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All photos below which are highlights of the 2015 Salem Arts Festival are by Creative Salem..

The Salem Arts Festival is a Salem Main Streets Happening

The 8th annual Salem Arts Festival will be held June 3-5th.  The popular free event will feature over 80 artists and performers, and includes a variety of art, music, dance, and theatre performances. The family-friendly festival also includes art-making for all ages, artisan vendors selling their creations, and a temporary public art installation.

“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 which started the Festival.

The Festival is spread out at a variety of venues in downtown Salem, with the primary focus on 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 this year will mostly be held outside (weather permitting) on Derby Square and Artists’ Row.  The event is rain or shine, with a rain location for performances held upstairs at Old Town Hall and on Artists’ Row.  Full schedule and programs will be available on site during the festival, as well as the Festival website by May 16.

The Festival kicks off with an opening reception at Salem’s Old Town Hall on Friday, June 3rd at 6 p.m.  The free event allows visitors to enjoy beautiful art work while being entertained by renowned local and regional performers North Shore Chamber Music, Gretchen and the Pickpockets, Siren of the Circle, and headliners Picante Soul. In addition this year, Friday night will also serve as the grant reception for the Salem Cultural Council’s FY16 grantees.

One of the most anticipated events this year is “Move With Me”, a collaborative public art project led by artist and architect Claudia Paraschiv, featuring an installation of pinwheels over Front Street. Over the past few months, community groups and locals of all ages and abilities have decorated several hundred individual pinwheels made of reclaimed sailcloth, drawing their own interpretations of traditional textile patterns from different cultures around the world.

This year, the Salem Arts Festival also celebrates the very first “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 12 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 2016 season.

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 representatives from Creative Salem, Salem State University, the Peabody Essex Museum, and many more.

Volunteers interested in helping with the Festival are warmly welcomed and encouraged to contact Kylie Sullivan atkylie@salemmainstreets.org for more information.

Visitors interested in attending the Salem Arts Festival can find easy access to the downtown by public transportation or parking at one of the many downtown lots in the City. For more information, please visit www.salemartsfestival.com

About Salem Main Streets
Salem Main Streets’ mission is the continued revitalization of downtown Salem as a vibrant, year-round, retail, dining and cultural destination through business retention, recruitment, and the promotion of the downtown district.  SMS produces and supports numerous community events and initiatives throughout the year, including the Salem Farmers’ Market, Salem Arts Festival, Salem’s So Sweet, and the October Information Booth. SMS operates thanks to the generosity and partnership of the City of Salem and Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Destination Salem, and many other local business sponsors and community volunteers. The Salem Arts Festival is additionally supported by Creative Salem, People’s United Bank, Scarlet Letter Press, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.



6:00 – 6:45 pm, Old Town Hall
North Shore Chamber Music
North Shore Chamber Music (NSCM) presents family-friendly concerts for the communities north of Boston along the Atlantic coastline. NSCM was founded in 2014 by violinist Melissa Bull and cellist Scott Thomas Lesser on the guiding principles of Great Music * Great Friends * Great Experiences. NSCM Artists perform chamber music written for a variety of ensembles that include strings. The ensemble’s Sunday matinée concert series is free admission ($10 suggested donation) and held at NSCM’s host, North Shore Community Baptist Church in Beverly.

6:50 – 7:00 pm, Derby Square
Salem Cultural Council Grant Announcements
The Salem Cultural Council (SCC) is part of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency that supports public programs and educational activities in the arts, sciences, and humanities. The SCC awards grants on an annual basis to projects that will have the greatest impact on the Salem community and promote the history, diverse culture, and positive attributes of the North Shore area. Come celebrate the FY16 Salem Cultural Council grantees (including the Salem Arts Festival)!

7:00 – 7:45 pm, Derby Square
Gretchen and the Pickpockets
Alternative Rock
Since originally banding together at the University of New Hampshire over a mutual love of jazz, soul, and rock and roll, Gretchen & The Pickpockets show no signs of slowing down. In 2015 they were named the best band in NH at the New England Music Awards and this year have been nominated as best Pop Band in New England.

7:50 – 8:00 pm, Old Town Hall
Siren of the Circle
Siren of the Circle is a hoopdance performer, instructor, and hoop burlesque artist from Salem. She’ll lure you in and make your head spin with her hypnotizing hoopdance. She completed hoop teacher training with renowned instructor Caroleeena in 2011. Siren is the founder of Salem Spinjam, a free seasonal gathering to practice movement arts for fun, fresh air and exercise.

8:00 – 9:00 pm, Derby Square
Picante Soul
Picante Soul is an unusually versatile band for Latin and World dancers offering the most challenging mix of old school and contemporary Latin music styles from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Bachata, Salsa, Merengue, and Chachacha along with R&B, Reggae and Funk are supposed to be impossible to get from one band, but not with Picante Soul. Picante Soul brings groups of people from different backgrounds together to enjoy music delivered with passion, authenticity, and respect for the people and artists who know and make this music!


