The fourth annual "Paint the Beach...Sandcastles to Shrimpboats" event begins Monday, Nov. 4 with a week-long plein air festival that lasts through Sunday, Nov. 10.
More than 50 artists, including past winners like first-year winner Sal Sinder from Miami, will encompass the island and beyond in an effort to paint beach views, historic buildings, beach businesses and marine subjects.
The event actually kicked off at Beach Elementary School with a painting session between Fort Myers Beach Art Association plein air artists and fourth and fifth graders last week. FMBAA member Patty O'Kane supplied Art class students with paper and paints. The students' matted artwork will be on display in the festival tent at Santini Marina Plaza. The tent will be erected in the plaza parking lot during the week of Paint the Beach.
Fort Myers Beach Art Association plein air artists paint with fourth and fifth graders from Beach Elementary during one of two sessions Thursday afternoon. The students' work will be hung in the festival tent at Santini Marina Plaza, beginning Friday, Nov. 8.
"We're expecting another great event," said event chairperson Michele Buelow. "A lot of the activities are the same as last year."
Beach Elementary teacher Holly Nichols has been instructing her Art students about plein air painting and its long-standing tradition starting with the Impressionists.
"The kids really enjoy having artists work with them and being able to sit outside in the fall weather," she said. "Having their artwork hung up at the festival is important to them because it gives them a sense of confidence when their work is viewed by many members of the community."
Paint the Beach, which is sponsored by FMBAA, Santini Marina Plaza, Fish-Tale Marina, the Greater Fort Myers Beach Friends of the Arts and the Town of Fort Myers Beach, will feature plein air artists that seek natural outdoor settings to illustrate life through paintings.
From Tuesday through Thursday, you can witness these artists at various sites all over the island with easels and art supplies. Prior to that, a meet-and greet event will be held at Nervous Nellies for artist participants only.
On Friday, artists are asked to turn in up to two completed, framed and ready to be hung artwork to the festival tent. Keep in mind that work must be done "en plein air" without the assistance of photography.
That evening, the Paint the Beach Collectors Preview Gala will show the completed work. That work will be judged that evening and awards will be handed out. The Cypress Lake High School String Quartet will provide entertainment, while the Santini restaurants will provide hors d'oeuvres.
"We're going to have a live auction before the awards are presented, and Beach Chamber President Bud Nocera will be our auctioneer," said Buelow. Tickets are available ($30 in advance; $35 at door) at FMBAA, Fish Tale Marina or online at (preferred measure).
On Saturday, a Paint the Beach Quick Draw competition will happen at Times Square from 9 to 11 a.m. Afterwards, unframed artwork will be judged at noon back at the festival tent, artists will give demonstrations and the North Fort Myers Steel Drum Band will perform. Check out the Beach Elementary artwork hung there as well.
From 3 to 5 p.m., the Paint the Beach Jazz Caf will be open with Councilwoman Jo List and Joe McConaghy providing entertainment. There will be food and bar service during that portion of the event. Interested participants can check out the artwork on display and for sale. Donations will be accepted. The tent will be open until 7 p.m.
On Sunday, everyone is encouraged to check out the artwork for a final time from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At 2, raffle winners will be drawn before the festival ends.
The Beach Pub is providing FMBAA t-shirts through an underwriter sponsorship for the artists.
"We'll have a few on sale," said Buelow. "A painting from one of the winners from a past year will be on the t-shirt. Thanks to The Beach Pub for that."
Artists from all over the nation and beyond are celebrated for their creative energy. Last year, a record number of artists attended the weeklong event, which was begun by the members of the Fort Myers Beach Art Association, a nonprofit organization that promotes the study, practice and appreciation of art. The group holds art exhibitions and programs which are open to the public and encourages art instruction of children and junior artists.
Go to www.fortmyersbeachart.com for more information.