Jewelry from a Ukrainian Christmas Bazaar in North Port, Florida
Art Show Season - 2017
Art Show Season - 2017
Art Show Season - 2017
Art Show Season - 2017
Art Show Season - 2017
Art Show Season - 2017

Art Makes a Great Gift

This is the season for arts and craft shows, so bring your shopping lists and stock up during the holiday season!

During this time of year it seems like every weekend there’s an art or craft show on the calendar, each offering something a little different. Some are purely fine art, others are more ‘crafty’, and some are a blend of the two. They may showcase artists from the Sarasota area, or may include artists who traverse the country, following the weather to show their work. For us, they’re a great opportunity to experience many talents. 

These shows are especially great if you’re looking for a gift for someone special. You’ll find small items like hand-crafted pens, stained glass sun catchers and handmade clay vases, or large original paintings, bronze sculptures and metal works. You’re even likely to find something for yourself! 

I’m a seasoned art show-goer, as well as, a seasoned exhibitor, since I’m married to an artist and we have participated in many shows. Here are just a few tips I’ve picked up along the way:

  1. If a map is available, see how the show is organized so you don’t miss a beat, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for tents around corners or off-the-beaten-path. The artist will be happy you found them!
  2. Before you go, check online for information about amenities, handicap access, restrooms, food (some have on-site vendors, others are near restaurants that welcome patrons), etc.
  3. Start early! Crowds are commonplace at these shows, but if you enjoy browsing at your leisure, being able to actually see the work hanging on walls, or minimizing the frequency of bumping into fellow art-lovers, going early is for you.
  4. Buying art at a show offers the chance to meet the artist. You’re not just picking it off a wall at a gallery or a store then taking it home. Nope, you have the opportunity to meet the person who created it, so take full advantage! Most artists love to tell you about their work and what inspires them, providing so much more perspective than what you’ll find on a tiny card on the wall.
  5. There are many inspiring things to see at shows, and it’s tempting to pull out a phone or camera to photograph something to share later. But, most artists are sensitive to their work being photographed (which, in a worst case scenario, can be reproduced or shared without their permission), so be sure to ask beforehand. Some artists are open to it, and some even like it when you photograph them alongside the work — then you’ve got an even better shot to share!

Here are some upcoming shows that are perfect venues for holiday shopping:

12/1 - 12/3 Sarasota Craft Show, Robarts Arena, Sarasota
A fine art show of ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed-media, paper, wearable art, wood, painting, photography and sculpture.

12/8 - 12/9 Parish Christmas Bazaar, Ukrainian Catholic Church, Nort Port
Browse authentic crafts and art in the St. Mary's Ukrianian Catholic Church in North Port, Florida. This two-day bazaar also includes traditional Ukrianian food and performances.

12/2 - 12/3 Siesta Beach Seafood and Music Fest, Siesta Key
This is the 2nd annual event featuring sustainable seafood, local and regional musicians, and an outdoor marketplace of arts and crafts.

12/2 - 12/3 Englewood Winter Fine Arts Fest, Englewood
Presented by the Old Englewood Village Association, it features art and crafts; also an opportunity to explore Dearborn Street restaurants and shops.

12/9 - 12/10 Lido Beach Holiday of the Arts, Lido Key
Hosted by the Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association, 2017 is the 1st year of this event featuring fine artists from Florida and the U.S. Painting, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, photography, mixed-media, fiber art and more.

12/9 - 12/10 Atomic Holiday Bazaar, Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, Sarasota
If you love Indie crafts and funky stuff, you must visit this unique show. Artisans offer handmade clothing, cottage industry food, jewelry, art and collectibles.

12/16 Holiday Craft Show, Englewood
A great place to wrap up holiday shopping; proceeds benefit Sky Academy.

12/16 - 12/17 Christmas Arts & Crafts Show, Elks Lodge 2378, Englewood
Arts, crafts and food. Saturday 10-5, Sunday, 10-4. 


Nicole Coudal is a home chef and food writer based in southwest Florida, where she fishes and cooks using local ingredients. When not on the water, she visits farms, farmer’s markets, and other food-related venues to highlight what’s in-season and to create tasty recipes. Read more at

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