Marika Lynch fondly remembers spending time at the annual Beaux Arts Festival as a child.
“My mom used to bring me there to do arts projects while she shopped,” she said. “It was always fun. I remember attending the art festival with my mother and actually volunteering with her.”
This year, the annual Beaux Arts Festival of Art will celebrate its 62nd year. It will take place Saturday and Sunday at the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus.
For many families, the annual January arts festival, which features hundreds of local and out-of-town artists, has remained a tradition.
Now 39, Lynch has been a member of the Beaux Arts organization for four years.
“My mom encouraged me to get involved,” she said.
Her mother, Mary Lynch, still volunteers with the organization. This year, Mary will be working as a greeter.
Marika, who currently resides in neighboring Pinecrest, will also bring along her own children – her 5-year-old twin boys and 3-year-old son.
“The first place we ever took our twins when they were born was to the Beaux Arts Festival,” Marika said. “It was the first time they left the house. We’ve taken them every year since and they’ll remember it when they grow up.”
Catie Woods, 35, currently serves as the public relations and outreach chair for the organization. She, too, became involved due to her mother’s ties to the tradition.
“She felt strongly about it and passed it on to me,” Woods said. “It’s fun because there are a lot of generations involved in Beaux Arts.”
Her mother, Sarah Woods, who is now in her 60s and joined the organization in 1979, will also be volunteering at the event this year.
The first Beaux Arts Festival of Art took place during the spring of 1952. Originally, the festival was called the “Clothesline Sale.” Artwork was hung on a clothesline, and the goal of the event was to provide a venue for young artists to meet members of the community.
“It’s so neat that this group of women got together especially in that day and age … and raised money for the arts,” said festival Co-Chair Becky McCarron.
Today, volunteers still run the festival. The Beaux Arts organization has 100 active members and 300 associate members. Proceeds collected from the festival will benefit the organization’s several arts programs for children, including “Hands On!”
Once a month, the “Hands On!” program takes third- and fourth-graders, generally from public schools with many low-income children, on a field trip to UM’s Lowe Art Museum. Lunch and transportation is paid for by the organization.
“Children often don’t get to go to the museums so we offer a field trip for them,” said Beaux Arts President Abby Zanarini. “A lot of the arts have been taken away from children … we provide that missing link to kids through our arts program.”
Proceeds also benefit the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami and help assist it with programming, acquisitions, improvements and capital campaigns.
Artists can apply to have their artwork displayed in their own booths. Then, a panel of judges selects the artists. This year, 230 artists from 30 states and around the globe will participate.
Lynne Libby, a pastel artist originally from Sea Girt, N.J., will be participating in the festival this year. She has frequented several Beaux Arts Festivals throughout the past 10 years.
Libby, who has participated in several festivals across the nation and the world, says the Beaux Arts Festival is probably one of her favorite shows.
“The committee is very nice and very helpful. The location is beautiful. It’s a convenient place to be,” she said. “It’s a popular show for people who like my artwork.”
Libby, 72, resides in Key Biscayne. As an artist, she has refined her subject matter strictly to sky and water. With her pastels, she illustrates the soft colors of natures on the canvas.
She will take approximately 20 pieces to the festival. Her pieces’ prices range from $350 to $3,000.
In addition to the 230 artists at their booths, the Lowe Art Museum will display artwork by Miami-Dade middle and high school students.
At the festival, children will also have the opportunity to engage in watercolor painting projects.
“I know my kids will love being there,” Marika Lynch said of her 5-year-old twins and 3-year-old son.
“The festival is one of those things in south Florida that people have an emotional attachment to…they probably remember going there as a kid, or as a student at UM…they remember going on a beautiful January morning to see beautiful art,” she said. “This is a South Florida tradition that people have at various points in their lives and people just love and go back again and again.”