ArtWorks draws the best in artists, attracts large crowds


Melbourne Beach jewelry artist Peggy Miller prefers ArtWorks among the 25 art festivals in which she participates each year.

Viera Voice photo

Peggy Miller knows her way around art festivals because she has been doing the rounds of these venues for 41 years. For 20 of those, she has made certain to pencil in ArtWorks in the Eau Gallie Arts District of Melbourne.

“It’s very educational, and I like the quality of the work that is exhibited,” said the Melbourne Beach jewelry maker.

Even though she says she has cut back in doing art shows, Miller still participates in 25 art festivals a year across seven states. ArtWorks remains a favorite year in, year out.

“Everybody is demonstrating their work and the people who attend are very interested and take the time for a second look,” she said.

In most outdoor art shows, most artists just display their works. With ArtWorks, on the other hand, every exhibitor is expected to engage in making art in their chosen medium.

Demonstrations set ArtWorks apart from other local shows. Artists fashion new art in front of the public’s eyes, giving visitors a rare look at the creative process.

This year, ArtWorks takes over Eau Gallie from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 23 and 24. The festival annually draws approximately 20,000 visitors eager to see the works of the close to 100 artists who participate.

ArtWorks owes its life to the late Link Johnsten, the owner of Eau Gallie Florist. When two decades ago Johnsten was invited to create floral arrangements for the Academy Awards in California, he took time off to visit artsy Santa Monica, where he discovered a working artist festival he believed would be perfect for Brevard.

Children also are invited to get creative, thanks to hands-on art activities hosted by the Renee Foosaner Education Center of the Foosaner Art Museum.

The 2019 ArtWorks should prove better than ever since this year the show also includes the cultural showcase that traditionally takes place at the King Center. Renovations sidelined the venue from hosting the event this year, but the King Center’s loss is Artworks' gain, as performing artists add their talent to the weekend of visual arts.

“It’s a really nice community show that is not overdone,” Miller said.

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