An inaugural Art Festival held at the Cape Coral Art League on Saturday and Sunday attracted a large crowd, making it a huge success.
Twenty-seven artists participated in the first show, showcasing mixed media, oils and acrylic paintings, pottery, jewelry, photography, three-dimensional artwork and wood carving.
Sue Nelke said Saturday they had more than 500 people come through the doors at the Cape Coral Art League to check out their first-time event.
"We were thrilled," she said. "We had a great turnout and the artists are selling."
Sunday morning also brought in a steady flow of individuals, Nelke explained about the crowd a couple of hours after the doors opened. She said she hoped more people will come out after church let out.
The festival also attracted new members for the Cape Coral Art League, along with new people interested in taking some of their classes.
"It has been a lot of fun," Nelke said. She began painting realistic paintings a few years ago before she fell in love with using acrylics and mixed media for her abstract paintings.
Wood carver Lynne Kemper had a table set up during the festival to showcase her feather and bird carving. She explained that she was first introduced to the craft by her father-in-law Claude Kemper about four or five years ago.
The wood that Kemper uses for her birds is carved from basswood and mounted on driftwood from West Virginia lakes and tupelo or basswood is used for her feathers.
It typically takes her anywhere between 40 to 60 hours to finish a wood carving of a feather due to the carving and painting that is done. When she carves a bird it takes her two months to complete.
"I like to do realistic work, so I like to take my time," Kemper said about the endangered or at risk birds she enjoys carving.
It's about "finding the bird inside of the wood," she explained.
Maxine Fischer decided to attend the art festival after her husband read about it in the paper. She said she really enjoyed walking around and looking at all the paintings.
Fischer said she wished she had some wall space at home because she had "some favorites" that she saw. She enjoys going to art shows in different states because she has the chance to see paintings of what the local landscapes look like.
Marylyn Tingley also decided to check out the art festival after seeing an ad in the paper about the event. She decided to make a stop after she saw that the Art League's doors were open on the way home from church.
"I wanted to stop by before I go home," she said so she could see what the Art League has to offer. "I had curiosity to see what it is all about."
Tingley was on a mission Sunday in search of finding new tropical paintings to replace some that are hanging on her wall at home.
The Art Festival also offered activities for children free of charge on Saturday and Sunday. Christy Ward said she had about 25 children visit the various stations they had set up to make bookmarks, Valentine's Day cards, pop-up cards, collages, drawings and paintings.
"I love being with kids because they are so open to things and aren't afraid to try new things," Ward said.
She said by offering the free activities for the children, the Art League was hoping to attract some new students to their Thursday and Friday classes, so the program can grow. The classes are $10 per class and are held for 7-10 year olds. For more information call (239) 772-5657.
The two-day event featured entertainment, free classes for adults and children, food from Gramp's Italian Kitchen, a bake sale, art demonstrations and door prize giveaways every half hour.
The Cape Coral Art League is at 516 Cultural Park Blvd. For more information visit www.capecoralartleague.org