There’s a brand new board of directors at the helm of this year’s River City Arts Fest, but they have some seasoned pros backing them up as advisors, creating a new dynamic for the seventh iteration of the popular festival. They have officially announced Saturday, July 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as the date and time for this year’s event and are excited to show the community what they’ve come up with.
“We freshened things up a little bit in terms of how it’s laid out,” says board member Lori Andrews, pointing to the map of available vendor spots at Impressions Custom Framing & Art Supplies on Shoppers Row – spaces which are quickly filling up with coloured dots, indicating they’ve been taken already by a local artist.
Instead of taking up essentially the entirety of Shoppers Row this year from St Anns to the Royal Bank at 13th Avenue, organizers have decided to instead begin the street takeover at the corner of Shoppers Row and 10th Avenue and stretch it down 11th Avenue to the Community Centre and Healthyway Foods. They still have some space up 16th Avenue towards Royal Bank, as well, but are only planning on heading that way as far as the library, unless overflow is needed due to demand for booth space from local artists.
“It’s a new vendor layout on the actual street, as well,” Andrews says, “that should increase the flow of people and increase the visibility of the artists, which will be nice.”
Instead of having the vendors and artists on either side of a central thoroughfare of pedestrian traffic, this year the artists will be in the middle with the visitors going around either side of them.
They have also added a few new activities to this year’s event, including what’s being billed as The Human Library Initiative and the Paint the Festival Community Mural Project.
“Those are going to be so much fun,” Andrews says excitedly. “I’ve got a bunch of seven-by-nine canvases that people will be able to come paint their of vision of Campbell River on, and we’ll take them all and adhere to a mural that will circulate to various locations and events around town in the future, whether that’s the Community Centre or Tyee Plaza or wherever. We’ll have all the paint and the palates and it’s all free.”
As always, there will be over 100 local artists showing off their creativity, much of which will be available for sale, as well as clowns, jugglers and other street performers, a stage for live music, various food trucks and concession offerings and a kids’ play area.
Anyone interested in participating as an artist or vendor is asked to go to rivercityartsfest.com to register, or they can do so in person at Impressions Custom Framing & Art Supplies on Shoppers Row. They’ve decided not to raise the price for artists wishing to show their work despite costs of everything else rising, so booths are still only $65.
Previous years have seen over 2,000 people flow through the festival, organizers say, so it’s no wonder that vendor spaces are filling up fast.
“We’re thrilled to see registration filling up faster than other years,” says festival chair Melissa March, adding that people are clearly excited to once again be a part of the event.
“It started off with a good bang, that’s for sure,” agrees Andrews, “but we’ve still got some room.”