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Now browsing: Hometown News > Entertainment > Brevard County

Art festival to draw crowd to the Space Coast
Rating: 2.76 / 5 (21 votes)  
Posted: 2012 Nov 16 - 06:37



By Dan McDonald

For Hometown News



BREVARD - What started as a handful of local artists attempting to sell some of their work on the sidewalk has grown into the largest juried art show in Brevard County.

Once again, thousands of guests are expected to converge in Cocoa Beach Thanksgiving weekend for the 49th annual Space Coast Art Festival.

"It really is amazing how the show has taken on a life of its own," said Marilyn Grigsby, who has played a role in each of the shows since that humble origin in 1963, either as a guest, volunteer or organizer.

"Back in the beginning there were several artists, who took and gave lessons in the Surfside Theater," said Ms. Grigsby, who currently serves on the art festival's board of directors. "They wanted to get exposure for their work and decided to hold a sidewalk art show."

It wasn't very big, but it was a success, thanks to a lot of local help and support, especially from Kit Oldag, who ran a little art gallery called The Salty Dog, Ms. Grigsbsy said. Back then, the festival was held in the spring.

By the third year, the artists approached the Cocoa Beach Women's Club seeking help and the Women's Club, led by Mary Catherine Jones and Anne Brush, organized the Beaux Arts Ball, which was to serve as a fundraiser to support art scholarships for local students, she added.

Two years after that, the Women's Club took over running the festival as a community project, and in 1972, the show was incorporated as a nonprofit cooperation and the name officially changed to the Space Coast Art Festival.

"The date was changed to Thanksgiving weekend, and the show has grown every year since," Ms. Grigsby said.

This year, more than 230 artists from across the country will compete for $50,000 in prize money in one of 10 categories, as they display and sell their work in Downtown Cocoa Beach on Saturday, Nov. 24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and again on Sunday, Nov. 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In addition to the art show, an expected group of nearly 1,500 runners will take part in a 5K Turkey Trot road race and quarter-mile youth run held Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 22. In addition to the sanctioned race, prizes will also be awarded to costumed runners and "turkey teams" - teams of four runners who compete, while carrying a 12-pound frozen turkey.

"We had more than 1,000 runners last year," said art festival organizer and board member Diane Kirschenbaum. "We expect even more this year."

The Turkey Trot commences at 7:30 a.m. from the Baliwick Mall in Cocoa Beach and is open to runners and walkers of all ages and ability.

There are also two stages that will be offering full slates of music during the festival, as well as separate art show exhibits, featuring young artists from county schools.

There have already been some winners declared. Local artist Billy McGuire, who runs A1A Signwaves, a printing graphic arts shop in Cocoa Beach, won the festival poster contest.

The three student T-shirts design winners are Olivia Pitten, an eighth-grader from Hoover Middle School, Samantha Ames, a fifth-grader from Westside Elementary and Savannah Dudley, a senior at Cocoa High School.

"I think the show really began as a way to bring some exposure to the arts and the artists," Ms. Grigsby said. "When it started, Brevard really didn't have a lot of arts. Heck, we didn't even have a mall back then.

"But it's amazing how it has grown," she added. "I think we have one of the finest shows around. Because the show is juried, artists have to submit some of their work to a three-judge panel to get approved to exhibit. And, we offer the prize money, so artists want to participate. It's a chance to have their work not only judged, but also appreciated by the guests."

Categories of art for the main show include oils and acrylics; watercolors; drawings; graphics; collages and printmaking; clay; sculpture; photography; glass; jewelry and leather, fiber; paper and wood; and mixed media.

"Over the years, I've bought many pieces of work at the show," Ms. Grigsby said. "It's always hard not to buy everything. There is so much good work available. I encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the weekend. The show is free, and it's just a wonderful time."

Complimentary park-and-ride service will be provided from the parking lot of the Cape Royal building at 1980 N. Highway A1A. On Saturday, the shuttle will run from 8:30 a.m. through 6 p.m. On Sunday, the hours of operation will be 9:30 a.m. through 6 p.m.



For more information, contact the art festival organizers at (321) 784.3322, or visit www.spacecoastartfestival.com.

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