The 16th Annual Naples Invitational Art Fest opened today at 10 a.m. in Fleischmann Park to large crowds and clear, sunny skies. The 128 artists participating in this year's show treated attendees to a wide array of high-quality paintings in oil and acrylic, watercolors, drawings in graphite and pastels, art photography, blown glass, turned wood pieces, sculptures, metal works, ceramics and pottery, fiber art, hand-crafted fine art jewelry and a variety of 2D and 3D mixed media pieces.
As in years past, the art festival benefits children and adults with autism. But this year, Naples Invitational is also helping Easter Seals Florida. "That is because on February 1st, Easter Seals Florida will officially acquire Eden's programs," the program advises. Operations will continue without any break in services in the two schools, group home and adult day training center. Both organizations will work together to ensure a smooth and seamless transition for all concerned.
Eden Autism Services Florida was founded in 1996 to address the state’s growing need for specialized services for children and adults with autism and their families. Eden Autism Services Florida’s services range from comprehensive outreach, including program consultations and early intervention, to schools in Naples and Fort Myers for school age students, an organic training farm, and residential and employment services for adults.
Autism is a complex, lifelong bioneurological disorder characterized by difficulties in verbal and no-verbal communications, repetitive behaviors and social interactions. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability today, affecting 1 in 110 children (more than children diagnosed with pediatric AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined). The prevalence of autism has increased 600 percent in the past two decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.
But festival-goers came out for more than a worthy cause. In 2011, this was the #55 art festival in the entire nation according to Sunshine Artist Magazine. The art is exceptional, the variety astonishing, and everyone seems to enjoy the cozy, boutique fair atmosphere.
Naples Invitational Art Fest continues tomorrow with Fleischmann's Park opening to the public at 10 a.m. for Day 2 of the art fest, which runs until 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free, although a $5 donation is requested at the gate.
For more information, please visit http://www.edenartfest.com.