2018 Orange Beach Art FestivalJanuary 15, 2018 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) - The 44th Annual Orange Beach Festival of Art, set for March 10-11, is making waves in the arts and crafts world after being named by Sunshine Artist Magazine as one of "11 Must-Attend Shows for Artists and Craftspeople" in 2018.

In the magazine’s January 2018 issue, the Orange Beach Festival of Art is the first show highlighted on the “2018 Contenders” list. The event is hosted each March on the grounds of Waterfront Park and the adjacent Coastal Arts Center on picturesque Wolf Bay.

Explaining “Why It’s Worth a Look,” writer Stephanie Hintz said, “While the festival showcases only a little over 100 artists, the variety and size of the event is perfect for attracting buyers to this small city (population 5,682). This festival is free to attend.”

According to a Sunshine Artist "FastAudit" of artists who participated in the 2017 festival, respondents gave the show “an average sales score of 7.3 (on a 10-point scale), and they praised the attention to detail and the remarkable level of attention doled out by the management team.”

Festival organizer Desiree Blackwell, who is the director of the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach, said she was honored and thrilled the Festival of Art made the “2018 Contenders” list, which is the magazine’s recommendation for must-see shows in the country.  

“These are generally shows that did not make Sunshine Artist’s ‘Top 200 Best’ list in 2017, but are still worthy of attention,” Blackwell said. “Eleven shows were chosen and we are the only one for Alabama.  We may not ever make the Top 200 because we are a small show and artist revenues carries weight in determining the list, but the wonderful thing is Sunshine thought enough of us to feature us twice last year in their State Reports and now included us in their Contenders list!”

“Every bit of this praise is due to the efforts of many people from years past and the dedicated work from the 15-person steering committee that continues to bring the show to fruition each year,” Blackwell added. “What makes our job easier is that we are blessed with resources from a city whose leadership truly appreciates the arts.  I am so proud to be a part of this festival.”

Orange Beach City Administrator Ken Grimes Jr. said attention to detail, the incredible waterfront venue and the on-site glass and clay studios make for key components of the Orange Beach Festival of Art each spring.

“As we have fine tuned our festival and continue to improve the site, we know that this festival kicks off the season and most fine artists usually have the best works and products from a long winter of creating art,” Grimes said.

Other shows to make the “2018 Contenders” list include Alpine ArtAffair in Winter Park, Colorado, July 14-15; Art Fest Naples in Naples, Florida, Jan. 20-21; 16th Annual Hobe Sound Festival of the Arts in Hobe Sound, Florida, Feb. 3-4; 52nd Annual DeLand Outdoor Arts and Crafts Festival in DeLand, Florida, March 24-25; Lido Beach Fine Art Festival in Lido Beach, Florida, Feb. 17-18; Dunwoody Art Festival in Dunwoody, Georgia, May 12-13; Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff in St. Joseph, Michigan, July 14-15; Easton Art Affair in Columbus, Ohio, June 22-24; Art in the Wilds in Kane, Pennsylvania, June 23-24; Denton Arts & Jazz Festival in Denton, Texas, April 27-29.

The Orange Beach Festival of Art returns Saturday, March 10 and Sunday, March 11. It is a celebration of visual, performing, musical and culinary arts.  With more than 100 artists working in an variety of medias, festival-goers always have plenty to see, hear, touch, taste and experience.

This fine arts festival is completely free with music and entertainment featured on two stages. The 2018 concert lineup will include Coconut Radio, Lisa Zanghi, Roman Street, Three Bean Soup, Strickly Isbell and The Allstar Band. Satellite public parking is available with the shuttle provided by Baldwin County for a $5 daily rate.

The new 10,000-square-foot Coastal Arts Center and gallery opened in September. The center is at 26389 Canal Road.

For more information, call 251-981-ARTS (2787) or visit www.orangebeachartsfestival.com.