Artsfest on Historic Walnut Street is 39 years old this year, believe it or not, and it’s scheduled for Saturday and Sunday May 4th and 5th from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, with a fully-programmed footprint along the Walnut Street Historic District, from National Avenue to Gilardi's Restaurant just west of Hammons Parkway.
"This year we've got a really great, high-caliber group of artists we've invited in,” says Avery Parrish, Corporate Art Coordinator at Springfield Regional Arts Council. More than 120 artists from 19 states, Canada and even Belgium will be displaying, selling and competing for more than $4,000 in cash awards. “We've got them coming in from all over. We've invited back Vodka Bacon Studios, who won Best of Show last year,” says Parrish. “We've also got some great local talent like Farley Lewis and Crystal Moody, Denise Bell. So keep your eye out for some really great stuff."
Artsfest draws approximately 20,000 patrons each year. Featured media—well, what artistic media AREN’T included? There will be examples of wood, glass, clay, printmaking, paper, jewelry, photography, metal, painting, drawing, fiber and mixed media.
The Live Art Area returns this year. Says Avery Parrish, "We've got a really great Live Art area next to the kids' activity area. So you let your kiddos create their own art, and watch artists create art right in front of you." The Live Art area will feature more than 10 local artists creating art throughout the festival hours Saturday and Sunday. "We'll have all the Live Art panels available at The Creamery. They'll be on display the week after ArtsFest.” And they will be available for purchase there for the rest of the month.
Patrons can also get exclusive access to a Friday night preview event, air-conditioned restrooms during the festival, great parking spots and more as part of the new Artsfest Patron Experience. Becoming a Patron elevates the Artsfest experience while further investing in artists. This experience is accessible to all, includes a Springfield Regional Arts Council membership and has several levels from which to choose. VIP admission is $20 at the gate tonight, and the full package starts at $50. The VIP party is from 6:00 to 8:00pm tonight (Friday May 3rd), and will include live music by Shaun Monday, as well as "some really great bites and drinks, and you can shop the street before the crowds get here on Saturday and Sunday,” according to the Arts Council’s Avery Parrish.
Otherwise, admission to ArtsFest 2019 will be $5 at the gate for adults Saturday and Sunday, and free for children age 12 and younger. Artsfest wristbands are good for both days of the festival. Pre-event tickets are on sale at 417Tix.com. Purchasing an Artsfest Merch package in advance guarantees the ticketholder an Artsfest T-shirt.
Artsfest will once again feature music and dance performances on multiple stages. This year's options include four traditional stages as well as a new stage at Pagination Bookshop (1150 East Walnut). That stage will feature poetry and spoken word performances. SRAC will once again have an area filled with kids activities on the west side of the festival grounds. And there’s the Acton Children's Business Fair, giving 10 young entrepreneurs a chance to launch their own startup business.
Artsfest on Walnut Street benefits the SRAC, a local arts advocacy nonprofit working to benefit artists and arts education. Avery Parrish calls it "such a great experience, and I think that it's wonderful for everybody of all ages. It's such a wonderful shopping experience, it's such a wonderful visitor experience. With Mother's Day coming up next weekend I think it's a really great opportunity to find a perfect gift!"
For more information about Artsfest on Walnut Street, call 417-831-6200 or visit www.springfieldartsfest.org.