Art in the Grove

One of the nation’s most prominent outdoor arts festivals will take over the heart of Coconut Grove this weekend. The streets that are usually crammed with the Thursday night bar-hoppers of CocoWalk will be splattered with artwork, appetizing festival food, and live music over the President’s Day weekend February 16-18. With more than 340 artists on hand, the 39th annual Washington Mutual Coconut Grove Arts Festival is a promising event for art lovers of all ages.

A staple of South Florida’s cultural calendar and regarded as one of the nation’s best fine arts festival, the event covers large portions of McFarlane Road, South Bayshore Drive and Pan American Drive.

The art on display includes fine arts and crafts pieces that range from Marc Sijan’s famed hyperrealism statues to ubiquitous South Florida landscape oil paintings and surrealist pieces from Latin American artists.

A full range of mixed media will be represented, with artists exhibiting their works in such categories as watercolor, clay, fiber, glass, sculpture, painting, photography, wood, jewelry and metalwork, printmaking and drawing.

“I’ve been going to the Arts Festival for years now. I like checking out the different types of art they have on display,” said Ana Aguilar, a freshman. “Some of it is outrageous and some of it you want to have in your house.”

“I have to admit that a big plus is all of the food they have there,” she added.

The “Global Food Village,” presented on the shores of Biscayne Bay, will feature a wide array of ethnic and regional food, alcoholic beverages, and big-name restaurants like Pizza Hut and Starbucks.

University of Miami Social Science Professor Dr. Paul George will be leading a tour of the historic treasures of Coconut Grove on Monday. Known as the “Standup Historian,” the comedic Dr. George will lead a walking tour through the streets of the Grove’s most important landmarks, including the Barnacle, the Old Peacock Inn, Millionaire’s Row, and the Coconut Grove Housekeepers Club. Dr. George’s commentary will reflect on the Grove’s past, a time when it flourished as a haven for thriving artists.

Those interested in the tour should meet at the Coconut Grove Library on McFarlane Road at 9:30 a.m. The tour lasts two hours and fifteen minutes and costs $10 per person.

The festival will feature live music performances by Miami music star Juan Pablo Torres, Manolin el M