Naples Art Association makes the most of November 2012 – a photo recap

From the first Art in the Park of the 56th season (First Saturdays through April – mark your calendar!) to the kick off of a brand new series of make-and-take art projects, plus community events, new exhibitions and the Naples Fall Fine Art and Craft Festival on Thanksgiving weekend, there was something going on at every turn hosted by the Naples Art Association. Here’s a gallery of selected photos taken throughout the month. Special photo credits for some images go to Avant Garde Images and Debi Pittman Wilkey.

To see even more great photos, visit the Naples Art Association Facebook page. Like us!

Naples Fall Fine Art & Craft Festival features 100 professional artists

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Naples Fall Fine Art and Craft Festival brings shoppers and artists together for one of the season’s first chances to see the latest new art work. Attendees can kick off the holiday shopping season by browsing hand-made, one-of-a-kind work from 100 artists from around the country. Shoppers will enjoy finding unique gifts for everyone on their list on Thanksgiving Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Nov.  24-25, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The Naples Fall Fine Art & Craft Festival is the first of five, two-day outdoor art festivals presented by the Naples Art Association. This festival serves as a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization, which operates The von Liebig Art Center, supports individual artists and helps provide educational programs for the community. To support the Naples Art Association’s ongoing, community-supporting arts programming, a $5 requested donation is accepted at the festival entrance.

Featuring about 100 artists in all media – something for every taste and budget – this Thanksgiving weekend event provides an outdoor occasion the whole family can enjoy. “This is a wonderful opportunity for residents to bring their guests, shop unique small business owners, and purchase hand crafted gifts while enjoying the beautiful weather in Paradise,” said Executive Director Aimee Schlehr.

Many of the artists in this holiday show are from Florida, because festival season is just getting underway in Naples, but there are talented artists participating from all across the US including Oregon, NY, Tennessee, Indiana, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

For those supporting the Shop Small Business Saturday cause, the Naples Fall Fine Art & Craft Festival encourages the public to consider a purchase from an independent professional fine artist like those who show their work in juried festivals. As small business owners, they may be overlooked amid clamor for big box store sales, but their unique and creative wares make great gifts that aren’t available anywhere else.

Festival attendees may choose to support the less fortunate this holiday season. The United States Marine Corps Reserve will be collecting donations for Toys for Tots at the festival. Anyone who brings a new, unwrapped toy to donate will be entered into a drawing for fantastic prizes.

For the convenience of shoppers, there is free parking close by off Goodlette Frank Road.

This show is generously sponsored by Costco, Naples Daily News, Lite 93.7, Southwest Florida Happenings Arts and Entertainment Magazine and  WAVV 101.1.

The Naples Art Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, founded in 1954 by local artists. Its mission is to educate and promote visual arts in Southwest Florida. Through its programs, the Naples Art Association is dedicated to serving individual artists of all ages and skill levels, along their creative journeys.  The von Liebig Art Center is located at 585 Park Street in downtown Naples and is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays in season. For more information, please call 239-262-6517, visit, like us on Facebook at or follow Twitter at

Naples Art Association Festivals Achieve National Rank

Crowd at Naples National 2012 image by Debi Pitman Wilkey

Crowds of art collectors flood the streets at the #9 ranked Naples National Art Festival in 2012. Image by Debi Pitman Wilkey

Four out of five Naples Art Association fine art festivals are ranked by Sunshine Artist Magazine’s 100 Best Fine Art and Design Shows of 2011. Rankings are derived from magazine subscriber artist ballots which ask artists to rank their top 10 festivals by sales. Nearly 1,000 art shows were submitted.

The association’s top ranking festival is the Naples National Art Festival. This festival was ranked #9 for 2011 and has earned a place on the top 10 list dating back to 2007. This annual festival serves as the association’s largest fundraiser. The 34th Annual Naples National Art Festival is scheduled for Feb. 23-24, 2013 in Cambier Park and along 8th Street in Naples.

Executive Director Aimee Schlehr notes that festival artists are both creative individuals and small business owners. She says this duality helps artists and arts organizations succeed. “Naples Art Association festivals offer the community a great way to discover new artists, but they are also fundraisers for us aligned with our vision of supporting individual artists of all levels to further their creative goals,” Schlehr said. Drawing crowds in the tens of thousands, NAA festivals are strongly supported by the community. They aim to put on events that exceed the expectations of fine art collectors and energize the attendees viewing art of all varieties.

By organizing successful festivals, the Naples Art Association raises money in a creative way: by offering individual artists another opportunity to further their business. “While many artists today have websites where people can view and buy their work, festivals provide these artists a storefront where customers can ask them about their work and see the detail up close,” said Marianne Megela, Festivals Director for the Naples Art Association. “This often makes the difference between someone admiring their work and making a purchase.”

The association’s two festivals held along 5th Avenue South in Naples, The Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts, and the Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair, were ranked #21 (rising three ranks from 2010) and #63 respectively. These events are scheduled for Mar. 23-24, 2013 and Jan. 5-6, 2013 and will showcase approximately 250 national artists.

The Mercato Fine Arts Festival, which is the association’s newest art fair, earned a ranking of #73 (rising two ranks from 2010). The 5th Annual Mercato Fine Arts Festival is scheduled for Mar. 2-3, 2013 at the Mercato Lifestyle Center in North Naples.

Although the association’s smallest and first festival of the season did not make the Sunshine Artist Magazine top 100 list, the Naples Fall Fine Art and Craft Festival draws about 100 artists from around the country. Now in its 9th year, this festival is an excellent kick-off to the holiday shopping season. Nestled along 10th Street South in Naples near The Depot, this event is scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 23-24, 2012.

All five festivals serve as fundraisers that help support creative community programming of the Naples Art Association, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.