A successor to Arts-in-the-Park, RiverArtsFest celebrates more than 10 years in downtown memphis.
Located in Downtown Memphis, Tenn,, RiverArtsFest has successfully presented rich, cultural artistic diversity and talent from around the Mid-South and all 50 states, in what has become the longest-running fine arts festival in this region. The festival attracts thousands of visitors, and garners high praise with comments of “excellent examples of artistic creativity” and “great diversity in a high caliber of artists.”
A juried artist market featuring 180+ gallery quality artists in an open air setting
An invitational art show held off-site at Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects gallery
Live musical entertainment
Live street performances daily throughout the festival grounds
Culinary delights in two food court areas and beer and wine throughout the grounds
Local artists introducing new and innovative artistic techniques while interacting with the public
Hands On Art projects for kids of all ages encouraging them to explore their creative energies at interactive art stations
Our mission is to cultivate, promote, encourage and develop public appreciation and support of the visual and performing arts for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the citizens of Memphis and the surrounding communities in the Mid-South.
In fulfillment of our mission statement the RiverArtsFest organization seeks to produce an annual event located in Downtown Memphis. This annual festival which is open to the public features a juried exhibition in fine art, juried Artists Market, live entertainment, culinary treats, a residency program in the Shelby County Schools, and children’s art activities.
In 1984, Arts in the Park began in Overton Park as a program of Art Today, an organization of the Brooks Museum under the leadership of Richard Wilson Sr. The objective was to bring together the visual and performing arts for a weekend of dance, music, sculpture, song, paintings, fine eating and participation; and a fine arts exhibition. The success of the program led to the formation of a 501(c)3 corporation which came to be the Memphis Arts Festival. In 2003, the name was changed to Experience Art in Memphis, with the purpose to experience the art, to understand how it came to be, to enjoy all aspects of its creation, and to celebrate its existence. Since 1984, Memphis Arts Festival, through Arts in the Park, and RiverArtsFest has involved over 1,000,000 citizens of the community in all its programs. In 2006, RiverArtsFest emerged anew on South Main in the South Main Arts District where it operated successfully in the vibrate district through 2017. In 2018. the festival moved to a new location on Riverside Drive, between the bluffs and the Mississippi River.
RiverArtsFest, Inc. is recognized by the IRS and State of Tennessee as a tax exempt art services organization under IRS Code section 501(c)(3). All proceeds are used to produce RiverArtsFest and to support other artistic, non-profit activities in this region.
RiverArtsFest steering committee is comprised of individuals from both organizations along with former board members of Arts in the Park. While we come from diverse backgrounds, we all share a genuine desire to promote an appreciation of the arts by the citizens of our community.