Stroll through downtown Fort Myers and enjoy the unique works of art, warm weather, glimpses of the Caloosahatchee River, Fort Myers waterfront, and meet artists from around the world. ArtFest Fort Myers began in 2001 and it’s one of the largest and most beloved art festivals in the country. Professional artists from nearly all 50 states showcase their work in the downtown River District, where the streets are blocked off, and the whole event feels like a block party in the winter. There will also be a sidewalk chalk-art competition, art demonstrations, children’s craft area and children’s art activities, high school art competition, and high-end food court. Attendees may also purchase the works they see.

ArtFest Fort Myers takes place over three days this year on the last day of January and during the first couple days of February. More than 200 artists display their works. There are also performance stages and food vendors. It’s a fun event you can bring the entire family to. The festival uses its proceeds to promote the arts in local schools. ArtFest Fort Myers isn’t limited to one age group either. There is a high school art competition and children are invited to make their own masterpieces in the Art Yard. 

While ArtFest Fort Myers is a juried fine art festival, it’s also a great opportunity to purchase new pieces for your home or maybe as a gift for the art lover in your life. If you’re looking for a variety, this is where you’ll find it!

ArtFest Fort Myers Dates:

  • Opening Night: 6 to 9 p.m., Jan. 31
  • Day 1: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Feb. 1
  • Day 2: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Feb. 2

ArtFest Fort Myers Opening Night

ArtFest Fort Myers Opening Night

VIP tickets for opening night are available. There will be 65 artists at the event for you to meet and get to know. One section of the art show will also be open from 5 to 9 p.m., so you can be one of the first to experience the artists’ creations. 

Planning ArtFest Fort Myers

A lot goes into planning the event. In fact, it takes a year to organize it. A three-person committee is responsible for looking over the previous year’s event to help get ready for the next one. A local TV news station says that beginning in March, the team holds 25 meetings to discuss how the three-day festival went. The committee starts choosing artists in May. 

Out of 900 applications, only about 200 are accepted. From ceramics, glasswork, clothing, to jewelry, there will be all types of mediums at ArtFest Fort Myers. The jurors are an assorted group of experienced art professionals selected for their backgrounds and appreciation of the value of art festivals. Each year, members vary and the panel often includes a festival artist. The jurors also do not know the names of the artists or anything else about them.

Planning ArtFest Fort Myers

What is Publix Run to the Arts?

The Publix Run to the Arts is a 5k set in the beautiful backdrop of the Caloosahatchee River. There are post-race events, too. Attendees will receive breakfast, race awards, a chance to make art at the Silk Experience and door prizes. There will also be live music. Be sure to register at by Dec. 30 so you can make sure you get the T-shirt size you want! Children 12 and older can participate in the race and runners under 16 must have an adult with them.

The course starts and ends at the corner of Bay Street and Monroe Street, in front of the Harborside Event Center. The race’s route goes from Bay Street to Lee Street, over the Caloosahatchee Bridge and back over the same course.

Stay in Fort Myers with Royal Shell

We have a variety of vacation rental homes in Fort Myers, including along the McGregor Boulevard corridor. This desired location also isn’t far from the downtown Fort Myers historic district. Whether you’re vacationing with your significant other, a small group of friends or the entire family, we have homes that accommodate every type of vacation.