In 2011, Philadelphia claimed its place among cities renowned for arts and culture with an impressive display of art festivals, multicultural fairs and live exhibitions. From the Parisian-themed Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts to the constant artistic celebrations at Penn’s Landing, expectations for the creative scene in 2012 are running high. In the art department, the spring and summer lineup of festivals in Philadelphia will fulfill a serious or just curious art fix, and the top ones are right here on this list.
Art in the Open
Between MLK Drive and Locust Street and at Bartram’s Garden
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Date: Friday, May 18 to Sunday, May 20, 2012 – around 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Family Fun Day is Saturday, May 19. See the full schedule of events here.
On the scenic banks of the Schuylkill River, passersby will be blessed with three days worth of opportunities to enjoy art in its purest form. Exhibitions, workshops and chances to create art in an urban environment are showcased during this open air celebration in May. In an effort to enlighten the public about the creative process, a juried selection of artists will work outside between Fairmount Water Works to Bartram’s Garden – and visitors will be able to stroll around observing them while they paint, sculpt or otherwise perform their craft.
23rd Annual Manayunk Arts Festival
Manayunk’s Main Street from Carson to Shurs Lanes
Philadelphia, PA 19127
Date: Saturday, June 23 – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, June 24, 2012 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
As one of the area’s largest outdoor art festivals, this two-day celebration of creativity draws more than 275 artists for its juried competition and crowds of thousands for its art, music, food and shopping opportunities. Aside from original art, live entertainment and kid’s activities, expect to be entertained by the handmade jewelry and one-of-a-kind wares the vendors are peddling. From vegan soap to robot sculptures, the festival fills up Main Street with a diverse selection of arts and crafts hailing from more than 22 states and just about every creative walk of life imaginable.
Peddler’s Village Fine Art and Contemporary Craft Festival
Routes 202 & 263
Lahaska, Bucks County, PA
Date: Saturday, June 2 to Sunday, June 3, 2012 – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This popular festival destination, known for the Strawberry Festival and Christmas season fair, won’t disappoint this summer season as it hosts the Fine Art and Contemporary Craft Festival. A juried exhibition will be showcased outdoors as the artists display their original works and compete for cash prizes in categories of fine art, contemporary crafts or photography. Visitors to the festival can make it a family affair with children’s activities available for the little ones, and live entertainment for all attendees.
At Galleries and Institutions across
Price: Per event
Date: March to April, 2012, Opening Weekend is March 2 – 4, 2012
Click here for a full schedule of events
Fiber Philadelphia is the perfect festival for textile enthusiasts, fiber art fans or even just those who have heard of the rising trend of “guerilla knitting,” which is a cross between graffiti and tea cozies. Promoting the innovative discipline that combines the traditional arts with technologically-advanced techniques, this festival is a alliance of artists, educators, galleries and institutions showcasing the best of an alternative art form. With exhibitions citywide for two months, there will be many opportunities to get acquainted with the finer points of textile craftsmanship.
7th Annual Trenton Avenue Arts Festival
Trenton Avenue between Norris & Arizona Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19125
Date: May 19, 2012 – Noon to 6 p.m.
Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby Parade starts at noon. Click here for details.
From human-powered artistic floats to a collection of local art, music and eateries, this street festival delivers in the funky art and live entertainment department. Last year around 10,000 attendees showed up to patronize the 200+ artist booths exhibiting, and of course to watch the 3-mile Derby race of “mobile sculptures” that boasts a mud pit as a finish line. It’s even easily accessed by public transit, though Derby participants may want to respect other travelers on the way home from the mud pit.
Lindsay Lewis is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.