Young artists from Miami-Dade and Broward get sneak peek into alternative lifestyle of ‘career on the road’
FEBRUARY 8, 2023 – As one of the largest outdoor fine arts events in Florida draws near, organizers are not only busy working final details of the 59th Annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival (CGAF), Feb. 18-20, but are also keenly focused on the roll-out of various community and outreach initiatives they host each year – including the recently redesigned Emerging Artists Program.
Formerly, the Coconut Grove Arts & Historical Association lead the development programs for new artists. Now, with the help of industry professionals, volunteers, and a vibrant talent pool, the Emerging Artists Program promises to fuel the future of independent traveling artists for generations to come.
The Future of Festivals
“If we want art festivals to continue growing,” says Camille Marchese, executive director of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, “we absolutely must join hands to encourage a young group of artists.”
The program in its new iteration was designed by Cindy Lyric, an experienced arts festival executive director who created a similar program in St. Louis. She was brought on board to provide a structure that focuses on younger artists, allows them cost-effective access, and provides them with practical, hands-on experience to understand and appreciate the potential of life as a festival entrepreneur.
“Art schools don’t typically promote festivals as a legitimate option for artists,” continued Marchese. “Clearly, it’s an alternative lifestyle, but for the right person, it is a viable and exciting one. You don’t always have to sit behind a desk to be successful.”
Mentored During Festival
For 2023, the program selected 13 emerging artists from Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, between the ages of 19 and 30, who have never shown at a professional exhibit. The artists will be mentored by 24 volunteer festival artists amongst whom they will rotate throughout the entire festival weekend.
The emerging artists will also participate in an event dinner and panel discussion on two key topics: Why to choose the life of a festival artist and secondly, how to make money doing so. The young participants who decide to continue their education will receive year-round support, including help in applying to other festivals around the country, and a booth at next year’s Arts Festival.
“It’s really about supporting the future of all arts festivals,” said Marchese. “It’s an industry that needs our support. Without the other festivals, talented artists can’t make a living, so we definitely see it as being about more than just the CGAF, it’s an investment in the future of independent artists.”
Visit Coconut Grove Arts Festival for more information.