By Janelle Fisher
City Pages Editor
GREEN BAY – Downtown Green Bay, Inc. will fill the streets of downtown Green Bay with art of all kinds next weekend, July 28-30, as the organization prepares to put on the first ever ArtFest Green Bay.
The event will feature three days of visual art, music, food and more, with an art fair, color run/walk, areas for arts education and hands-on experiences, culinary arts demonstrations, a live art competition, three stages for an expansive line-up of musicians and performers and a variety of food vendors.
All of this, according to Samantha Mirkes, marketing manager for Downtown Green Bay, Inc., is in an attempt to give the community an opportunity to experience and support the arts.
“ArtFest Green Bay was created to bring art to the heart of our city,” she said. “Historically, we know that artists and the community love an urban arts festival because they enjoy the vibe that is created by bringing arts and culture together to the streets of a vibrant downtown. The downtown business community encouraged us to create an event that supports the arts and creates a positive economic impact to the Downtown District.”
So far, Mirkes said, ArtFest has been embraced by both community members interested in attending and artists interested in participating.
“The response to ArtFest has been overwhelmingly positive and there has been a buzz of excitement in the downtown community,” she said. “Our color run/walk has reached its max registration. Many other community organizations reached out and have an important role in the event. Local and regional artists are anxious to showcase their talents. Many people have volunteered, and we encourage anyone who wants to get involved in ArtFest to sign up on our website (downtowngreenbay.com/Artfest).”
Mirkes said Downtown Green Bay, Inc. plans to continue to host ArtFest every year moving forward.
“We plan to hold ArtFest annually on the last weekend in July,” she said. “One goal of ArtFest is to create an event that has regional appeal and brings connectivity and momentum to Downtown Green Bay. Another goal for ArtFest is to provide attendees with unique interactive art experiences. There will be classes, hands-on activities, a color run/walk, demonstrations, live music, dance lessons, and a competitive art component called Art Wars.”
Although the event only lasts one weekend, Mirkes said the intent of Downtown Green Bay, Inc. is for each year’s festival to also make a lasting contribution to downtown Green Bay’s art scene.
“Each year, ArtFest intends to leave a permanent mark on downtown Green Bay with a public art installation,” she said. “This year, during the festival, the community is being asked to help create Green Bay’s first clay mural, which will be installed at 238 Walnut Street. later this year. Community members will make their mark and experience clay by creating texture, adding dimension, and applying colorful underglazes to the mural. Downtown Green Bay, Inc. received a sponsorship from Capital Credit Union, and was awarded a $6,000 grant through the Wisconsin Arts Board’s Creative Community grant program. This statewide program encourages arts education, cultural understanding, and community arts development and provides support for projects that are done with the community rather than just for the community.”
For those who plan on attending the event, Mirkes said there are several ways people can find information and optimize their time at the event:
“People can make the most of their ArtFest experience by checking out the ArtFest website prior to their visit (downtowngreenbay.com/Artfest),” she said. “It has everything they need to know including schedules, lineups, parking, and other event details. When on grounds, if anyone has any questions, or would like an event brochure, they can visit the information booth on the corner of Cherry Street and Adams Street.”