11:00 – 11:45 am, Derby Square
Vermillion Strings
Classical, with Rock/Pop
Vermillion Strings is a string trio based in Salem, Massachusetts. They play a wide variety of music and venues. From classical in traditional recital halls to pop and rock covers in bars, they strive to create an atmosphere that is fun and fresh while maintaining a high level of professional excellence.

11:45 am – 12:15 pm, Artists’ Row
Joey Phoenix
Contemporary Folk
Joey Phoenix is a contemporary singer-songwriter with acoustic melodies inspired by human connection, historical happenings, and the magic of nature. Her influences include Lisa Hannigan, the Paper Kites, and Sam Phillips.

12:00 – 12:45 pm, Derby Square
ElectricAcidJazzCircus is a group hailing from the Boston area that plays original music in the styles of Jazz, Funk, Fusion, and Progressive Rock. They also play tasty covers of bands like Hiatus Kaiyote and Stevie Wonder. They’re here to bring good energy and fast-paced music.

12:45 – 1:15 pm, Artists’ Row
Strange Interlude
Based in the Boston area, Strange Interlude was founded by harpist Lily Press and cellist Simon Linn-Gerstein who have been performing as a harp and cello duo since 2007. As both a duo and larger ensemble, Press and Linn-Gerstein design intimate salon-style concerts with programs that are carefully curated to include seldom-performed works, pieces by contemporary composers, and transcriptions and arrangements for their unique instrumentation.

1:00 – 1:45 pm, Derby Square
Adrian DiMatteo
Jazz/Blues, World Music
Adrian DiMatteo is a guitarist, singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist from New York. He received formal training in Jazz performance, music theory and history from the Eastman School of Music under Bob Sneider. Now he studies sacred songs from around the world and the science of sound healing. His dream is to bring people in touch with themselves and each other through the power of sound and raise the collective vibration.

1:45 – 2:15 pm, Artists’ Row
Dave Bailin
Rooted in the blues, guitar and harmonica extraordinaire Dave Bailin showcases many styles including soul, country, 50’s R&B, 60’s and 70’s classic rock, Motown, reggae, and modern rock & roll. He has been performing for over 25 years, mostly on the North Shore, New Hampshire, Maine, and in the Florida Keys.

2:00 – 2:45 pm, Derby Square
Greg Allen’s Fringe Religion
Rock and Roll
Greg Allen’s Fringe Religion is a Boston-based band that formed in 2013- but they are hardly beginners when it comes to rock and roll. Hints of classic arena rock, power pop, sleazy glam, proto punk, gut bucket blues, and even some country honk serve as backdrop to Allen’s unique story telling. Allen and bassist Chicago Vin Earnshaw are joined by guitar player Curt Florczak, who rocks hard, and the equally formidable drummer Chris Michaels.

2:45 – 3:15 pm, Old Town Hall Upstairs
Katherine Fuller
Vocal Performance
Salem resident Katherine Fuller is a lyric soprano, musical theatre actress, and music educator/director. A native Chicagoan, she made her East Coast debut with the title role in Kiss Me Kate (The Longwood Players). Mrs. Fuller is a conductor/music educator in the Bedford Public Schools and a masters candidate in vocal pedagogy at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. This weekend’s program, “Songs from the Sun and Moon,” will be accompanied by pianist Michael Valdez, currently completing his masters in jazz piano at the New England Conservatory.

2:45 – 3:15 pm, Artists’ Row
Julie Dougherty
Julie Dougherty has been performing regularly for over 40 years, these days mostly on the North Shore of Boston and New Hampshire. Her style ranges from folk to country to pop with hints of blues/jazz thrown in to the mix- eclectic-roots is one way to describe it. Julie will be accompanied by her husband Woody Woodward on bass.

3:15 – 4:00 pm, Derby Square
Sarah Messias & Hunter Bergamy
Sarah Messias is a harmonica player and singer from Brazil. Recently, Sarah played on the Lollapalooza Festival and was considered the best artist revelation of the festival by the biggest media channel from Brazil (Globo). Along with guitarist Hunter Burgamy, her set includes Blues (Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Robert Johnson), Rock (Led Zeppelin, Jack White, The Doors), and her original songs as well.

4:00 – 4:30 pm, Old Town Hall Upstairs
Aurora Borealis Dance Company
Modern Dance
Aurora Borealis Dance Company is a professional performing company for aspiring dance artists under the age of 20 in the Boston Area. Specializing in contemporary and improvisational dance forms, ABDC provides ample opportunities for growth in addition to inspiring and uplifting each and every individual to push for more and discover themselves deeply as an artist.

