In search of new ways to showcase how the arts are intertwined into the fabric of life in Greater Fort Lauderdale, Andrew Martineau, co-founder of Fort Lauderdale Art & Design Week, partnered with Visit Lauderdale to brainstorm a new innovative idea: Artcation.
“[This] concept came to life as a way to help artists be inspired by immersing themselves in our local lifestyle, and it was a way to bring positive attention to the small, boutique hotels in the region that had a very tough year due to the pandemic,” notes Martineau.
In January, three artists participated in eight-day residencies, with the goal of using their experiences to inspire and guide them in creating one or more works, says Martineau. Their creations will now stay at the locations where they were hosted, including Manhattan Tower in Fort Lauderdale, Cottages by the Sea in Pompano Beach, and The Desoto Oceanview Inn in Hollywood.
Artcation’s inaugural artists were Suzanne Redmond from Royal Palm Beach, Miami-based Marco Caridad, and Renda Writer who prefers the “van life” in South Florida. They were chosen through an artist database—and for their strong social media presence—and Martineau says word spread rapidly about the residency. “We received over 30 artist inquiries from around the country and from international locations including Venezuela and Italy. Most said they wouldn’t be able to participate this year but would be interested in coming next year.”
Redmond, who stayed at The Desoto Oceanview Inn, loves to travel and really began to feel the itch to explore amid the pandemic. “I’ve been keeping my eye out for artist residencies, where artists are invited to a location to create for a short period of time because those are great, safe ways to travel and do your art,” she says. “I am from Palm Beach County, so I knew this would be easy and safe for me to do, and it would give me a week to concentrate on my painting away from my usual home life.”
During her stay, Redmond took inspiration from the property’s gardens (complete with three chicken huts) and set up in that space daily. She finished a 24-foot-by-30-foot painting in addition to two smaller works. The Desoto’s various cacti and ixora are depicted as well as other flowers she dreamt up.
For next year’s Fort Lauderdale Art & Design Week, the organization plans to evaluate artists who would be interested in providing scheduled workshop experiences for guests during their residency, which will help the hotels attract those interested in creating art themselves as well as seeing the many exhibits taking place that week. “The ability to interact daily with an artist-in-residence at one of our small, charming boutique properties is a fun way for visitors to immerse themselves in Fort Lauderdale Art & Design Week,” says Stacy Ritter, president and CEO of Visit Lauderdale. “It’s a unique experience they won’t find anywhere else.”