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What To Check Out During This Year’s Festival of the Arts

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Illustration by Abby Haywood

By Abby Haywood

It’s that time of the year again, folks! That’s right, Festival of the Arts starts this weekend. For those who are unaware, the festival is a free event that celebrates local art and performances right in the heart of Grand Rapids, and it’s been going strong for 50-plus years.There will be plenty of food, shows, and activities for kids and adults alike. It won’t be the same as past years, but there are still plenty of COVID-19 compliant events to enjoy.

In-person festivities kick off this Friday, June 4, with the Plein Air event. Landscape artists will be stationed throughout Grand Rapids  from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. through Sunday to paint various scenes around the city. Musicians will also be performing from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday only. You can find the full list of artists and musicians, as well as where, and when they’ll be performing here.

The next in-person event is scheduled to take place Sept. 17-19 at Calder Plaza and will feature multiple performances and the Artisan Village, a fine art and craft fair boasting 50-plus booths. A virtual preview of the Artisan Village can be seen here. The performance lineup consists of Latin Zarzuela performed by Opera Grand Rapids; Diatribe, featuring Grand Rapids Poet Laureate Kyd Kane; and a “Jazz Brunch” presented by Grand Jazzfest.

If you want to check out some local art, or just want to experience some of Festival of the Arts from your own home, you can view this year’s Regional Arts Exhibition here. There are over 240+ works of 2-D, 3-D, Illustration, and photography in this year’s show. Many of the art is for sale and proceeds will go to the artist and funding next year’s Festival of the Arts.

Whether you are a long-time Festival-goer, or are just in the mood for something creative, consider checking out this year’s event lineup and indulge in some local art.