Ingenuity and passion were on display at the Coral Gables Festival of the Arts on Jan. 23 and 24.
One artist took his passion for making ceramic art into creating living sculptures. They are bonsai trees. Another artist who had been surfing for four years understood the need for repurposing surfboards after their normal lifespan was complete. Another artist, from Richmond, VA, turned a piece of a light fixture into art by using collages.
The Festival of the Arts, held along Giralda Avenue between Ponce de Leon and Le Jeune Road, drew a large crowd of people despite the sudden cold spell. Along Giralda, there were artists of all types — wood carvers, painters, photographers, leather workers and even a knitting and macramé artist from New Jersey.
The artist with a passion for ceramics began making bonsai trees years ago when a friend gave him a kit as a gift.
Tomas Rovea is a native Argentinean who now lives in Miami where he teaches clients about caring for their trees and sells his work. The diminutive trees grow slowly and provide a relaxing tone to any décor.
Jim Rajner began reclaiming surfboards from landfills after he found out how long it takes for them to decompose. Based in San Diego, he has traveled all the way to Key West from there to display the creations. He takes the surfboards, carves such images as fish, women or boats into them and then paints them.
Originally hailing from Richmond, VA, John T. Crutchfield uses images like pictures of Elvis Presley, Frida Kahlo and colorful butterflies to make ordinary objects like switchplates into something extraordinary.
But not all of the artists gathered at the festival were from other places. Cutler Bay local Bonnie Masdeu has been working with fashion design, painting, and crafts for over 20 years. Her formal training took place in New York. Her pictures are brilliant displays of crisp shots of delicate butterflies.
Sweet sounding music came from the live band, Jeff Grainger and the Hoboken 11. Delighting the crowd with an entertaining blend of Frank Sinatra tunes, the band featured a trombone player, trumpet player, saxophonist, drummer and keyboard player.
Along the street with the food court, there was a wide variety of festival fare. There was an Argentinean grill called Argentinean Parrillada, a Louisiana-inspired kitchen providing Cajun food from Prince Catering Company and a Cantina Grill.
There were children playing games and on hand were tmembers of the Coral Gables Fire Department. David Perez of the department escorted the kids up into the fire engine and the kids happily enjoyed the experience.