Offering excellent weather and thousands of visitors daily all year long, Key West, Florida attracts artists and buyers that would make most cites green with envy. Flourishing in both two and three dimensional works of art, it offers over 45 galleries to choose from in the lower keys.
The largest part of the art represented is seascape of one type or another. It is after all a small island, claiming only about 8 squares miles of land and is home to about 25,000 people. As a tropical paradise there are also many beautiful spots, flowers, animals and interesting people, so you will also find an abundance of other subjects such as figures, still life, abstract, and fantasy art.
With so many different galleries to choose from in one small area, and with prices ranging from many thousand of dollars to just around $30 it is a buyers dream. For the higher end you may want to check out Key West Art Gallery, Wyland Gallery of Key West, and James Coleman Gallery. For more modest prices, Island Style Gallery, Key West Art Center, and Guild Hall Gallery. As an artist you have many opportunities to find a niche that works for you.
The Sunset Festival board governs who and what is allowed to be there and the artists and performers pay a small daily fee for their spot. There is no fee for spectators, the entertainers perform for tips, and the visual artists sell their paintings, prints, and photographs for any price they see fit. Basically it is a juried art fair every night. If you produce works that can sell for the prices that this market will bear ($10 to $50), then the 'Festival' is and excellent opportunity to pick up $500 or $600 a week, for a few hours selling time 4 or 5 days a week.
There are many artists of all stripes already in the area. If you are thinking of Key West as a place you would like to live, work and sell your art, I would recommend throughly researching likely markets before making the move and find out all the rules of the co-ops or galleries that would seem to fit your work. A room with a bath averages about $1000 a month, so it's not cheap, but if you create top quality work you can easily make living expenses. Other jobs are available as well, but think minimum wage when you are calculating your costs.
You may want to consider Stock Island as an alternative place to live to lower your costs. A vehicle will probably be necessary, or at least a bicycle to get you to the Sunset Festival and downtown art galleries. Public transit is available, but spotty at best.
The Florida Keys are an unusual area for the United States. Being the only truly tropical place in the country gives them a different prospective. And being hundred miles down at the end a single road that passes over dozens of islands gives Key West a feeling all its own.
For many years it has intrigued artists. The weather is fine most of the time and offers strong southern light that will change your pallet and your artists eye. Many famous people have made Key West home for at least awhile. John Audubon, Ernest Hemingway, and even presidents like Truman, Kennedy, and Clinton have chosen to spend a good deal of time here. Art of one form or another, has been a major attraction for decades, and is not slowing down any time soon.
A proudly 'eccentric' lifestyle has developed over the years and may just be the place to get your creative juices flowing.