Stephan Greco and Drew Eric wouldn’t have walked into Out of the Closet Saturday night if they hadn’t come to Wilton Drive for the Wilton Manors Arts & Entertainment Expo.
“If it weren’t for the Art Expo, I would not have been able to find the perfect Christmas gift for a friend at Out of the Closet. I walked in and it was right there waiting for me,” Greco said. “I’m very happy it’s back,” said Eric.
Now in its second season, the Expo, formerly known as the Art Walk, is held every third Saturday of the month along Wilton Drive from 6 to 9 p.m. The event features local businesses showcasing artists and their work and runs until May of 2018.
Along with giving artists exposure, business owners and others with Wilton Drive addresses also hope to draw traffic during the event. “Absolutely. We love to be open on nights when things are going on,” said Jody Slagle, events and engagement supervisor for the South Florida Symphony, which recently relocated to Wilton Drive. “It’s a big plus for us.”
Santos Gonzales last participated in the event two years ago and Saturday was his first time back. “It’s wonderful. The interaction with the customers, the people . . . it’s good to showcase my art and get my name out there.”
It was Mindy Gang’s first Expo and she sold a piece of her jewelry within the first hour. “It’s a great way to give artists a chance to get their art out there,” Gang said. “I think it’s really important for artists to get involved in the community and sell their art,” said artist Tiffany Beasi.
Artist and author Ellen Sparer also likes participating in the Expo and similar events in Fort Lauderdale. When she spoke to The Gazette, she said it was too early to tell how she’d do. But she said location would probably be key.
Employees at various Wilton Drive businesses echoed her comments.
“It really depends what part of the street you’re on,” said an employee at Wilton Creamery.
Marcy Miller, co-owner of Bubbles & Pearls, said “everybody wins” with events like the Expo, but that the event doesn’t consistently bring people out. “Sometimes, it’s slammed. Sometimes, it’s not.” One employee at What The Pho restaurant, said it’s hard to tell how much the event contributes because Saturday is a normally busy night already.
Visit wmae.org for more information on the Expo.