Festival of the Arts to return in 2021

Courtesy Festival of the Arts

Festival of the Arts will return in 2021 with a slightly different format.

The PLEIN AIR by Festival of the Arts event, which will take place June 4-6 in downtown Grand Rapids, will include musicians and artists performing within designated social zones and throughout downtown Grand Rapids. Individual instrumentalists will be hired to perform during PLEIN AIR weekend. The traditional Regional Arts exhibition will be virtual this year and it will be available to view at festivalgr.org with more than $10,000 awarded to local artists.

En plein air is French for “outdoors.”

Applications for artists, musicians and the virtual Regional Arts exhibition will open in March.

“Many of the traditional festival activities have been put on hold this year due to the pandemic,” said David Abbott, executive director for Festival of the Arts. “We hope that PLEIN AIR will give the community a chance to see musicians playing and artists working to capture the urban landscape, all while maintaining a safe social distance.”

Festivalgoers will be able to purchase food and drinks from local restaurants in social zones where art and musical performances will be taking place throughout the weekend.

The festival’s Calder Plaza performance stage and artisan village will be rescheduled for Sept. 17-19, which is the first weekend of ArtPrize. The details of the September live performance on Calder Plaza are being reviewed with the city of Grand Rapids and the Kent County Health Department. The delay will allow for participants more time to become vaccinated.

“The safety of our valued volunteers, artists, performers, contributors and the gathered audience remains the center of every decision we’ve made regarding Festival of the Arts providing a live in-person event,” Abbott said. “We certainly expect there to still be COVID-19 safety precautions in place this September. The arts leadership in Grand Rapids has learned a great deal on how to mitigate risk and still celebrate the awesome arts of the community. Trust that our leadership will be vigilant about a safe and successful live event in September.”

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