One of Cape Coral's oldest and most anticipated events opens today in downtown Cape Coral.
The Rotary Club of Cape Coral will hold its 28th annual Cape Coral Festival of the Arts on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Cape Coral Parkway, between Del Prado Boulevard and Vincennes.
The event, which started in 1985 at Jaycee Park with 150 artists, has grown into one of Southwest Florida's largest art shows, showcasing the works of more than 300 juried artists and artisans featuring fine art, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, photography, metal works, mixed media and more.
According to John Jacobsen, festival coordinator, the show has gotten better and more reputable every year.
"Every year, the show grows in stature and reputation throughout the country," Jacobsen said. "The caliber of artists we get is higher and higher. It's becoming harder to separate the wheat from the chaff."
Those who made the cut this year were determined by not only art experts, but also by lay people, which gives an idea of what the average person would like, Jacobsen said.
"We can provide something for everyone. It's not all highbrow or lowbrow. It's a mixture of everything," Jacobsen said. "The people of Cape Coral have become more discerning."
Among the local talent, Jacobsen said the caliber has risen tremendously and include some who have become their poster artists.
Among them is Dawn Weber, who makes pens out of exotic wood, stone, metal and such things as wood from the estates of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
She said of all the shows she does, locally and nationally, the Cape Coral Festival is one of the best.
"It's the best run. There's really a great variety of artists," Weber said. "It's very open to all kinds of art."
Among the more recognizable artists showing their works include Lisa Davin of Dzyns By Lisa, a jewelry artist and designer currently designing for the Glades television show.
This year's official event poster artists are Bill Miller and Susan Kelleghan of Dreamstrokes Art.
Their piece showcases a combination of photography and paint called "Exotic Siesta."
"It makes a unique combination and brings to artwork to life in an unique manner," Jacobsen said. "It really looks like the photo is growing out of the artwork."
Their work has won Best of Show at the arts festival on Marco Island, and they were poster artists at Sunfest in West Palm Beach in 2009.
Miller said he has been at the festival as a photographer for about 12 years, and it gets better every time he goes.
"It's such a good show in the way the committee treats you and how the customers go at it," Miller said. "It's a mix of older and younger crowds and they all wait to support that event."
For more information on the Art Festival, call 699-7942 or visit www.capecoralfestival.com