A new monthly happening in downtown Cape Coral will provide residents with the opportunity to enjoy the crafts of local artists and performers and help to support the city's artistic community.
The first-ever All Walks of Art Festival takes place today, Sept. 13, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Italian American Club. Presented by Circus Arts United, the event will feature 40 artists creating live pieces of artwork, along with dozens of other acts. There will be live music and a supervised children's area.
"It's an art festival - it's a show for the artists that's run by the artists," Brian Weaver, founder of Circus Arts United, said. "Everyone in the show has an equal say in the direction of the show."
He estimated that about 100 people, including artists and performers, are involved.
"We have three different dance teams that are going to come out and do choreography," Weaver said. "We have belly dancing, as well. Fire throwers and fire dancers - they do these amazing tricks."
There will be stilt walkers and a "real mermaid." Two artists will use an 8-foot by 25-foot graffiti wall to create street art, while a lounge area, complete with a standup bass, will lend itself to live poetry.
"Poets reciting poetry through music," he said.
"There's a little bit for everybody and all ages," Weaver said.
The festival will include live deejays, as well as a performance by local band Strange Arrangement. According to Weaver, the Southwest Florida staple is known for its funky, almost hip-hop tunes.
The 40 showcased artists each will donate a piece of artwork, which the public will be able to bid on during a silent auction. The auction kicks off at 7 p.m. and wraps up at approximately 9:30 p.m.
Seventy-five percent of the proceeds will go back into the community.
"Each month we pick a charity," he said. "We try to stay to local non-profits."
The September show will benefit Abuse, Counseling & Treatment.
"We believe in their cause," Weaver said, noting that ACT runs the Arts for ACT Gallery.
"We just really wanted to help them out by raising some money," he said.
ACT serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.
"This event is really important to us. We're very excited about it," chief executive officer Jennifer Benton said. "It means that we can help more survivors of domestic violence and their children."
The funds raised today will go to support ACT's shelters, including the one in the Cape.
"We have to operate 24 hours a day, so it does cost us," she said.
The monies also will support the agency's counseling program for survivors.
At the festival, there will be food and a full bar available.
The children's area will feature age-appropriate activities, to include face painting, ballon art and a magic show. A children's graffiti wall will be set up for the youths to test out their painting skills.
"We have a bunch of cool little things set up for the kids," Weaver said, adding that the children's area will be supervised, so the adults can walk around. "We definitely want to focus on a family event."
The All Walks of Art Festival aims to fill a need in the city's artistic community.
"There wasn't any place for an artist to actually show their work in Cape Coral," he said, adding that there was no place to meet and network with other artists and performers. "It was very frustrating."
As plans got under way for the event, Circus Arts United received more than 100 applications from locals looking to take part. This month's performers range in age from 75 years old and younger.
Weaver noted that he would eventually like to see an art district in the Cape.
"And, hopefully, bring in more business," he said.
The All Walks of Art Festival is free and open to the public.
After today, the festival will be held on the second Friday of each month.
"Come down and support your local artists," Weaver said.
Artists and performers interested in participating can apply online at: circusartsunited.com.
"We'll set you up as a performer and give you a space and time to actually perform," he said. "Any artist with any artistic talent is welcome - we'd love to get you inside the show."
For more information, e-mail CircusArtsUnited@gmail.com or visit the Web site online.
The Italian American Club is at 4275 Vincennes Blvd.
For more information about ACT, call (239) 939-3112 or visit online: www.actabuse.com.