Beaux Arts Festival set for Saturday at UM

Amy Steinhour had to laugh as she and her fellow co-chairs gathered to plan this weekend’s 63rd annual Beaux Arts Festival of Art on the University of Miami campus.

“We’ve gone back and looked at old advertising and historical reviews of the event and saw some hysterical ads when it was the Clothesline Sale 63 years ago,” she said. The latest installment runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the grounds of the Lowe Art Museum on Stanford Drive.

Early Beaux Arts members at the Lowe Art Museum on campus would literally hang a clothesline across the Lowe on the grass and invite artists to come hang their works there, Steinhour said. The goal of that first Beaux Arts Festival of Art in the spring of 1952 was to offer a venue for up-and-coming artists to make their name in the community.

“The festival is iconic and has evolved tremendously over 62 years,” Steinhour said.

As such, this year’s festival will feature the works of 70 artists, like oil and acrylics from Ashley Benton, who have never showcased at Beaux Arts before. These individuals will join 230 juried fine artists who will have the opportunity to be seen by crowds that number about 15,000 over the two-day festival. The art can be purchased. “It’s interesting to see it evolve from something so homespun and simple to this big event.”

In addition, guests will get to check out the winners of the Student Artists Showcase that will feature 150 pieces from Miami-Dade middle and high school students. These works will be on display inside the Lowe. This year’s winner, revealed Tuesday at a celebration at the museum, is 10-year-old Leon Willis for his “Natalie” portrait. The AP Mays Conservatory of the Arts student is a repeat Best of Show winner. A field of five judges pored over 400 submissions from students of Miami-Dade Public Schools and private and parochial schools in the county.

“The schools are really diverse … and those kids’ experience is priceless,” Steinhour said. “They may not be the ones who play soccer every week or who swim every week but to get this recognition is a fulfilling thing we do and fits our mission to bring the arts and culture scene to families and the community.”