On the subtropical island that has nurtured creative spirits dating back to John James Audubon, aficionados of artistry can discover offerings by more than 80 national and regional exhibitors Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 27-28.
The Key West Craft Show, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, is to transform the island’s historic lower Whitehead Street into a lively open-air marketplace. Now in its 33rd year, the event is presented by the Key West Art Center, a nonprofit cooperative organization for local artists established in 1960.
Artisan booths are to stand beneath Whitehead Street’s canopy of trees, adjacent to attractions and museums including the Audubon House and Tropical Gardens. The gracious property recalls the famed naturalist and artist’s early 1830s sojourn in Key West.
Show participants also are to offer their artistry just inside the Whitehead and Caroline streets entrance to Truman Annex, named for the former U.S. president who spent numerous working vacations in the island city.
Attendees can choose from glass and fabric pieces, jewelry, pottery, woodcrafts and more. Some items traditionally are inspired by or are unique to Key West.
Participants are selected according to a rigorous juried process, and all craft offerings must be original and handmade by the exhibitor. Many return year after year to display their works while enjoying Key West’s typically balmy January weather.
The show has grown from a local gathering to a nationally recognized event that attracts some 25,000 attendees each year. Organizers’ commitment to quality has earned it widespread critical acclaim including a consistent spot on Sunshine Artist Magazine’s roster of leading American shows.
The craft show is free to attend. Proceeds support the Key West Art Center’s programs and help maintain the historic 301 Front St. building that houses its gallery.