The weather cools and the festival season heats up as the 25th annual Las Olas Art Fair takes place Saturday and Sunday.
The venerable downtown Fort Lauderdale fair will feature more than 100 artists from South Florida and 30 states, selling paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry and one-of-a-kind works in every medium.
“I've been preparing for this show a year in advance,” says noted Cuban artist Humberto Benitez, 52. “Las Olas is a very nice show. The food is great, and the music is fantastic. Plus, all the restaurants around Las Olas, how could you go wrong?”
The Coral Gables-based painter says his passion for music and dance fuel his brilliantly colored original acrylics, right, and signed reproductions, which sell for $200 to $56,000.
“The bright colors come from grinding my own pigments. I use a spatula and knife to paint and rarely use a brush,” he says. “I never feature faces. I want people to focus on the movement, not the people in my paintings.”
A fair highlight is the giveaway of “Perpetual Bliss,” a resin and steel sculpture created by award-winning sculptor Todd Andrew Babb to celebrate the fair's silver anniversary.
The juried fair, ranked as a top 100 national art event by Sunshine Artist magazine, first set up on the sidewalks in 1987 with just 16 artists, according to event promoter Howard Alan. It returns in January and March.
Kevin Kichar, a Fort Lauderdale mixed-media artist who works primarily in paper, clay and glass, will be showing brightly colored, handmade paper tapestries. Pieces run $100 to $3,000.
Kichar's colorful, glazed mosaic tiles adorn the Fourth Avenue Marshall Bridge spanning the New River, right. The 2011 public art project, dedicated in March, was commissioned by the Tarpon River and Sailboat Bend civic associations.
The bridge tiles are featured on one of several $10 commemorative posters benefiting the Las Olas Association.
“Carroll's Jewelers gives me broken pieces of china, glass and jewelry, and I create tile mosaic sculptures out of the shards,” says Kichar, 56. “I'll be exhibiting them at the show this weekend.”
Kichar's tent will be located in front of the jewelry store at 915 E. Las Olas Boulevard.
"Stop by. I'll be happy to sign the posters."
If you go
The art fair is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday between Southeast Sixth and 11th avenues, in Fort Lauderdale. Free. 561-746-6615. ArtFestival.com.
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