ArtFest Award Named in Honor of Ben Essenburg

IMG_2999 (1)New this season, ArtFest Fort Myers is proud to announce the addition of a $500 Ben Essenburg Award to the professional artist awards. It is the festival’s intention to honor this Florida wildlife artist who has contributed so much to the fine art festival since its inception. We look forward to having Ben visit ArtFest Fort Myers in February 2017 to give out the award in person.

Ben Essenburg has been painting and exhibiting professionally since 1975 and was a key Artist Advisor in the early years of ArtFest Fort Myers. His incredible talent, generous nature and years of experience in the outdoor fine art festival venue made him uniquely qualified to provide valuable insights regarding the inner workings of a successful juried event. As a tribute to his award-winning artistic talent, Ben is the only artist who has juried into and participated in ArtFest Fort Myers for an incredible run of 13 consecutive years.

ArtFest Fort Myers is grateful to count Ben Essenburg among our dearest friends and colleagues. Over the years, he has gifted our community with his artistic vision of our natural world, opening our eyes to the astonishing beauty that surrounds us. We humbly institute the “Ben Essenburg Award” in his honor.

Pictured above is Ben Essenburg (center) receiving a 2012 festival award from Marv Weiner (left) and Judy Weiner (right), ArtFest Artist Relations Committee Chairpersons.

ArtFest Fort Myers, the annual juried fine art festival, takes place February 3, 4 & 5, 2017 in the Fort Myers River District. Join the experience with 200 professional artists from across the county and around the world; the largest high school art exhibit and competition in south Florida and free interactive art experiences for children of all ages.  For more information, visit


  1. What a nice tribute to a great artist and human being.

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