By Dawn Krebs
MARTIN COUNTY -- For more than two decades, Art Fest by the Sea has entertained Treasure Coast residents with its oceanfront location and large variety of artwork.
Now celebrating its 25th year, local residents are expected to come out by the thousands to enjoy the eclectic assortment of artwork laid out for a mile on Saturday and Sunday, March 9 and 10 in Jupiter.
"This art show has been ranked among the top 100 art fairs in the country," said AnaBelle Dweck, a representative of Howard Alan Events. "This show is juried and is popular among locals and tourists alike."
It is expected that more than 300 leading artists from all over the country will feature the best of their work. The artists have been hand-selected for this festival by an independent panel of expert judges from hundreds of applicants. While some is for display, some is also for sale, and their will be art available with prices for all budgets.
"All artists will be present for the duration of the festival," said Ms. Dweck. "They will talk about their artwork and its inspiration."
For example, one artist, A.J. Brockman, uses computer software and digital media to create beautiful works of art.
Mr. Brockman, who has been wheelchair-bound since the age of two because of a progressive neuromuscular disease, always loved working with art, but realized his disease was restricting his talents.
"Now, with the aid of computer software that replicates traditional painting, along with my unwavering passion, I can create." Mr. Brockman said. "With the use of two fingers on my left hand, I am able to manipulate a mouse and have no limitations due to my disability."
Mr. Brockman went on to graduate with the Distinguished Artist Award from Digital Media Arts College. He recently created a portrait of the first family and presented it to President Obama personally in October 2012.
Some of the other various mediums of art that will be found that weekend include ceramics, glass, wood, photography, painting, sculptures and more. To help keep the arts alive, there will even be a children's art competition at the event.
The festival is looking to have a record turnout.
"This is an ideal venue," said Howard Alan, the festival promoter. "This festival has become more popular with each passing year, and has become a tradition that locals look forward to. We certainly enjoy producing this signature event."
The event is free and open to the public, and the money raised goes back to support the arts and local community.
"If nothing else, I would like my work and my personal story to inspire others create and live life to the fullest," Mr. Brockman said. "Great art and design is often overlooked," and if I can encourage at least one individual to appreciate that, then I have accomplished what I have been put here to do."
The Art Fest by the Sea will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 9 and 10 from Marcinski Road in Jupiter to Donald Ross Road in Juno Beach. Complimentary shuttle buses will be running form the Florida Power & Light building on the corner of Universe Boulevard and Ellison-Wilson Road to the festival site.