historic gallery.
Event information: www.keywestartcenter.com or 305-294-1243