Thousands expected for 40th annual Arts Festival

By Raquel Garcia….

Mangrove Magic by Paul Marcellini

Something special occurs in South Miami after the Halloween spooky season concludes and before Thanksgiving gets underway. An event preceding the holiday season celebrations of elves parading about town and shops decorating in reds and greens to highlight the spirit of the season; The South Miami Arts Festival happens.

The Chamber South’s 40th Annual South Miami Arts Festival promises to be another fine art extravaganza S November 5 and 6 with more than 100 artists from around the country participating and over 50,000 art aficionados expected to attend.

Mediums of presentation range from painting to glass, metal work, jewelry, photography, clay, sculpture, wood, mixed media, digital art and watercolor. In addition to a wide range of unique artistic expressions for attendees to enjoy while strolling Sunset Drive and Red Road, international food vendors will offer savory delights to satisfy any palate and some area restaurants will present special arts festival menus as well. This year also includes a special kid’s area near Sunset Tavern and Deli Lane.

Events Coordinator for Chamber South Thomas Taulbee, involved in the show for 15 years now says “the reputation of the show has traveled in the artist community and beyond for the past 40 years. Our dedication is apparent, we put on a quality show and our numerous applications and community accolades are a testament to that.”

According to Taulbee, artists who make the cut and are invited to present at the show go through a meticulous jurying process. Dedicated chamber members review the applications and make determinations to bring a balanced array of artists representing various mediums. Those who are not chosen are always encouraged to try again for next year.

Lipscomb University graduate and featured artist Paul Marcellini was born and raised in the Redlands, just 20 minutes from Everglades National Park. “Ever since I was a kid my mom sent me to zoo camp and nature camp. I grew up around animals and nature, always heard stories from my family about the good old days of the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp so it was a natural evolution for me to focus on nature and the Everglades in my photography.”

Marcellini’s captivating digital photography makes classic mangroves and alligators and cypress trees look ethereal and otherworldly with his original style of editing images digitally. He likens it to a modern version of the old style darkroom manipulation of photography as he enhances landscapes with luminously hued clouds hovering above seemingly prehistoric scenery.

“I go out to capture light; I am chasing the clouds and trying to put together an image in the light of the moment. I try to exclude humanity and simply document unspoiled Florida. Sometimes people tell me they cannot believe this beauty is essentially in their own backyard.”

Marcellini was an Environmental Science major in college and supports conservation issues. “People will not help preserve what they do not understand so by highlighting these natural settings hopefully when votes and bills in the state legislature come up to preserve our natural resources there may be more of a connection made through the work.”

Featured artist Phil Fung makes connections with his audience through “positivity expressed by way of pop culture.” Fung is clearly a lover of cartoons and his unique image expressions utilizing watercolor, acrylic paints, and mixed media show a whimsical yet profound and sophisticated happy perspective of modern life.

“I love to create” says Fung. “When I sit down with my materials I try to be bright and clever with a humorous perspective. I want to challenge the observer to slow down and step away from the internet and television to find a quiet moment in front of a beautiful painting for contemplation. And it’s always fun, I try to keep it fun.”

Fung says he was a skinny kid growing up who was not adept at sports so art was his creative outlet but he only began to take it seriously when he attended college. He received his undergraduate degree from Florida State University as a Studio Art major and went on to the University of Central Florida to obtain his master’s degree in Art Education. Fung was also born and raised in South Florida and today has a Pinecrest studio in Suniland Plaza where he teaches art classes.

Although Fung enjoys a light hearted approach to his work he is also philosophical about his dream profession: “In ancient times alchemists would take lead and turn it into gold. I am inspired by beauty and blessed for the opportunity to take two tubes of paint and a blank canvas and like the alchemists of bygone days, use simple materials to make something beautiful.”

The Chamber South’s 40th Annual South Miami Arts Festival will be November 5 and 6 from 10am to 6pm in the heart of South Miami. For more information visit or call Thomas Taulbee at 305-661-1621.

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2 Comments on "Thousands expected for 40th annual Arts Festival"

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