- Kristina Webb Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
The Wellington Art Society’s annual two-day festival returns this month with more of the vendors and demonstrations that have made the event a favorite on the South Florida art festival circuit.
The 12th annual Art Fest on the Green will be Jan. 27-28 at the Wellington Amphitheater. With a roster of local and national artists, this year’s even promises to be one of the the best yet, said Wellington Art Society development chair Leslie Pfeiffer.
“Each year it gets better and better,” she said. “Palm Beach County has the best fine art shows in the country from January through March, and we’re excited to be part of that.”
Art Fest admission is free. All proceeds go toward the Wellington Art Society’s scholarship program, which helps Palm Beach County students pursue degrees that will lead to art-related careers. To date, the program has provided more than $80,000 in scholarships, Pfeiffer said.
The money raised also helps pay for the society’s outreach programs, which include providing art supplies to children in local hospitals. The society also worked with Wellington and the village’s contractor to coordinate the under-the-sea artwork at Tiger Shark Cove Park off Greenbriar Boulevard.
This year’s Art Fest features 55 vendors from across the country, working in painting, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, mixed media, photography and more.
Artists are carefully selected by the Wellington Art Society, Pfeiffer said.
“We really look for the original, for artists who are just excelling and taking the medium and making it their own,” she added.
Pfeiffer has lived in Wellington for more than 20 years, and in that time has served as president of the art society. Before that, she taught art in the Midwest. She has been “captivated by light and color” since an early age, she said, and she loves seeing others have that experience now as they watch artists’ demonstrations at Art Fest on the Green.
Those on-site demonstrations are part of the draw for attendees, but also for artists, who find it a great way to connect with their patrons, Pfeiffer said.
“The artist is right there to share their inspiration and point of view in creating the piece,” she said. “I watch this happen time and again: People interact with artists and purchase the piece because they feel like they were part of its creation.”
That’s a lure for artists, who cite it in planning their return to the festival each year.
Several artists also plan to unveil new pieces at this year’s Art Fest. Among them: Wellington-based glass artist Sheree Blum of Kicking Glass, whose pieces have been featured in Coastal Living and People magazines. Her work also has been sold at Anthropologie.
“So everybody’s excited to get one of her pieces,” Pfeiffer said.
Also unveiling new work will be Manny Jomok, who works in the plein air style. Jomok has been “instrumental” in the Plein Air Palm Beach organization, a group of artists who paint in the open air.
“It’s dedicated to capturing the current state of their surroundings,” Pfeiffer said. “They have such a short amount of time to work, with changing lights and movement.”
This year’s event features several sponsors, including the village of Wellington, Whole Foods, Westlake, Wellington the Magazine and the Town-Crier newspaper. The event’s Young at Art children’s activity area is sponsored by Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, with the Art Cellar staff facilitating the activities.
“Because we are a local organization, that support from the community partners, local business advertisers and sponsors is a key part of making it happen,” Pfeiffer said.
Beyond acting as a platform for local artists, she noted the event is great for engaging new art society members.
And the venue doesn’t hurt, she added: “As far as a beautiful setting, it doesn’t get much better than Wellington during the equestrian.”