Art Festival Beth-El wasn’t the only art show pushed online in 2021 for COVID-19 precautions, but it was easily the most significant in South Pinellas.
After an in-person hiatus in 2021, the 2022 festival take place at Temple Beth-El in St. Petersburg this Sunday and Monday (Jan. 30-31).
“We’re trying to make it as safe and comfortable as possible,” said Ann Soble, a co-chairperson of the festival. “But it’s good to be back.”
Safety is Festival Beth-El’s biggest priority, Soble added.
Festival attendees must wear masks – mask monitors will check throughout the fest – and organizers expects social distancing. In addition, the art festival returns without its Saturday night cocktail party. In addition, the festival’s high school exhibit will take place solely online, and the typical vendor-heavy Avenue of Shops won’t happen this year.
Despite the changes, the outdoor sculpture garden, and the boutique and main galleries will exhibit the work of more than 130 artists.
“It’s still beautiful, prize-winning art that we hand select … the quality of the work will be the same,” Soble said. “We are thrilled that we’re able to do it.”
Seminole Heights glass artist Susan Gott has participated in the St. Petersburg festival on and off for the last 10 years.
Gott didn’t show her work online last year, but she’s happy to return.
“I think people have been pent up and looking at their four walls for the last two years,” Gott told The Gabber. “A lot of people are excited to meet the artists and see the work in person.”
Wildlife photographer and St. Petersburg resident Jeff Cobble will exhibit the largest piece he’s ever shown for the festival’s return – an 8-foot-long photograph.
His work consists of wildlife such as wild horses and screaming bald eagles, something he shoots from a tent with an 800 millimeter lens while driving to and from his Alaska gallery.
Artists like Cobble count on the return to normalcy in the art world.
“Last year was challenging,” Cobble said. “I’m glad things are going back to normal, this year should be much more enjoyable.”
Art Festival Beth-El runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 30 and Monday, Jan. 31; get more details at templebeth-el.com.