RiverArtsFest Announces Dates, New Locations for 2018 Festival

April 17th, 2018

RiverArtsFest, a nonprofit, all-volunteer annual fine arts festival in Memphis, announced today that the festival will be relocating from South Main to Riverside Drive, starting with the October 27-28, 2018 event.

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RiverArtsFest 2018 will take place within a closed section of Riverside Drive, between Jefferson Avenue and Union Avenue, bounded by Mississippi River Park to the west and Memphis Park to the east.

“We have loved our time on South Main and working with the South Main Association,” Lee Askew, longtime festival director, said. “But the neighborhood today has more residents and businesses than when we launched RiverArtsFest 12 years ago.

“Our goal wasn’t to leave South Main; rather it was to keep RiverArtsFest downtown.”

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For 11 years, RiverArtsFest took place on South Main between Webster and Huling Avenues. But a recent semi-permanent road closure due to the construction at Central Station caused the festival’s Board of Directors to consider other locations.

“Logistically our footprint no longer fits within the streetscape of South Main, given the recent street closure and the reboot of the trolley line,” Askew continued. “We raised the idea of moving RiverArtsFest to Riverside Drive to the Downtown Memphis Commission and the Riverfront Development Corporation, and both were enthusiastic in their support.”

“We are delighted to welcome RiverArtsFest to what will be our newest jewel on the riverfront, Mississippi River Park at Fourth Bluff,” Carol Coletta, president and CEO of the Riverfront Development Corporation, said. “This will be one of the first public events in the new park, which we expect to complete this fall. It is a perfect home for an event of this scale.”

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RiverArtsFest is the largest fine arts festival in the Mid-South.

It features a juried Artists Market with more than 180 fine artists from around the country, selling works in painting, photography, ceramics, mixed media, glass, wearable art, jewelry and more. The festival also showcases local live music, a Hands on Art creative station, Artist in Motion demonstrations, an annual commemorative poster designed from original work by a local artist, plus food and drink, and more.

“We’re thrilled that RiverArtsFest will be able to remain downtown,” Penelope Huston, vice president of marketing, communications & events for the Downtown Memphis Commission, said. “Its annual presence is an important part of downtown’s vitality and vibe.”

For more information, festival updates or vendor applications, visit their website.

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