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Sanibel Community Association Fine Art and Craft Festival


Sanibel Island 03Name:  The Sanibel Community Association Fine Art and Craft Festival

Dates:  Friday & Saturday, January 17 & 18, 2020.

Hours:  9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Place: The festival is held on the grounds of The Sanibel Community House on Periwinkle Way, Sanibel’s main street. The Sanibel Community House has been an island fixture since 1927 and touts itself as The Gathering Place on Sanibel Island. “Every resident and visitor will be driving by the location during the festival and we benefit greatly from the high visibility,” notes organizer Richard Sullivan. Once on the causeway, continue for 3.5 miles before turning right at the first stop sign onto Periwinkle Way, the main thoroughfare on Sanibel Island. Continue for 2.2 miles until you see the Sanibel Community Center where the Art Festival is held.

Description:  This new January event is a partnership betweeen The Sanibel Community Association and Boulderbrook Productions. This  festival features the gourmet food booths, live entertainment and 77 fine artists showcasing works in oil, acrylic and watercolor, drawings and pastels, 2D and 3D mixed media and collages, photography and digital art, woodworking, sculpture, ceramics, glass, fiber art, and jewelry.

This event is a boutique festival, meaning that participation is restricted to a small number of artists in order to avoid duplication and repetition. To ensure that festival patrons are exposed to only the highest quality art, festival director Richard Sullivan attends art shows, fairs and festivals every weekend he’s not hosting a festival of his own. “I know who’s the best and I try to get them to do my shows. It’s a selection process, not an application process. We send out invitations …. We know who we want and we go out and get them.”

Sullivan also limits the size and chooses intimate settings for his festivals in order to give participating artists and festival goers a reasonable opportunity to converse about the art on display in the show. Visitors have the opportunity to interact with the artists, learn a little about their inspiration, find out how they made their artworks, and purchase fine works of art at reasonable prices directly from the artists (or commission a specific work of art if they do not find precisely what they want). “Our artists need to spend time with the collector,” explains Sullivan. “To explain what he has has value and quality. He can only do that at a small show that’s designed to bring in sophisticated patrons …. People [who] appreciate art.”

Cost: Admission is free, but there is a $6 toll to cross the Sanibel Causeway bridge from Fort Myers. You can pay with cash, or with your Leeway or Sunpass transponder.

Parking: Parking Areas are available along Periwinkle Drive and at the library on Dunlop. Parking areas are well marked and attendants are available to assist with parking. There is full shuttle service and handicap parking for anyone who needs assistance.

Organizer: Boulderbrook Productions

Director: Richard P. Sullivan, a native of Wellesley, Massachusetts. Not only is Sullivan on site throughout the festival, he knows just about every artist at every show that Boulderbrook produces throughout the year. “I want to know them and know their work. I’ll go to someone’s house just to talk to them about their art.” So conversant is Sullivan with each artist’s work, that he’s been known to expound upon an artist’s work to potential collector’s while spelling them in their booth.

Beneficiary: Proceeds from the event will benefit The Sanibel Community House and The SCA.

Related Festivals: In addition to Sanibel Masters Art Festival, Boulderbrook Productions also produces a number of other art festivals on the west coast of Florida.

Fast Facts:

  • In the ’80s, Festival Director Richard Sullivan spent time in film and television production. For years, he hobnobbed with everyone from Steven Tyler of Aerosmith to James Taylor. “I not only got to the meet them, I had lunch with them,” he says.His work in music videos then opened the door to filming high-end commercials for products including Reebok. He traveled around the globe, from Milan to Brazil, filming famous athletes.
  • Visiting his parents’ home in Naples, he met a girl and decided to stay permanently. Needing something to occupy his time, so he approached the newly-opened von Liebig Art Center about raising funds to build a dark room on the premises. His success in that fundraising effort prompted The von Liebig board of directors to seek his assistance with its most famous event, the Naples National Art Festival, a two-day event that attracts high-caliber artists from far and wide.
  • When Sullivan left nearly seven years later, Naples National had gone from being rated the 11th to the fifth best festival in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine.
  • Today, Sullivan produces art festivals throughout Florida and as far north as Nashville, Tennessee through his own business, Boulderbrook Productions, named after the brook in which he caught frogs near his Massachusetts childhood home.
  • Seminole Casino in Immokalee is Southwest Florida’s #1 destination “because the action never stops and the fun never ends.” With over 1,200 of the industry’s newest slots, 34 live table games and a WPT poker room, you are sure to find action that suits your style. Click here to take a 360-degree virtual tour of the casino.
  • Headlining last year’s festival was rocker Eddie Money , who was joined by The Buckinghams whose break-up song, “Kind of Drag,” became a million-selling pop chart-topper in the 1960s.

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