Islamorada 26th Annual Island Fest
Founders Park, Islamorada
April 1 & 2, 2017
Plantation Key's Barth is Island Fest poster
Jason Barth — "Spoonbills at Sunrise"
Islamorada-based outdoor life painter Jason Barth has been tapped as poster artist for the 26th annual Island Fest.
Presented by the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will offer live music, gourmet cuisine, vintage cars and plenty of fine art. The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, April 1 and April 2, 2017, at Founders Park.
"Spoonbills are one of my favorite birds down here," Barth said of his 16-inch by 20-inch painting "Spoonbills at Sunrise," which depicts the beloved pink- and white-hued wading birds scouring for meals along a mangrove shoreline. "People come to the Keys and see mangroves, but they don't realize that this is part of Everglades National Park."
Barth is just one of approximately 100 artists whose works will be on display at Island Fest. The juried Arts & Crafts show will feature local and national artists whose creations run the gamut from paintings and sculptures to jewelry and photography.
Perhaps the show's most unique medium will be presented by Allentown, Penn.-based artist John Cheer. In a process that takes 12 hours, Cheer fuses glass into a mixture of stoneware clay and porcelain clay with the help of a 2,800-degree oven. He then shapes his one-of-a-kind mixture into ornamental plates that combine elements of ocean, celestial, spiritual and organic life.
Augmenting the Island Fest art show for the first time this year will be the Plein Art Paint Out. During both days of the show, 10 artists will set up at various venues, including the beach and near the music stage, where they will paint complete works live. The artists will then frame their creations before putting them up for sale near the Chamber of Commerce building at the front of Founders Park.
One of the participants, oil painter Kathleen Denis, has practiced plein art since the mid 1980s. She said it is challenging for artists because they must paint quickly in whatever outdoor conditions are present. With plein art, there is not waiting for the right light or weather.
"Adding plein art to the event adds excitement," Denis said. "People see the painting done live. And to see it hanging just a few hours after it is started is quite fascinating for people."
The Arts & Crafts Show is just one of Island Fest's many offerings. Other festivities include live music, a vintage car show, a homemade boat race, the popular Taste of Islamorada competition and plenty of activities for children.
It all happens at Founders Park, MM 87, bayside on Saturday and Sunday, April 1 and April 2. Show times are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to Island Fest is free and on-site parking is available for a $5 donation. Bring your own lawn chairs and blankets for a comfortable fun-filled day. Events will take place rain or shine. For more information, call the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at 305.664.4503.