4:00 – 4:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Francis X. Norton
Acoustic Guitar
Francis is a musician from Boston who has had the pleasure of performing with many great acts in various genres such as metal, jazz, and folk. When he isn’t annoying his neighbors, he does work writing scores for the theatre. Thank you to Salem for creating a creative environment for artists to thrive.

4:15 – 5:00 pm, Derby Square
Jalopy is a tribute to the deep funk, soul- and acid-jazz movement of the 60s & 70s including New Orleans funk. Grant Green, Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff, “Boogaloo” Joe Jones, and the Meters are early influences. Jalopy is also inspired by the more recent renaissance and jamband fusion of this music by contemporary acts such as the New Mastersounds, the Greyboy Allstars, Orgone, and Galactic.

5:00 – 5:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Amy Spillert
Contemporary Folk
Singer-songwriter Amy Spillert captures in her original songs stories of the sea & nature, history & folktales, love & friendship, and the crisis our world seems to have fallen into and a hope in human nature that could heal these wounds.

5:15 – 6:00 pm, Derby Square
The Tree House Charlatans
Didgeridoo Bluegrass
The Tree House Charlatans are the world’s first didgeridoo grass band, a combination of rock and bluegrass with a twist. Their music ranges from eclectic world/ jazz to sing-along folk/ rock, bluegrass gone wild, and trance-based waves of sound to soothe the savage beast.


10:45 – 11:30 am, Old Town Hall
Community Yoga Dance with Dale Lewinski
Open to all!
Let Your Yoga Dance™ is a joy-filled power dance combining yoga, the breath, and user-friendly dance with fabulous music from all around the world designed to Stimulate Your Body, Heart, Mind, & Spirit. LYYD is a joyful conscious movement program that combines gentle yoga postures with basic dance moves. LYYD is accessible to all fitness levels, and suitable for all ages. Please bring water, yoga mat not required.

11:30 am to 12:15 pm, Derby Square
Christopher Noran
Christopher Noran is a singer-songwriter from Salem, MA, who is finishing his second album, “Grow Out “. He and his bandmates have crafted narrative songs with dynamic melodies and a detailed attention to diverse rhythm and sound that tell stories of loss, love, and nature. A few of the songs are acoustic, but most are driven by atmospheric, reverb-soaked electric guitar.

12:15 – 12:45 pm, Artists’ Row
Acoustic Folk
Olivia Gale and Colin de la Barre are Meridian, a Cape Ann-based duo, specializing in close two-part harmonies. Their musical chemistry together is palpable upon hearing Colin’s strong baritone compliment Olivia’s clearly sung melodies. Meridian enjoys singing both a cappella, or accompanied by Olivia on the guitar or the autoharp.

12:30 -1:15 pm, Derby Square
Matt Heaton & the Outside Toys
Rockabilly Kids’ Music
Music for kids can be entertaining and enjoyable for both children and their parents. This is the mandate behind Matt Heaton’s kid music, a style he calls “toddlerbilly.” His songs are a mix of rockabilly, surf, American roots, and Irish traditional music, delivered with a wry sense of humor and a sincere sense of fun. Matt performs solo and also with his three-piece band, The Outside Toys. Children and adults respond to his musicianship and variety. And the parents and caregivers particularly appreciate the Muppet-esque touches of humor and observations of kid behavior.

1:15 – 1:45 pm, Artists’ Row
Ashley Dawn
Performing has been an integral part of Ashley Dawn’s life since the age of two. Influenced mainly by blues, folk, and pop, her original music is laced with impeccable harmonies and heartfelt vocal melodies over feel-good piano foundations that are able to connect with a wide range of fans. You can find her performing with her band as well as solo and alongside many other musicians in both acoustic and full-band settings.

1:30 – 2:00 pm, Derby Square
Flamenco Boston
Guitarist Antonio Tiriti and singer Ana Maria Villa deliver an authentic flamenco performance filled with intricate guitar playing and emotional singing. The duo is rooted in the traditions of flamenco yet employ modern harmonization and execution of the iconic rhythms. Through their own compositions and interpretations of traditional verses, the two will showcase the various styles and wide emotional range that this art form has to offer.

2:00 – 2:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Witch City Belly Dance
Belly Dance
Witch City Belly Dance is comprised of professional and amateur belly dancers from Salem, with guests from the entire North Shore. They represent a tapestry of ethnic, cultural, and experimental styles. From traditional to modern, they draw on the ancient dances of the Middle East and Mediterranean, adding their own fusion and flair to the mix.

2:15 – 3:00 pm, Derby Square
Soft Cactus
Soft Cactus is a band with strong musical ideas that is unafraid to draw musical inspiration from anywhere. Soft Cactus covers a wide musical spectrum while still maintaining a focused and distinctive sound. Live shows filled with white-hot intensity, subtle musical nuances, and a focus on composition will have you always singing along and wanting more.

