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Top 5 Summer Festivals for Artists across the United States

Updated: Jun 19

Whether you’re a creative artist, collector, or casual fan, the United States boasts an impressive lineup of summer art festivals that will tickle your fancy. These festivals provide an excellent avenue to admire incredible artworks, network with other artists and industry players, find inspiration, or generally have a jolly good time. But with each event offering a unique appeal and a promise of bliss, which ones are the best to visit? Here, we highlight our top five picks and why we think they’re worth your time: 

Best for Craftspeople: 

Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

With an unwavering commitment to preserving traditional folk art from all over the world, the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market comes up every July in New Mexico. The market features more than 150 master artists who present a wide array of traditional crafts and art forms. From wood carving to beadwork to pottery and metalwork, this market celebrates folk art in a manner no other festival can.  

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market is its focus on economic empowerment. The event aims to transform the economic lot of artists and communities, allowing artists to retain 90% of their sales. Beyond the economic benefits, this festival also serves as a platform for cultural exchange and visitors can freely interact with artists and exchange ideas about their works, different cultures, and the diverse nature of folk art traditions. 

Best for Digital Artists: 

SIGGRAPH Conference-  

Although the SIGGRAPH is far from a traditional art festival,  it’s the place to be if you’re a digital artist or digital art enthusiast. The conference typically takes place in late July or early August, and it features an impressive lineup of events for digital artists and computer graphics professionals.

Whether you’re a digital artist, game developer, animator, or researcher, you’ll marvel at how cutting-edge technologies are explored to create stunning digital art. The conference also features a futuristic exhibition stand where artists display awe-inspiring innovations in the world of digital art, virtual reality, animation, and augmented reality. It’s also worth noting that SIGGRAPH offers a diverse range of courses, workshops, and tutorials for artists looking to hone their craft in the world of digital art. 

Burning Man- Black Rock Desert Nevada

Another fantastic summer festival that artists throughout the United States should consider attending is the Burning Man- Black Rock Desert Nevada. Held every August in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, Burning Man is a week-long experiment in community and art. Participants come together to create a temporary city where everyone is welcome to express themselves and admire the numerous works on offer. 

The festival pays special attention to artists with new or radical ideas, making it an excellent place to experiment with your art and get inspired by fellow artists. You’ll see huge interactive art pieces on display in the vast desert and also experience “The Burn,” which is by far the festival’s high point. Attendees come together to burn the giant wooden structure known as “The Man”, symbolizing the festival’s spirit. 

Artisphere- Greenville, South Carolina 

Since its inception in 2005, Artisphere has grown to become one of the most glamorous art festivals in the region. The festival takes place over a weekend in May, attracting artists and patrons from all over the world. Patrons can meet artists one-on-one and shop for unique pieces while enjoying great food and live performances. 

Part of Artisphere’s unique appeal comes from its juried art show that features artists from various spheres. The show typically features different categories including photography, painting, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, wood, and mixed media. The diversity provides a platform for artists from all walks of life to showcase their works while also giving a chance for less-heralded artists to shine. 

Cherry Creek Arts Festival- Colorado

This festival is a three-day event that takes place every July in Colorado. Participants from all around the world gather to celebrate performing, creative, visual, and culinary arts. Year in and year out, more than 250 artists gather to display unique paintings, jewelry, ceramic sculptures, and much more. 

Attendees also enjoy live performances, artist demonstrations, and interactive sessions while engaging in hands-on experiences. Importantly, this festival also has a range of activities that are suitable for kids, making it the ideal festival for families. 

Final Thoughts

Festivals are an excellent avenue for creative artists to explore new ideas, meet other artists, showcase their work, and hopefully make some money. Whether you’re interested in giant sculptures, modern paintings, digital art, or live performances, you can rest assured there’s a festival for you in the United States this summer. Pack your bags, grab your supplies, book your seats, and get ready for an unforgettable journey exploring the world of art through festivals.

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