Salem Arts Fest 2016 – Why We Love Salem Arts Festival

Video by Joey Phoenix Song by Kali Stoddard-Imari Salem Arts Festival A Salem Main Streets happening

1) Tell us a bit about you and what you do?

I am the Executive Director of Salem Main Streets, a nonprofit that focuses on the continued revitalization of downtown Salem. We are the primary organization coordinating the Salem Arts Festival.


2) Why do you love Salem Arts Festival?

So many things! I personally love the way that festivals like the Salem Arts Festival transform and celebrate space, and I feel so lucky to be able to celebrate this beautiful area of the downtown – Old Town Hall, Derby Square, Front Street, and Artists’ Row – with as much creativity and fun as we can possibly cram in.


3) What do you think the festival brings to the city of Salem?

What I really love about this particular festival is that we work so hard to include so many different art mediums and means of creative expression. From community-created art with recycled plastic bags, to classic oil paintings, to modern dance, there’s really something for everyone. I also think it’s important that we place such an emphasis on the creation of art during the festival – there are so many opportunities to participate in making art or exploring art at the Salem Arts Festival.


4) What’s your favorite part about the festival each year?

My favorite part is how many different groups, organizations, and individuals come together to make this festival happen – I actually think our community defines this festival even more than the arts do. I inevitably have a heart-bursting moment of happiness somewhere on Saturday afternoon where I look around and realize how many people are present and rolling up their sleeves to make this festival their own.

5) What’s the one thing about Salem Arts Festival that people shouldn’t miss?

I’m very excited that we’ve had Betsy Miller, a dance professor at Salem State, Betsy has been working with us to program several “Tiny Dance Stages” at the festival this year. The concept is that dancers are challenged to choreograph a short piece for a 4’x4′ dance stage, and it’s a great way for us to better integrate dance into the Arts Festival. We’ll be using two Tiny Stages throughout the festival area for dance, theatre, and spoken word, so visitors coming in the early afternoon on Saturday and Sunday should keep their eyes peeled for some unexpected performance areas. A complete list of performers here.

Salem Arts Festival 2016

The Salem Arts Festival promotes the arts in downtown Salem through a collaborative festival for residents and visitors providing opportunities to highlight the existing artist community and encourage general community participation in the arts. The festival regularly draws over 5,000 visitors.

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