Art is good. Art is what you have at an arts fest. But the 9th annual Salem Arts Festival (to be held June 2-4th) is art and much, much more. This popular free family-friendly event will feature over 100 artists and performers, and includes a variety of art, music, dance, and theatre performances. Public activities include onsite art-making for all ages, local artisan vendors selling their creations, and a community-built public art installation.
One of the most anticipated events this year is “Tidal Shift,” a collaborative public art project led by artist and architect Claudia Paraschiv of Salem Public Space Project, featuring an installation of plastic bag jellyfish over Front Street. During the past few months, community groups and locals of all ages have created hundreds of jellyfish as part of an initiative to help educate the community about the negative impacts of plastic bag usage and the City of Salem’s upcoming plastic bag reduction. A brief celebration and presentation of the “Tidal Shift” project will be included in the Friday night reception at 6:35 p.m.
This year, the Salem Arts Festival also celebrates the second “Mural Slam” on Artists’ Row, organized by the City of Salem’s Public Art Commission and Public Art Planner Deborah Greel. Murals will be painted throughout the weekend by 10 selected artists and will be completed by the end of the festival.
In addition, the Festival marks the return of vendors to Artists’ Row, with both new and returning tenants for the 2017 season.
The Salem Arts Festival kicks off with an opening reception at Salem’s Old Town Hall on Friday, June 2nd at 6 p.m. The free event allows visitors to enjoy beautiful art work while being entertained by renowned local and regional performers Lindsay Straw, Dingonek Street Band, and headliners Grupo Fantasia.
The Festival takes place at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues in downtown Salem. Primary locations include Old Town Hall, Derby Square, Front Street, and Artists’ Row. A Juried Art Show will be held in Old Town Hall throughout the Festival, with an artisan street fair in the area around the building on Saturday and Sunday. Live performances will take place on Derby Square, Artists’ Row, and Front Street.
The Salem Arts Festival is rain or shine event; in case of inclement weather, performances will be moved into Old Town Hall. Full schedule and programs will be available on site during the Festival, as well as the Festival website (www.salemartsfestival.com).
“There’s been a tremendous amount of collaboration between so many local groups and individuals to continue to improve and expand the Festival every year. I can’t wait to share the phenomenal energy and talent that will be on display this year,” says Kylie Sullivan, Executive Director of Salem Main Streets (SMS), the community non-profit organization coordinating the Festival.
The goal of the Salem Arts Festival is to promote all the arts in Salem and to provide the entire North Shore arts community with an opportunity to showcase their talents. The Festival is run in collaboration with Salem Main Streets by a team of dedicated volunteers, including media partner Creative Salem and representatives from the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem YMCA, Salem State University, The Phoenix School, Salem Food Tours, Salem Arts Association, and many more.
Speaking of dedicated volunteers, we are still looking for volunteers for the Salem Arts Festival! If you would like to join our merry band during this year’s Festival, or if you’ve signed up for one slot but might be available for more, please sign up online at http://signup.com/go/lccZdGg. Even if you’re away the weekend of the Festival, we have some volunteer needs on the days leading up to the event!