The annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival kicked off this Presidents Day weekend for its second return post-COVID. Over 120,000 people attend every year to see the works of juried artists from around the world, and this year did not disappoint.
Prospective artists undergo a jury process where they must submit images of their work to a panel of judges, who then select up to 285 candidates. All mediums of art are welcome, but that’s not the only thing this festival offers.
“I think this year the festival’s busier than before,” said Sheko Kirby, a jewelry maker. “The festival brings a lot of exposure, I like that there’s a hugely diverse crowd.”
The Grove, Miami’s original arts district, has been producing this festival for 59 years. The onset of COVID-19 forced the event to be postponed for two years, but after making a comeback in 2022, this year was even better.
“From an artist’s standpoint, COVID was horrible for us,” said Jay McDougal, a woodwork artist. “Since we came out of it, the last couple of years people have been so anxious to get back out and consume.”
The festival also consisted of “Kitchen Combat,” where top chefs from around the world battled with their local South Floridian counterparts. There was also live music, food trucks, and interactive art for children.