In the past, The Coconut Grove Arts Festival has selected a local artist to create their iconic commemorative poster.
This year, they have chosen a \”different kind of hue\” and gone across America to Maine to invite Benjamin Frey, a multi-media artist who uses painting, collage, and drawing to create a sense of movement and depth in his work. The commemorative poster was unveiled at a private event in CocoWalk on the evening of January 26 in front of board members and their guests, while NBC 6\’s Ruthie Polinsky broadcasted the presentation LIVE via NBC 6 News.
Benjamin Frey is known for creating paintings and installation photos that depict a recognizable feature of a city, such as Paris and New York. Picture the London Eye or the steel fire escape stairways of a brownstone building; Frey\’s work almost always captures movement, even when you\’re staring at an inanimate flower.
\”Benjamin Frey has done a beautiful job capturing the movement and excitement of Coconut Grove in the 59th collectible poster. People are going to want to purchase this, because of its historical significance of the Pan American Seaplane terminal,\” said Monty Trainer, CGAF president, and CEO.
This year, the juried art festival turns 59 and while 1,000 artists applied, only 285 made the cut to take part in the 2023 event; approximately 100 of those are new to the show. In celebration of reaching this landmark achievement, the board members of the Coconut Grove Arts & Historical Association have been working diligently to put together a spectacular show, making 2023 better than ever with the introduction of exciting components such as the Young Collectors Club and The Emerging Artist Program.
The Coconut Grove Arts Festival takes place over President\’s Day weekend, February 18, 19, and 20 in the historic neighborhood of Coconut Grove, which was recently named one of the 30 coolest neighborhoods in the world, according to a Time Out index survey.
Tickets for this year\’s festival are already on sale at www.cgaf.com. They start at $20, but people are encouraged to follow the festival on social media for special ticket offers at @coconutgroveartsfestival.
Saturday, February 18: 10 AM – 6 PM
Sunday, February 19: 10 AM – 6 PM
Monday, February 20: 10 AM – 5 PM
2700 S. Bayshore Drive, Miami, FL 33133
The festival is located just south of downtown Miami, adjacent to beautiful Biscayne Bay. It runs along the streets of McFarlane Road, South Bayshore Drive, and Pan American Drive.
The Coconut Grove Arts Festival is not just about art; it\’s also the social event of the year. Over 80,000 attendees from across the region pass through the gates of The Coconut Grove Arts Festival to experience one of the nation\’s top outdoor, fine arts festivals that dates to 1963. This iconic South Florida event presents 280 internationally recognized artists who were selected during a blind-jury process based solely on artistic merit. The jury panel is comprised of collectors, influencers, and educators in the local arts community. Original pieces are displayed in the following categories: mixed media, painting, photography, digital art, printmaking & drawing, watercolor, ceramics, glass, fiber, jewelry & metalwork, sculpture, and wood. It offers culinary experiences and has featured celebrity chefs including Giorgio Rapicavoli, Ralph Pagano, and Allen Susser. The festival has been honored to have some of the world\’s premier artists officially create the commemorative poster, including Romero Britto, Guy Harvey, Clyde Butcher, Maria Reyes Jones, Jacqueline Roch, Xavier Cortada, Rick Garcia, Lisa Remeny, and Alexander Mijares to name a few.
The festival is operated by the 501(c)(3) Coconut Grove Arts & Historical Association and produced by EngageLive, LLC. Proceeds go towards funding year-round arts programs and scholarships benefitting 20 graduating seniors from local public magnet arts high schools each year.
ABOUT BENJAMIN FREY:
He started his career as a professional artist in 2003 but has been involved in art since childhood. Born in Maine in 1979, he grew up in an artistic family, and by the age of 10 had decided to become an artist. The path from dreams to reality was never direct, but he always loved drawing, and painting, and was fortunate to find his way into a selective arts program in high school, which was where he found the first of his artistic mentors: the contemporary landscape painter Alan Bray. Later, he discovered mixed media and collage through another artist-mentor, Roderick Slater. Rather than study art formally at the university level, he jumped into a program of Philosophy and Classical Literature at St. Johns College in Annapolis, where, incidentally, began to study the craft of binding books.
Wanderlust, and a long-standing desire to learn French, inspired him to drop out of college and move to Paris where he spent the year admiring everything French and reaffirming his focus on the visual arts. From there he moved to New York to seriously pursue a career as an artist, where he ended up apprenticed to the exceptional and innovative book artist Richard Minsky. The irrepressible desire to paint, draw and evolve artistically eventually led him away from bookbinding and back into more two-dimensional creations, focused on mixed media, drawing, and painting techniques. His last formal studies in art were at the Art Students League of New York.
His studio is in Buena Vista, Virginia, where he has spent most of his time since 2010, but over the years he has established studios in France, New York, Michigan, Montreal, and Philadelphia. His artwork has won many awards in juried competitions, shown in galleries across America, and has been included in numerous public and private collections around the world.