Amid a brilliant showcase of visual, performance, and culinary arts, thousands converged in Downtown Stuart for ArtsFest 2022, hosted by MartinArts, in grand celebration of its 35th year!
Each year, ArtsFest, a juried, competitive show, invites artists to apply for the opportunity to exhibit works for sale. Selected and featured in a bright string of white tents February 12 -13, was an eclectic presentation of expert artistry, in colorful display and wide variety of mediums. Painting, sculpture, ceramics, drawing, glass, wood, fiber, mixed media, found objects, and more delighted visitors who met and mixed with the artists, and took home their original works.
Adjacent to the fabulous runway of artists, Gazebo Park set the stage for the jovial audience, who enjoyed an exciting array of delicious food, refreshments, and musical performance. Kicking off the festivities, was Murray Middle School, with showstopping vocal numbers of legendary favorites. The spectacular line-up showcasing music from classical and jazz, to the Broadway Arts, included gorgeous performances by a Classical Guitar Quartet, the Indian River Pops Orchestra, jazz pianist Bashaum Stewart, and jazz vocalist Yvette Norwood-Tiger, who headlined at Main Stage on Saturday.
“ArtsFest is MartinArts’ biggest event of the year, planned with the intention to delight our guests and inspire passion for the arts,” said Nancy Turrell, Chief Executive Officer of the Martin Arts Foundation. “We are so grateful to our committee, sponsors, vendors, volunteers and guests who, because of their support and patronage, helped to ensure another wonderful success.”
To rally the celebration, crowd-stopping entertainment sprinkled the festival grounds throughout Downtown Stuart’s charming Gazebo Park, and up and down Ocean Boulevard over the two-day arts & cultural extravaganza. Dazzling visitors who gathered to peruse and shop artisan vendor booths, was a Brass Band Street Parade and amazing circus arts performers who juggled, danced, and ‘rocked’ hoops, high-atop stilts.
With its vibrant, annual celebration of ArtsFest, MartinArts once again, positioned artists at the center of building audiences for the arts, and impacting the customer-base for local businesses.
“Events taking place in our vibrant downtown corridors, such as ArtsFest, are valued as crucial engines that drive the area’s economic and cultural vitality,” said George M. Stokus, Assistant County Administrator, Martin County.
Serving as Event Chair of ArtsFest 2022, was Neil Capozzi, owner of Stuart Art Supply, also an event sponsor. Working to ensure the event’s success were ArtsFest 2022 Committee members: Jane Baldridge, Liz Bonan, Jeff Bowers, Kim Capen, Paul Hamaty, Sheryl Levine, Mary Ann Loomis, Paul Nunley, Anna Valencia Tillery, Jackie Vitale, and Sunny Walker.
Artists earned distinguished awards in nine categories. Taking home ‘top honor’ with “Best of Show” was Paul Shampine, of Newtown, Connecticut, for his collection of Mixed Media works. Awarded First Place were: John Cheer – Ceramics; Jean Yao – Fiber; Andrew Libecki – Glass; Valerie Lamott – Jewelry; Dan Bi – Mixed Media; Chris Kling – Painting; Lazaro Ruda – Photography; Josh Price – Sculpture; Magali Cereghino-Groves – Wood. Awarded Honorable Mentions, were Luis Gutierrez – Ceramics; Busarin Kittichareonsup – Jewelry; Barbara Umbel - Jewelry; Candice Rodriguez-Adams - Mixed Media; and Scott Klimek - Painting.
More event highlights taking place at ArtsFest, included the anticipated return of the Stuart ‘Chopped’ Annual Competition with back-to-back heats for the win. The ‘Top Chef’ taking home this year’s First Place honor was local chef and third time Stuart ‘Chopped’ winner Jose Peralta. Look for news about Jose’s new restaurant, set to open soon.
Creating an added community ‘buzz,’ were a host of local agencies and nonprofit organizations, which provided ArtsFest patrons a wonderful arena of information and family-fun activities. Interactive booths informed attendees about a broad variety of supportive and enriching community programs and services. Activities found visitors enjoying complimentary guitar lessons and getting up-close-and- personal with wildlife and nature.