About the Festival
RiverArtsFest takes over Riverside Drive from Jefferson Ave. to Beale Street for its 17th annual event on Saturday, Oct. 21, and Sunday, Oct. 22. The nonprofit, all-volunteer annual fine arts festival runs each day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and tickets are available for sale in advance, online at RiverArtsMemphis.org and day-of at the gate.
For a second consecutive year, RiverArtsFest has been named by Sunshine Artist magazine as one of the 200 Best Festivals. “Receiving this recognition is significant for the festival. Not only is it validation that we’re working hard to put on a great show, but it’s also proof that our city loves the arts. Our rich history and culturally diverse community are reflected in this nomination. People come out, they admire the original works of art and they purchase a piece or two,” said Denise Ford, RiverArtsFest Artist Market Director. “It’s beautiful and everyone in the Mid-South should be proud of this festival and their support for it.”
Sunshine Artist’s 200 Best is an annual ranking of the top art and craft shows in the U.S. The nomination process involves artists listing their 10 most profitable events from the previous year, alongside the gross sales figures for each event. RiverArtsFest was ranked No. 20 in the Fine Art and Design category.
RiverArtsFest is the largest and longest-running fine arts festival in the region. It features a juried Artist Market with more than 150 fine artists from around the country, the Tri-State area, and Memphis and Shelby County. Artists are juried for acceptance and bring their original works for sale in painting, photography, ceramics, mixed media, glass, wearable art, jewelry and more.
This year the festival is reintroducing its Emerging Artists program, tailored for budding artists in the Mid-South region who are embarking on their artistic journey with minimal prior experience in exhibiting and selling their creations. We are delighted to introduce two talented emerging artists: Jana Wilson specializing in mixed media, and William Lescheck working in ceramics. Each will be showcasing their original artwork at the Emerging Artists booth.
RiverArtsFest also is proud to announce the ARTSmemphis Performing Partners stage spotlighting performances by Tennessee Shakespeare Company, Harmonic South String Orchestra, Memphis ChoralArts, Hot Foot Honeys Tap Dance Company, Hattiloo Theatre, Memphis Youth Symphony Program, Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group, PRIZM Ensemble, Opera Memphis and SubRoy Movement.
During the two days, the festival features a full lineup of local live music (schedule follows), a Hands-On Art creative station for kids, Artists at Work demonstrations (lineup follows), an annual commemorative poster designed from original work by a local artist, plus food courts at the north and south end, and beverage stations throughout the grounds.
Proceeds from the festival, along with grants from ARTSmemphis, First Horizon Foundation, Tennessee Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Humanities Tennessee, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Tennessee Nonprofit Arts & Culture Recovery Fund Grant awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, support RiverArtsFest’s Community and Arts Education initiatives, bringing free programming to students of all ages and abilities, art educators and the public, while providing paid opportunities for local artists.
RiverArtsFest recently launched artist-led workshops for art educators in Shelby County through the Peggy Seessel Professional Development Series, named for the late arts administrator, community volunteer and arts education advocate. Additionally, the festival provides Art in the Making Artist Master Classes for school children and extends support through the Special Resources Fund, focused on visual arts projects for youth. Notably, the festival’s Tent Wall Murals, adorning the festival tent sidewalls, will feature RiverArtsFest’s collection of vivid large-scale artwork by 12 local artists, including Darlene Newman, Kiersten N. Williams, Sarai Payne, and youth artists from Carpenter Art Garden and Memphis-Shelby County Schools.
For more information and festival updates, visit www.riverartsmemphis.org.
Festival Stage Lineup
Saturday, October 21
11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Jeff Hulett Trio
12:30 p.m.–1:45 p.m. Graham Winchester
2:00 p.m.–3:15 p.m. Rachel Maxann
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Alexis Jade & the Gemstones
Strolling performance by Jeff Hulett
Sunday, October 22
11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Beth Luscombe Strings
12:30 p.m.–1:45 p.m. Jeremy Stanfill
2:00 p.m.–3:15 p.m. Loveland Duren
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Tennessee Mass Choir
Strolling performance by Brad Fielder
ARTSmemphis Partners Stage
Saturday, October 21
10:45 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Tennessee Shakespeare Company
Noon–12:45 p.m. Harmonic South String Orchestra
1:15 p.m.–2:00 p.m. Memphis ChoralArts
2:30 p.m.–3:15 p.m. Hot Foot Honeys Tap Dance Company
3:45 p.m.– 4:30 p.m. Hattiloo Theatre
Sunday, October 22
10:45 a.m.– 11:30 a.m. Memphis Youth Symphony Program
Noon–12:45 p.m. Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group
1:15 p.m.– 2:00 p.m. PRIZM Ensemble
2:30 p.m.–3:15 p.m. Opera Memphis
3:45 p.m.–4:30 p.m. SubRoy Movement
Artists at Work Participants
Fiber & Leather Kendra Burchett
Woodturning Rick Cannon
Papermaking Katey Henriksen
Painting Danielle Sierra
Assemblage Kenny Hayes
Glassblowing Nicola Uphoff-Tupis
Pottery David Johnson
Metalsmithing Brittney Boyd Bullock