The longest-running indoor fine art and craft show in Florida returns Dec. 6, 7 and 8 to Robarts Arena in Sarasota. Now in its 11th year, Art & Design Show Sarasota features work in decorative fiber, wearable art, leather, jewelry, glass, ceramics, wood, painting and sculpture by more than 80 of the nation’s top artists.
The Art & Design Show Sarasota is produced by Richard Rothbard and his wife Joanna Rothbard, who are hailed as leaders in promoting artists and artisans working in the contemporary fine arts and crafts industry. The Rothbards produce some of the most innovative fine craft shows in the country, including the Berkshires Arts Festival, the Art & Design & Fashion Fair at the Nassau County Museum of Art, and the Red Bank Art Festival in New Jersey.
Starting this year, admission is free to the public. This popular show charged admission in previous years. Why eliminate the entry fee now? Rothbard explains the thinking behind this change.
“This show emerged in an era of robust appreciation for fine art, inventive crafts and inspiring design,” he says. “Clients who valued top quality work had no problem with a modest entrance fee. While their art appreciation hasn’t gone away, we now face competition from pop-up outdoor shows. The art world has changed, and we changed with it.”
The Art & Design Show Sarasota may have changed its entrance policy but the commitment behind it remains the same.
“We love bringing artists and art connoisseurs together,” says Rothbard. “Our artists count on Sarasota’s discriminating art market. Our show brings in some of the nation’s and the region’s best artists, and the Sarasota’s arts community knows it. They look forward to this show every year. It’s like a family reunion for creators and the people who value their work—a true meeting of the minds.”
Rothbard adds that an air-conditioned, indoor venue with unlimited free parking is the civilized way to go. “Outdoor art fairs can be crowded and brutally hot,” he says. “Our indoor ambiance is more like a welcoming oasis. It’s cool on every level!”
According to Rothbard, it’s also far more personal.
“You can take your time and have real conversation with the artists about their work,” he says. “And Mother Nature won’t ruin that conversation if she gets in a bad mood, thanks to the air-conditioned environment. The sun’s not beating down on you—or hiding behind clouds. Artists can literally show their work in the best light.”
Last year’s three-day show attracted more than 4,000 visitors. Continuing to build on that success, Rothbard and his team have been busy with their rigorous process of selecting the 80+ artists and artisans for the 2019 show.
“We are always excited to see the high caliber of work being produced by the participating artists from this area," says Rothbard.
The Art & Design Show Sarasota, formerly the Sarasota Craft Show, returns to Sarasota, December 6, 7 and 8 at Robarts Arena, 3000 Ringling Blvd., in Sarasota. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6,
and Saturday, Dec. 7, and 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8. For more information about Art & Design Show Sarasota, call 845-661-1221 or visit www.artanddesignshowsarasota.com.