Shelly Masses, Laura Sammarco, Steven Sylvester, Kimberly Miller, Sarah Rodeberg, Marilisa Cubas
Arts and crafts festival moves to popular plaza
By Julie Landry Laviolette, Special Correspondent
March 28, 2014
It was a marriage of art and fashion during the 16th annual Arts and Crafts Festival in the Pines staged recently at The Shops at Pembroke Gardens.
The two-day event, staged the previous three years at City Center, changed venues to expose a new audience to the long-running arts venture, said Robyn Vegas, the city's cultural arts coordinator.
Moving the event "was a huge benefit to the festival because it drew a new audience and we were able to benefit from a lot of walk-up traffic," Vegas said.
More than 20,000 visitors attended the festival, which featured 103 artists and vendors. Visitors strolled through lines of tents, with exhibitors displaying wares ranging from paintings and drawings to glassworks, photography and mixed media pieces.
Artists crafting pieces from wood and clay and conducting painting demonstrations were a big hit with the crowd, Vegas said.
"You got to see some of the process and see the work. It was a great way for families and art lovers to come out and see and purchase art," she said.
There also were plant booths, handcrafted jewelry and ceramics, jazz music and a "Taste of the Gardens" food court featuring a dozen or so mall vendors.
In a children's tent, kids got their hands dirty making their own works of art. The Art of Fashion was the festival theme, Vegas said, so kids worked on projects like designing clothing for paper dolls, drawing faces and making kites.
A new element added this year were the living models — four women strolling throughout the festival exhibiting handcrafted wearable art by Fort Lauderdale artist Steven Sylvester. It was a fun way to attract attention for the event, Vegas said, with the girls dressed as a black swan, white swan, the life cycle of a butterfly, and "celebration."
"It was fun and fanciful and musical — like living art," she said. "Steven is a very well-known local artist, and he makes dresses out of ceramics and uncommon materials. The girls walked the festival both days modeling these amazing creations. It really created a buzz."
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