A gem of an art show

A gem of an art show

By Michael R. Malone

A gem of an art show

By Michael R. Malone
No longer “on line,” the Beaux Arts Festival on the UM campus this weekend, rated among the top fairs in the country, celebrates art in its many forms.

Two hundred six artists sold 65 pictures, and the first “Clothesline Sale” sale in 1952 raised more than $1,000. “A tremendous success,” the Beaux Arts volunteer team proclaimed at the time. The funds were used to purchase a silver punch bowl for the Lowe Art Museum Gallery so members would no longer need to borrow punch bowls for their events.

Nearly seven decades later, the Beaux Arts Festival of Art has evolved to become one of  South Florida’s eminent art shows, offering an impressive array of works—in 12 different mediums—geared to satisfy a wide palette of artistic tastes. The number of participating artists is virtually unchanged, and the show continues to benefit the Lowe, yet the success bar has skyrocketed, demonstrating the exploding value and quality of the art.

“We’re the art show that South Florida knows and loves,” said Aubrie Andrea, president of Beaux Arts, the nonprofit that organizes the festival in support of the Lowe Art Museum. “Our artists are among the best, and we offer a variety of art at all different cost points. Even people who might think of art as unattainable, we encourage them to rethink that.”

Andrea oversees the team of 125 women volunteers and an additional 350-400 associates who coordinate this annual show, in its 68thedition, and today ranked among the top art fairs in the South. “Everything else we do all year is to benefit the festival, and all proceeds from the festival then go back to the Lowe—our purpose has never changed,” she said.

Jill Deupi, Beaux Arts director and chief curator of the Lowe Art Museum, embraces the opportunity to host the more than 2,000 visitors who generally attend the two-day show. The festival furthers the museum’s mission to engage and educate through the experience of art, and she encourages students and faculty to take full advantage.

“We’re bringing high-quality professional art right to UM with the opportunity to make affordable purchases and to learn about art by visiting the booths and talking with artists. We have a special area for children with finger-painting, arts and crafts, and more—it’s good, clean fun, and a great time to be on campus.”

Construction on campus has caused some constraints. With no room to expand in size, the Beaux has doubled-down on quality. The festival is more juried than ever this year, translating into more prizes and more accolades for more stellar artists. Ribbons marking the awards will be displayed on the winners’ booths.

“Take the time to talk to the artists and learn a little about their art and the art form and what it represents to them. It can be really educational and interesting,” Andrea suggested. She also touted the Student Artists Showcase (SAS), where this year close to 450 middle and high school student artists have presented their works in five categories—digital art, graphics, mixed media, painting, and photography.

“The SAS is the only juried middle and high school student art show in South Florida and one that then displays the art in a leading museum," said Andrea. A member of the Association of Museum Directors, the Lowe is regarded as among the top 200 museums in the country.

The Lowe is open and complementary all weekend (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday) to visit the SAS.

The Family Fun Zone brings together a range of vendors providing arts and crafts in a single convenient location. The Marketplace offers a diverse assortment of culinary delights, and the entertainment schedule features musicians that include Three Sheets to the Wind, the Alexander Montessori Rock Bands, Keith Johns, Funk Pedal, and the All-Star Jazz Ensemble.

The Pavia and Merrick garages are available for event parking. The lot by the Lowe Museum will be closed. 

Andrea gauges the festival’s success in the experience of the many volunteers and the relationships they develop with the City of Coral Gables and, secondly, in the support of the community for the festival.

“If you’re looking for a special piece of art, you’re likely to find it at the Beaux Arts Festival,” Andrea said, “and if you’re just looking to enjoy the art, you’ll definitely find that, too.”

A special thank you to University archivist Koichi Tasa of UM Libraries, who provided research insight and the “Clothesline Sale” photo from 1952.

The Richter Library holds an archival collection of Beaux Arts, preserved and digitized with their financial support, and University Libraries is expected to publish soon the digitization of the Beaux Arts scrapbooks (1950-2005).