Coconut Grove Arts Festival returning for its 60th year

The 2024 Coconut Grove Arts Festival (CGAF), returning for its 60th year on Feb. 17, 18, and 19, is painting a picture of success in the fine arts community.

Key outcomes of this year’s artist selection process — other than arriving at a list that includes some of the best artists ever to apply — indicate that the beloved arts festival now is emerging as one the most highly sought after shows in the nation.

The exhaustive evaluation process conducted by CGAF’s hand-selected professional jury panel closed Oct. 18, culminating in the selection of 285 top artists from around the world to be invited to exhibit at the 2024 festival over President’s Day weekend.
What makes the 2024 process most notable is the number of applicants desiring to be part of this successful show that draws tens of thousands of art lovers and spectators each year.

According to CGAF executive director Camille Marchese, this year a record volume of 1,048 applicants eagerly competed for the limited number of spaces available — just 240 openings. When hired, Marchese was determined to concentrate on a more concise number of artists, which she explains, “allows for a finer quality of unique and innovative art to see, experience, and to acquire.”

In making the announcement, Marchese excitedly exclaimed, “We’re back! The Coconut Grove Arts Festival is once again among the top 10 outdoor art shows in the country!”

She noted that the unprecedented number of applications received speaks volumes about the growing reputation of the festival, and is a clear gauge of the success of this show and its standing in the nationwide arts community.

The Jury Has Spoken!
This past September, a “blind” jury comprised of five seasoned, independent judges — themselves being professional artists and educators, museum curators, gallery owners, and art festival producers — conducted a completely objective review of the works presented by the record number of applicants.

Each submission was thoughtfully scored on a scale of 1 to 10. With such an overwhelming response, only those artists receiving a cumulative score of 7 or above made the cut. Forty-five award winning artists from 2023 will also be include. In the end, 285 artists spanning more than a dozen categories — mixed media 2D, mixed media 3D, clay, glass, jewelry, metal, painting, photography, sculpture, wood, watercolor, and printmaking — will be a part of the 2024 festival.

The Plan is Paying Off!
“Our intent was to raise the bar by reducing the number of exhibitors — a strategy that is working out well for everyone,” Marchese said.

She noted the benefit of having such a significant number of extraordinary artists from which to choose is two-fold: higher quality art generates higher volumes of sales for the exhibitors, while, at the same time, it enhances the range of extraordinary art available for discerning collectors and patrons to consider and procure.

She also stated that the 2024 Arts Festival will be a truly amazing event overall, with interactive kids’ activities, a return of the Young Collectors Club, revised culinary experiences and live demonstrations.

“But from a purely arts-show management standpoint, our primary goal was to attract and showcase the best of the best artists in the country to Coconut Grove, and we are now achieving that,” she said.

The success of Marchese’s strategy comes as a result of the strong relationships she has cultivated with artists all across the country during her three years with the CGAF.

About Coconut Grove Arts Festival
Spanning three days over Presidents’ Day weekend, the annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival remains as a premier art festival, celebrating the fine arts with live performances and local flavors.

Produced by the nonprofit, 501(c)(3), Coconut Grove Arts & Historical Association, festival proceeds fund the Annual Scholarship Program and other education and outreach programs such as the New & Emerging Artists Program and the High School Mentoring Series. Year-round arts initiatives also include special exhibitions at the Mayfair in the Grove, Visiting Artists Week, and a partnership with the New World School of the Arts.

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