Summer in the Pacific Northwest brings sunshine and a full schedule of art fairs and festivals. While these events take place outside and offer an opportunity to enjoy the weather, rain and wind can also be a challenge. However, for those who are willing to brave the elements, visitors can don rain jackets and rubber boots and enjoy the arts and crafts on display.
Anacortes Art Festival
In 1962, Dr. Jack Papritz and a group of art enthusiasts wanted to organize a festival that celebrated creativity and culture through various forms of art. With the support of the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce and a small budget, the first Anacortes Arts Festival was held in July of that year. It was touted as the "longest art display in the world" and has been focused on fine art and a festive atmosphere ever since. The festival features amateur and professional divisions, and provides venues for all artists to showcase their work. Artists interested in participating are required to pay a booth fee of $360 plus 10% of all sales to the festival. In addition to art, the festival also features live music on multiple stages. A unique aspect of the Anacortes Arts Festival is the "working studios," where visitors can observe and interact with artists as they create their art. This year's festival includes activities such as chalk art, blacksmithing, and wood turning, among others.
Bellevue Arts Museum Arts Fair
The Bellevue Arts Museum Arts Fair is renowned for being the largest and most prestigious arts and crafts festival in the Pacific Northwest, with more than 300 artists showcasing their work. Artists who wish to participate in the fair must pay a $45.00 application fee, as well as a booth fee ranging from $945 to $2000 depending on the size of the booth. Additionally, 20% of sales from the online marketplace go to the fair. The online marketplace was created as a response to the pandemic and has continued as an additional way for artists to present and sell their fine art. The Bellevue Arts Fair was established in 1947, while the museum itself was founded in 1975. In 2001, the museum opened its first permanent location and has since been dedicated to contributing to the cultural vibrancy of the region.
Edmonds Arts Festival
The Edmonds Arts Festival has been held for over 60 years and has become a prestigious show that attracts artists from around the country. Visitors can enjoy free music, juried gallery art exhibitions, and sales. Over 240 artists have their unique art for sale, and there are also food booths to enjoy. Edmonds is a great walking town with lots of eateries and breweries, making it a great destination. The artist fees for this festival range from $650 to $1300 per booth, depending on size. It's unclear whether the festival takes a commission on sales, so artists will need to inquire about this. During the festival, Artists in Action on the Plaza showcases artists creating their unique art, and visitors can interact with them.
Art In The Pearl
Art in the Pearl Fine Arts and Craft Festival was founded in 1997 by a group of 15 artists with a mission to showcase high-quality, handmade works. Today, the festival is celebrating its 25th year and is organized by a team of dedicated volunteers rather than paid employees. The event was created in response to the failure of Artquake, a show that relied heavily on corporate sponsorship. To avoid a similar fate, Art in the Pearl operates as a non-profit organization and is governed by a volunteer board of directors. The festival takes place on Labor Day weekend and will feature 130 artists and approximately 85,000 visitors. All artists are chosen through a blind jury process that spans two days. Booth fees for artists range from $650-$1295, depending on the size of the booth. Since the festival is a non-profit, there are no commissions on the sales of artwork, which is great news for artists as they get to keep all profits. Additionally, since the festival takes place in Portland, Oregon, there is no sales tax applied to sales.
Salem Art Fair & Festival
The Salem Art Fair & Festival has been running for 73 years and is one of the largest in the Pacific Northwest. It is a 3-day event that celebrates the visual and performing arts and attracts approximately 35,000 attendees each year who come to view and purchase high-end fine art from 220 selected artists. The artists are chosen through a blind jury process consisting of 5 professional working artists. Artists who wish to exhibit must pay a $45 application fee and a booth fee ranging from $525-$1225, depending on booth size. The festival does not take any commissions on sales, so the artist keeps 100% of the profits.
Sunriver Art Fair
The Sunriver Art Fair is a highly-regarded event that takes place annually in Sunriver, Oregon. It has been voted one of the top ten art fairs in the country. Sunriver is situated south of Bend, Oregon, and is close to Mount Bachelor, offering many outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, rock climbing, and mountain biking. The event is sponsored by the Sunriver Women's Club and serves as their main fundraising event of the year. The artist fees for the event include a $35 application fee and a $360 booth fee for a 10x10 space, with an additional $360 for each additional 10 feet of space. Unlike other art fairs, the Sunriver Art Fair does not take a commission from the sales of artwork. Only 70 artists will be selected to showcase their work at the fair, and visitors are advised to bring lots of water to stay hydrated due to the hot temperatures in the Oregon desert.
Art fairs and festivals provide an excellent opportunity for many artists to showcase their work to potential clients. Although I have not participated in any art fair due to the high initial cost, I visit several throughout the year to appreciate other artists' work. According to many photographers I have talked to who do art shows, it costs around $10,000 to acquire everything needed for the first show. This is a significant amount of money for an artist who works for the federal government full-time. Perhaps, when I retire and have more time to dedicate to shows, I may consider participating. Nonetheless, it is always enjoyable to converse with artists at these events, learn where they draw their inspiration from, or why they chose a particular medium. Seeing other photographers' works motivates me to get out and take more photos or visit new locations. Art fairs and festivals also offer an excellent opportunity to buy art directly from the artists and establish a connection for future purchases.