Festival of the Arts is on for this summer, but it will look a little different.

Last year, the half-a-century old celebration of art and music was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, Festival of the Arts has made some adjustments.

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Organizers announced today that two events will be held this summer, one at the usual time in early June, and another in September during Art Prize.

"Plein Air", which means "outdoors" in French will take place in downtown Grand Rapids June 4-6, 2021. The event will include musicians and landscape artists in designated social zones and throughout downtown Grand Rapids. Attendees can purchase food and drinks from local restaurants and enjoy them in social zones where live art and musical performances will be taking place all weekend long.     

David Abbott, executive director for Festival of the Arts says, they've been working closely with city and health officials to create an event that will be safe and enjoyable:

 “Many of the traditional Festival activities have been put on hold this year due to the pandemic. 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.”

Festival’s Calder Plaza performance stage and artisan village will be rescheduled for September 17-19, 2021, which is the first weekend of ArtPrize.

Organizers believe delaying the live performance stage to September will allow the event to resemble more closely what artists, performers, volunteers, and audience participants have come to expect from Festival of Arts.

Abbott says,

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. 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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