In the realm of community-building events, South Miamians can take particular pride in the Chamber South Art Festival. Designed to showcase the City’s charming downtown, promote art in the community, local artists, and artists from around the country, the popular show marks its 41st year this November 3rd and 4th.
“Chamber South continues to believe that exposure to the arts is good for community,” said Chamber President Mary Scott Russell.
The show, which is held on the first weekend in November every year, is free of charge to event-goers. Attracting over 50,000 people during two days, attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy and purchase works of fine art offered by over 130 artists. The family-oriented show also includes activities for children and performances by local youth organizations. Town center along Sunset Drive, east of US1 will be closed to vehicular traffic and converted into a promenade where you can take in the art work, savor some delicious food from street vendors or in local restaurants, and enjoy live music from groups such as Van Gogh Listens and the Miami Children’s Chorus. The Chamber highly encourages the public to take public transportation, bike or walk to Sunset Drive; for those who drive, on-street metered parking will be available, as well as spaces in local garages.
Sunshine Artist magazine rates the Art Festival among the 100 Top Fine Art and Design shows in the country. The magazine is the “go to” guide for artists and crafters who are looking for show schedules and other related information concerning the business of art and crafts. The Top 100 distinction is determined by the participating artists for whom there is just one criterion, the number of sales realized by the artist.
“I have had artists tell me that our event puts food on their table for the entire year,” said Mary Scott Russell.
Arelis Ferro, Director of the Art Festival and Events Manager for the Chamber spends six months coordinating all facets of the event: combining artists, sponsors, vendors, entertainers and advertisers into a seamless, well-managed festival. A popular show, Ms. Ferro had to turn away at least 20 artists away this year because there was not enough space for them. She reports that participating artists build a following from the show—a following that keeps buyers returning to South Miami every year.
The Art Festival is funded by the Chamber and relies on sponsorship from a variety of generous donors and grantors. In addition to their major sponsor, the First National Bank of South Miami, are Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Baptist Health of South Florida, the City of South Miami and others.
Chamber South serves businesses in South Miami, Kendall, Cutler Bay, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay and Greater South Dade. The mission of the Chamber is to maintain a leadership role through programs, services and events that will enhance the quality of life and economic well-being of the member communities by working to improve business conditions that strengthen the economic health of the community.