Annual Art Fest On The Green Returns Jan. 30-31

The Wellington Art Society will host Art Fest on the Green, its 10th annual juried fine art and fine craft show, on Saturday, Jan. 30 and Sunday, Jan. 31 at the Wellington Amphitheater.

Aside from amazing artwork, the free event will feature food, live music, a youth art area and more.

“It’s so exciting. I can’t believe so much time has passed since the first one. It seems like yesterday,” said Sandy Axelrod, president of the Wellington Art Society and co-chair of the festival.

Show hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The event grew out of humble beginnings. It all began 11 years ago. The group used to hold its meetings at the First Baptist Church of Wellington, which then had pine trees covering its open field.

“It was really nice, and I always thought it would be a great spot for an art show. That’s how it got started,” co-chair Adrianne Hetherington said. “That was our first location for the show, and it was called Fall Fling: Art Under the Pines. We had to skip one year, but this is 10 years that we’ve held our event.”

Originally the show was only for members of the Wellington Art Society to provide show experience and an opportunity to display member artwork. What started in two tents has since grown exponentially, and outside artists are now included.

The show is now put on at the Wellington Amphitheater (12100 W. Forest Hill Blvd.). During the first few years, a hundred or so people would attend, co-chair Leslie Pfeiffer said. Now, they have about 1,000 attendees daily.

“It has turned into a really nice event,” Pfeiffer said. “We have artists coming from all over the country — from Georgia, even Wisconsin and Maine. It has turned into a really big event here in Wellington.”

The show was originally Hetherington’s idea, and she is amazed at how the exhibition has grown and evolved.

This year, the Wellington Art Society is able to accommodate 50 artists, covering a variety of specialties, including drawing, mixed media, fiber, jewelry, glass, wood, photography, leather, sculpture, ceramic, copper, pottery, acrylic and watercolor.

“It’s all original artwork,” Pfeiffer said. “Artists are chosen for their creativity, mastery of techniques and level of excellence.”

Artists coming from all over the nation join local ones for the show. Seven awards will be given out Saturday around noon, Pfeiffer said, with a total prize amount of $2,000. Best in show, first, second and third place, and three honorable mention winners will receive ribbons.

Ted Matz, a Lake Worth artist, will be judging Art Fest on the Green. Matz, a contemporary realist and plein air painter, is chairman of painting and drawing at the Lighthouse Art Center Museum & School of Art in Tequesta.

While guests peruse the booths, the Green Market at Wellington is close by on Saturday. There will be food trucks, and the Bootz Cultural Arts Center will be providing children’s art activities.

Thomas Fletcher will give a portraiture demonstration on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. On Sunday, Lori Shankman will provide a one-stroke painting demonstration from noon to 2 p.m. Local musician Bobby G will take to the stage during the show as well. No matter the weather, the show will go on, rain or shine.

“There’s really something for everybody, from oil painting to photographs to watercolors, jewelry, woodworking… the list goes on and on,” Axelrod said.

Proceeds from the show go toward the Wellington Art Society’s scholarship fund, which provides grants to high school students for college or summer camps, based upon artistic merit. Last year, the group gave out five $1,000 scholarships, and it hopes to increase that number in the future. The program has been in existence since 2006, helping young artists grow.

The show, with Pfeiffer, Hetherington, Axelrod and Faye Ford as the organizers, provides an opportunity for art to bring the community together and provide experience for numerous artists.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to do it again, to grow it, to offer the opportunity to our members,” Pfeiffer said. “We have developing and emerging artists, as well as professional artists.”

For those in the group who haven’t participated in a show before, Art Fest is a great introductory experience.

“We have had artists who, after having done Art Fest, have moved on to the success of being professional artists,” Pfeiffer said. “We’re all about artist development and serving the community.”

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