The 4th Annual Mercato Fine Art Festival opened today, and in spite of a brisk north wind and threatening skies, huge crowds jammed the artists tents that lined Strada Way. Day 2 gets under way tomorrow at 10 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m.
The Mercato is a high-end shopping center that also offers luxury condominium living. Located at the corner of U.S. 41 and Vanderbilt Beach Road in North Naples, it is centrally located between downtown Naples and Fort Myers.
“The Mercato is always open to holding special events, especially events that involve the community and nonprofits,” says Dougall McCorkle, senior vice president of the Lutgert Cos., the center’s developer. “Our merchants also love to have shows — art shows, car shows, wine tastings” and to encourage attendance, many of them offer discounts and specials for guests displaying their festival sticker.
This is the Naples Art Association’s newest festival, and although it was only in its third year and was abbreviated last year due to heavy rain and high winds on Sunday, Sunshine Artist Magazine still ranked it as the #73 art festival in the country in 2012. The festival is juried, and it showcases works in all media by 100 artists from across the country.
The festival also includes live entertainment. Patchouli performed today and on Sunday, Bob Zottola and the Expandable Jazz Band will take the stage from noon to 3 p.m.
The Mercato Fine Arts Festival is made possible through the sponsorship and generous support of The News-Press Media Group, Gulfshore Life, WAVV 101.1 FM, Naples Daily News, Russell's Clambakes, Florida Weekly, Lite 93.7 and Costco Naples. It is one of five major art festivals organized each season by the Naples Naples Art Association. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1954 by local artists, its mission is to educate and promote visual arts in Southwest Florida. Through its programs, the Naples Art Association is dedicated to serving individual artists of all ages and skill levels, along their creative journeys.
The NAA operates The von Liebig Art Center, located at 585 Park Street in downtown Naples. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays in season. For more information, please call 239-262-6517 or visit http://naplesart.org and http://www.naplesart.org/content/mercato-fine-arts-festival-1.