I will be here with my art on Sunday – please stop by and enjoy a great afternoon of art, music, and local good times:
World’s Smallest Arts Festival Rocks On
Seventeenth Annual Gifford Lane Art Stroll
(Coconut Grove, FL ) Each year the artists gather here beneath the trees. Every year, people flock here for a good time and to grab up the art. And unlike almost any other event in Florida, each year at the end of the day, they give away all the money. They’ve got great karma.
The much-loved Gifford Lane Art Stroll returns Sunday, March 1st, 2015 for five brief hours from 12 noon to 5:00 p.m. Everything takes place on Gifford Lane along one normally sleepy little residential block near the Kirk Munroe tennis courts, between Oak and Day Avenues (3200 block) in Coconut Grove. That’s where they rock out.
There will be no vehicular traffic permitted along the lane during the event to allow for the proper amounts of meandering, conversation and strolling, as well as to make room for some raucous-free-spirited-cucumber punch-inspired dancin’ in the street.
The Coconut Grove event features work by some seventy artists positioned along the lane with artwork displayed on fences, in front yards, on clotheslines, in trees and on ladders. Some of the finest artists in the region will be in attendance up close and personal. Residents often describe the Gifford Lane Art Stroll as the “Grove the way the Grove once was.” Neighbor Nathan Kurland, a central organizer of the event for the past eight years, says, “As far as I can tell, the Gifford Lane Art Stroll is Coconut Grove.”
“The thing is,” says Trina Collins, a painter and one of the founders of the Stroll who lives on the block, “at lots of arts festivals, artists are primarily interested in just having their work seen. But at the Gifford Lane Art Stroll, artists come to sell. And sell they do. The price is right. The quality’s good. You see tons of people going up the lane with a new treasure tucked under their arm. It’s a people party. I’ve known people to arrive not knowing anybody and leave with new friends. We have one accomplished artist living on the street who bought her house on Gifford Lane as a result of the Art Stroll.”
It is also a freewheeling art marketplace. Sculpture, portraits, seascapes, landscapes, jewelry, tile mosaics, large abstract paintings, photography, mixed media, found art objects, and several art forms that as yet have no names-it is all here and readily available.
Each year artists apply to the Stroll to be included and each year there is a waiting list. A request also goes out to artists for submissions to be considered for the annual poster. The entire planning committee of 30 residents selects the winner.
This year’s honor goes to multi-award winning artist Eileen Seitz, a NYC-born, long-time Groveite. Eileen’s artwork http://eileenseitz.com, is seen nationally and internationally and is visible throughout the
Grove-from her lovely hand-painted Ambassador kiosks in the Village Center to the work she did with Cyndy Hill on the Children’s Mosaic of glittering underwater tile work on the side of the U.S. Post Office here.
The live music at the Stroll provides the perfect soundtrack for the afternoon-when it is loud, people dance; and when it sways gently, people chat and stroll. It is nonstop good times all
afternoon. Featured performers and regional favorites appearing for their sixth year at the Stroll will be the high energy folk and rock tunesmiths Solar Dogs.
In addition to their own original material, the band also covers an accomplished and eclectic mix of blues, folk, and rock. Band members are Eric Wagner, Zip Robertson, Bill Kunz, and Robert Grabowski. Together, they form a remarkable and wildly popular string and vocal band with a wide range of credits at venues throughout Florida. Solar Dogs strikes the perfect tone of sweetness and good vibrations that the Stroll crowd loves. Who could resist dancing when these lads light it up?
Coconut Grove music legend Bobby Ingram will be performing his wonderful solo vocals and guitar. Bobby has performed with David Crosby, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Jimmy Buffet, Fred Neil, Gail Garnet and many others. We are truly honored to have Bobby back performing at the Stroll.
Each and every year, the Gifford Lane Art Stroll gives away all of its profits to Coconut Grove charities. A percentage of every piece of art sold, and all of the proceeds from contributions for the now-world-famous (written about in The New York Times, Miami Herald, and The Miami New Times) cucumber punch, not to mention substantial funds from the sale of delicious ribs, grilled shrimp, hot dogs, arepas, and broiled burgers goes directly to charity. Over the last sixteen years, the Stroll has donated all of their money– more than $40,000– to two Grove charities, the St. Stephen’s AIDS Ministry and the St. Alban’s Child Enrichment Center in the Grove Village West. Says Virgin Vanderlugt, administrator at the AIDS Ministry, “Over the past decade and a half the Gifford Lane Art Stroll has really stepped up to the plate and been a major financial supporter of our AIDS efforts.”
The true heart and soul of the Gifford Lane Art Stroll are some thirty neighbors who each year over potluck dinners undertake all of the many small details that make each year a success. Everyone is a volunteer, including Founding Director Trina Collins. This year, Barbara Tejada, an oil painter and herself director of the Grove House Artists, is the Art Stroll Facilitator responsible for coordinating all of the details of the event with Trina Collins and Velvet Rothe, the Stroll’s government relations coordinator.
Peggy Quattro, a marketing professional who volunteers with the Stroll, says there are many art forms included in the Gifford Lane Art Stroll, but one of the most important is “the art of community.” Participating artist, Uta, says, “I can’t think of a sweeter party that fuses art, music and joy.” Artist Sharon Koenig says, “The Gifford Lane Art Stroll is the happiest, most happening art block party in South Florida!”
Jugglers and a bounce house are always big draws for families with children.
The 17th Annual Gifford Lane Art Stroll will delight those in attendance on Sunday, March 1st, from 12 until 5:00 p.m. in Coconut Grove among the welcoming art and artists under the beautiful trees along sweet, sweet Gifford Lane.