Cleveland and Northeast Ohio have a rich history of arts and culture. In the summer, art comes outside in dozens of arts festivals. Some are serious juried shows; some feature up-and-coming local artists; all are interesting and fun. Check out our favorite area summer arts festivals.
Held in early June each year, Gordan Square Arts District Day celebrates that west side neighborhood's rebirth as an art and cultural district. The one-day event features live theater, live music, and visual art. Admission is free.
The Waterloo neighborhood of Collinwood has quietly become a mecca for local artists with dozens of art galleries and quirky shops along Waterloo Road. The one-day festival celebrates this development in late June with a street party that features live music, food and art vendors, street performers, and lots of fun.
Art by the Falls
Chagrin Falls' "Art by the Falls" is held the second Saturday and Sunday of June each year. This outdoor fine arts and craft festival sets up along the Chagrin River in Riverside Park from Bell to Orange Ave. The festival, sponsored by the Valley Arts Center, is free to the public.
Metered and municipal parking is available throughout the downtown shopping district. Retailers in the picturesque town offer promotions to coincide with the festival.
Shaker Heights Arts and Music Festival
The Shaker Heights Arts and Music Festival (formerly Craftfair at Hathaway Brown) is a juried art show, held at Farnsleigh and Van Aken Boulevard in Shaker Heights over a weekend in mid-June each summer.
The more than 200 artists feature works in oil, watercolors, acrylics, textiles, wood, clay, fiber, metals, and other media. Most works are offered for sale and refreshments are available. This show carries a modest admission charge.
Murray Hill Art Walk
Little Italy's Murray Hill art district comes alive in mid-June for the summer art walk. Dozens of art galleries and studios, some normally closed to the public, welcome visitors to view (and buy) paintings, glass art, pottery, textile art, and other art work. Many locations offer snacks and beverages to browsers. The centerpiece of the district is the Murray Hill School, now home to three floors of artists' studios.
Boston Mills ArtFest
One of the most popular art events of the year, the Boston Mills ArtFest is held at the Boston Mills Ski Resort, in Peninsula, over two consecutive weekends, one of them being July 4th weekend. The show features different artists each week and draws participants from all over the country. Live music and tasty refreshment add to the festive atmosphere.
Cain Park Arts Festival
Cain Park, located at Lee Rd. and Superior Ave. in Cleveland Heights, is the site of this popular mid-summer arts festival. Held in mid-July each year, this free festival attracts over 150 local, nationwide, and international artists. The festival is consistently ranked as one of the top 25 art festivals in the US and includes live entertainment and a variety of tasty food from local restaurants.
Akron Arts Expo
The Akron Arts Expo, held each year in mid-July, is a two-day free event that features over 150 juried artists, working with a variety of media, including oils, acrylics, wood, fiber, metal, and glass. The Expo, based in Hardesty Park on W. Market St., also includes live entertainment, food and beverages, and a lively children's play area.
Lakewood Arts Festival
This popular arts festival stretches along Detroit Avenue in Lakewood from Belle to Elmwood on the first Saturday in August each summer. The free juried art show features over 150 painters, photographers, printmakers, ceramists, sculptors, and more. There is also live music, kid's activities, and food vendors.
Chardon Arts Festival
Held on the Chardon Village Square, the first Sunday in August each summer, this art festival draws over 100 artists in a variety of media from all around the region. Admission is free. Chardon is about 45 minutes each of downtown Cleveland.
Medina Affair on the Square
Held in late August each summer, this free art festival fills Medina's downtown city square. Dozens of artists, in a variety of media, offer their creations for sale. There's also food, live music in the square's gazebo, and activities for kids. Admission is free.
Ingenuity Fest, held in downtown Cleveland in September, is three days of creativity and innovation. There is a festival village with visual, performance, and techno art; dance performances; and three stages with continuous live music. The unique aspect of Ingenuity Fest is the mixture of technology and art to form some startling and exciting combinations.
Crocker Park Arts Festival
Held each year for two days during a weekend in June, the Crocker Park Arts Festival, located at the Crocker Park shopping and dining mecca, features more than 130 artists and exhibitors from around the country. Admission is free.
Willoughby Arts Fest
The Willoughby Arts Fest is held in historic downtown Willoughby in mid-July each year. The event features more than 125 local, regional and national artists. Admission is free.
Painsville Art in the Park
Located in Veteran's Park in Painesville, this August arts fair features 45+ local and regional artists. Admission is free.