Art Basel in Broward? Fort Lauderdale Art and Design Week kicks off in January

Now that Art Basel week and its unrelenting crush of tourists have left, Fort Lauderdale is touting an art week of its own this January.

Fort Lauderdale Art and Design Week, as this contemporary-art bonanza is being billed, will bring a weeklong slate of art studio tours, dining events, gallery openings and parties to the area Jan. 19-27. It will be anchored by the third edition of Art Fort Lauderdale, a growing art fair setting sail along Fort Lauderdale’s New River Jan. 24-Jan. 27.

This contemporary-art week, as longtime Fort Lauderdale residents may recall, is a long time coming. Each December, collectors pass over the city on their way to Miami Art Week, even though neighborhoods such as Flagler Village and Sistrunk have seen an arty renaissance in recent months, flourishing with art walks, new cafes and breweries.

Here’s a primer on Fort Lauderdale Art and Design Week’s marquee events coming in January.

Art and Dine Lauderdale (Jan. 19-27): Not to be confused with Crave GFL, Broward’s fall restaurant promotion, this dining discount gives visitors a chance to taste top-tier dishes for less at Fort Lauderdale’s pricier restaurants. The lineup of restaurants are still being finalized ), but certain three-course dinners (appetizer, entrée, dessert) will cost $45 plus tax and tip, while lunch/brunch costs $35.

Sistrunk-A-Fair (Jan. 20-26): It’s no secret that Sistrunk Boulevard, the main drag running through Fort Lauderdale’s historically African-American community, is in the midst of a cultural renaissance. A chef-driven food hall and brewery will rise in early 2019 where Sistrunk meets the FEC tracks. Miguel Pilgram, who won a $52 million lotto jackpot in 2010, is also investing millions into Sistrunk, with plans to open a jazz and blues lounge, NYSW Memphis Blues Spot, and a new restaurant. The Sistrunk-A-Fair, presented by Art N Soul, will showcase art, films and performances from local artists living in Broward’s black communities at the African-American Research Library (2650 Sistrunk Blvd.). The centerpiece of the fair is “We Love Art Too,” featuring works by 25 artists at the library.

Fort Lauderdale Architecture Fair (Jan. 22-25): Much of the action will be concentrated along beachy A1A, and visitors can explore how South Florida architects are preparing cities for the scourge of sea-level rise. A happy-hour ceremony will kick off the fair at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 at Florida Atlantic University School of Architecture's downtown MetroLAB (220 SE Second Ave.) There will also be workshops, films and architectural walking tours at to-be-announced locations.

Art Fort Lauderdale (Jan. 24-27): Billed as an “art fair on the water,” this nautical event uses the city’s Water Taxis to ferry fairgoers to several multi-million dollar estates along the New River, which have been turned into pop-up art galleries. Noteworthy is the Paris art collective Obvious, whose artwork “Portrait of Edmond de Belamy” was created using an artificial intelligence program, ink and a canvas. The fair kicks off with a 7-10 p.m. opening party on Jan. 23, and the fair’s public hours will be noon-6 p.m. Jan. 24 and Jan. 27 and noon-8 p.m. Jan. 25-26. Locations will be announced soon on the fair’s website.

Phillip Valys

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