The sights and sounds of the Beaux Arts Festival impress, engage, and inspire

For the 69th year in a row, the Beaux Arts Festival of Art has grown throughout the years to attract acclaimed artists from all over the world. Photos: Evan Garcia/University of Miami
By Amanda M. Perez and Kelly Montoya

For the 69th year in a row, the Beaux Arts Festival of Art has grown throughout the years to attract acclaimed artists from all over the world. Photos: Evan Garcia/University of Miami

The sights and sounds of the Beaux Arts Festival impress, engage, and inspire

By Amanda M. Perez and Kelly Montoya
Thousands gathered at the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus for a weekend of creativity and culture.

The University of Miami was transformed into a weekend playground for art enthusiasts who were eager to explore talent. Stanford Drive was filled with a sea of tents that showcased an array of masterpieces that included paintings, ceramics, sculptures, and even accessories. Recognized as one of the leading art shows in the country, the Beaux Arts Festival genuinely captured the spirit of South Florida and beyond.

“The weekend has been spectacular. The quality of the art continues to impress and engage our visitors. From the incredibly talented student artist showcase to the nearly 200 juried artists, the celebration inspires us all,” said Lauren Dowlen, president of the Beaux Arts Festival of Art.

The event brought more than 230 juried, fine art exhibitions to the Coral Gables campus. This year the Best in Show award went to Magali Cereghino-Groves, who specializes in carving gourd—a type of pumpkin. 

“I found out I won through my friend, when she asked me if I saw the list of winners. When I looked at the board and spotted my name under the ‘best in show’ category, I got shivers from head to toe,” Cereghino-Groves said. “I’ve been coming to this festival for over 10 years, so I feel happy and rewarded for my hard work that goes behind making these pieces.”

For the 69th year in a row the festival has grown throughout the years to attract acclaimed artists from all over the world. The festival first started in 1951 and was called the “Clothesline sale,” where Beaux Arts volunteers used clotheslines to display the works of local artists on the sidewalk in front of the Lowe Art Museum. Since its inception, the festival has been run 100 percent by volunteers.

“When you think about the fact that Miami was founded in 1896 and the Beaux Arts Festival is heading for 70 years, it shows how much our organization is steeped in our community’s history,” said Michele Reese Granger, vice president of Beaux Arts. “We look forward to continue bringing this amazing tradition to Coral Gables for many more years to come.”

Festival visitors were also able to visit the Lowe Art Museum, where the 19th annual Student Artist Showcase was featured. The juried art competition, open to all Miami-Dade middle and high school students, received more than 400 entries in five categories. The artwork displayed in the exhibit was determined by a panel of judges, including museum directors, who chose 150 pieces of art.

Erica Calil, a first-time visitor to Beaux Arts Festival, was fascinated with the work. “I thought it was impressive to see the quality of the student art amongst the professional art inside the museum,” said Calil. 

The showcase encourages young artists and supports educational development in the community and awards more than $4,000 in prizes.

Lawrence Schachner, chairman emeritus of the Dr. Phillip Frost Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, said he couldn’t believe the high caliber of talent featured. “The student art show is absolutely mind-blowing. The students are incredibly savvy. They have a bright future ahead,” said Schachner. 

In addition to museum-quality fine art, the festival featured live music and children’s art experiences. Proceeds from the festival benefit the Lowe Art Museum. Festival organizers are already preparing for next year’s big event, which will celebrate the festival’s 70th anniversary. 

“We know that on our upcoming anniversary year, the festival will be bigger and better than ever—as we celebrate this incredible milestone,” said Granger. “We are proud to continue our mission of arts appreciation with UM and beyond.”