3:00 – 3:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Thea Hopkins
Contemporary Folk
Internationally touring songwriter Thea Hopkins offers an entertaining and family friendly mix of acoustic, rootsy music. She has been described as a “standout songwriter” by the Washington Post and as an “artist whose narratives drip with metaphor and imagery” by Americana UK. “The beauty of Thea’s voice is matched by the brilliance of her lyrics,” Roberta Schwartz of Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange remarks.

3:00 – 3:30 pm, Old Town Hall Upstairs
Molly Rose Tupper
Modern Dance
Molly Rose Tupper is a dance artist currently residing in the beautiful Pioneer Valley. She creates work in the tradition of modern/contemporary concert dance drawing influence from modern dance pioneers such as Doris Humphrey and Merce Cunningham, while incorporating contemporary influences.

3:15 – 4:00 pm, Derby Square
Jazz Punishers
The Jazz Punishers quirky name is representative of the band members’ sense of humor and lightheartedness about the music they love to play. We play a blend of classic jazz standards, many with a fresh twist, contemporary jazz, and even some R&B.

4:00 – 4:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Striving Artists Theatre Company
Striving Artists Theatre Company is a performing arts organization involving local artists, patrons, and students dedicated to enriching the community with innovative theatre. Through its artistic exploration, SAC is determined to provoke discussion while educating and creating a social dialogue in the community. SAC will be performinga sneak preview of their upcoming production of “The Comedy of Errors” by William Shakespeare, directed by Savanah Carlson.

4:15 – 5:00 pm, Derby Square
Deep C Divers
DeepC is an Indian born guitarist/singer-songwriter that blends different styles of music to create an original ROCK sound. The influence of Divers, with a progressive rock guitarist, dub drummer, and reggae bassist, appeals to all audiences who listen to all genres of music. Playing straight from the heart with strong grooves and haunting melodies, DeepC Divers embodies an unique blend of far east and west.

4:30 – 5:30 pm, Artists’ Row
On Point and Salem YMCA Ensembles
The On Point program for youth is a collaboration between the Plummer Home, the Salem Police, and the Essex County Juvenile Court located in Salem’s lowest-income neighborhood. The Salem YMCA Teen Arts Center introduces students to performance, songwriting & composition, studio production and engineering, live show booking and stage production, live FOH mixing, band collaboration and communication, and tv and film music. Both programs are mentored by local local musicians Aaron Katz, Callie Lipton, and Sarah Blacker.

5:15 – 6:00 pm, Derby Square
Machine 475
Electronic Music
Machine 475 is a music collaborative based in Salem, MA. Its unique sound incorporates electronic beats, guitar, vocals, turntables, sitar, theremin, vocoder, accordion and percussion in styles ranging from dance to ambient, from rock to cinematic soundscape. Formed in 2006 by Richard Lewis, the band has recently released its fifth full-length album, “Cosmic Highway” and is currently playing live in the Boston area.   In addition to Richard Lewis, the band features Brian Lambers (guitar), Danielle Meara (sitar), Rick Hansen (percussion), Dan Hayes (theremin and turntables) and Dan Kupka (accordion), with additional appearances from guest musicians.


The 2016 Salem Arts Festival is bursting at the seams with art-making activities and vendors all day on Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine.  Check out our amazing Front Street shops, buy some art from our unique street fair vendors, or roll your sleeves up make some art yourself!

*List of street fair artists is subject to change.

Ancient Fire Henna
Henna Body Art
Amesbury, MA

Emily Englehardt
Painting, Stuffed Animals, Pot Holders
Salem, MA

Matthew Fraser
Metal Sculpture
Salem, MA

Laura Henkin
Soap, Jewelry, Swedish Star Lanterns
North Kingstown, RI

Diane Hoffman
Textile and Designs
Providence, RI

Beth & Larry Kirk
Stained Glass & Jewelry
New Bedford, MA

Leeann Leftwich
Plush Toys
Salem, MA

Morgan C. Leshinsky
Oil Painting
Rowley, MA

Theresa Ludwig
Upcycled OOAK Clothing
Beverly, MA

Steven Manning
Metal Sculpture
Ludlow, VT

Beth McKinney
Newbury, MA

Christine Mendyk
Salem, MA

Karol Peralta
Salem, MA

Archita Roy
Lexington, MA

Wendy Scruton
Cat Accessories
Salem, MA

Allison White
Needlepoint Patches
Lowell, MA

Alikya Wingate & Jessica Applin
Fiber Arts, Wire & Gemstone Sculpture
Salem, MA

Witch City Wicks
Salem, MA

Raelinda Woad
Metal, Glass, & Paper
Salem, MA

Deb Wolf
Oil Painting
Tyngsboro, MA



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