Back in 1965, they called it the “Clothesline Art Show.” It was a small Key West affair intended to raise renovation money for the historic building at 301 Front Street, now the home of the Key West Art Center.

At the time, local artists actually used clothespins to display their works on a fence in front of Key West’s old Custom House, so the name was more than apropos.

Competition for inclusion in the funky little fine art show became so fierce that by1985, festival organizers decided to limit participation to approximately 100 exhibitors. Fifty four years later, today’s Old Island Days Art Festival is still going strong.

The nationally recognized open-air show, which now includes exhibitors from across the country and Canada, takes place from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, February 23 – 24, in Key West’s historic Old Town district.

The two-day juried fine art festival showcases all kinds of media ranging from watercolors, acrylics and oils to sculpture, collage and photography. You’ll also see lots of jewelry, pottery, glass and word works, as well as many other fine craft items.

Key West’s Whitehead Street closes to vehicular traffic from Greene to Eaton Streets for the event, creating a lively outdoor marketplace nestled among historic landmarks like the Audubon House, Mel Fisher Museum and Customs House.

Additional booths are also placed on Caroline Street within Truman Annex, a gracious enclave that includes the Harry S. Truman Little White House.

It’s a fun day in Old Town and there is no charge for admission. Proceeds from the event support the Key West Art Center’s programs and maintain the historic 301 Front St. building that houses the gallery.

For more info call 305-294-1243 or hit up