Bigger than Basel?

The organizers of the annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival, now in its 45th year, boast their event is a bigger draw for locals than Art Basel Miami Beach. After all, the weekend-long event -- beginning today -- draws four times the crowds of Basel. This year the sprawling exhibit will feature the work of 330 artists and craftsmen along a strip of South Bayshore Drive that extends more than a mile. And unlike the hoity-toity event that steals all the headlines, the Grove festival actually offers paintings, photography, sculpture, jewelry, metalwork, and other one-of-a-kind treasures you can actually afford.

This year’s edition includes Laura Matson’s delicate spun-fiber ponchos, Angelo Fico’s jewel-like glass vases, and Russell Fullone’s whimsical wood-carved antique roadsters. And although organizers can’t claim an Andy Warhol in the bunch, they will trot out local show pony Romero Britto for their affair. Nosh on tasty arepas, soft pretzels, and ice cream at the Global Food Village, or treat the tykes to the Kids’ Creative Corner, where they can unleash their hidden talents while you take in a jazz concert or a dance show. The fest is open daily from 9 to 6 through Monday, February 18. Tickets cost $5. Visit
Feb. 16-18, 2008


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