In the face of crisis, art will happen.

That being said, it is with heavy hearts that the team behind the Salem Arts Festival has made the decision to cancel the 2020 Salem Arts Festival (scheduled for June 5-7), at least in its existing format. We know we are making the best choice we can to keep our guests, performers, makers, and all our participants safe given the current information on what we all need to do to keep people safe over the next couple of months. The festival will be back and we look forward to making the 2021 festival bigger, better, and stronger than ever.

UPDATE: After much deliberation and work behind the scenes we have created a “Socially Distant” version of the festival. Although we can’t gather together in person the Arts Fest committee was committed to supporting the creative community where we could and continue to enforce the fact that #artwillhappen. 

Arts and Culture are an integral part of day to day life in Salem and this annual festival has become a source of pride and revenue for hundreds of creative professionals and a major economic boost to the local community with over 6000 attendees annually.

What to expect and how you can participate!

The mural slam will happen! (Just not in public) The Salem Public Art Commission and the festival committee remained committed to paying out artists during this challenging time and we have selected a dozen local artists that will be creating new murals for Artists’ Row – Salem, MA! The artists will be sharing some of their process with you leading up to and during the virtual festival! Make sure and follow the festival on Instagram @salemartsfestival These murals will be installed the week AFTER the festival! Stay tuned for an announcement on the chosen artists!

Tiny Dances – Our friend and committee member Betsy Miller is working on 5 original dance pieces that are being safely recorded at some locations that you may recognize! These videos will be exclusively released on the weekend of the festival!

Special Augmented Reality engagements. We are excited to be working with Reality Lab® to bring you some exciting additions in what we are calling the Salem (AR)t Fest including contextual layered information of the murals and some dynamic options to bring some of the festival action to your own backyards! Stay tuned for more information and instructions.

Chalk Art – Celebrating the Salem Public Art Commissions Chalk Art Initiative we will be amplifying that week’s theme WHICH WILL BE CELEBRATING LOCAL ART AND THE FESTIVAL and asking people to make their own art… On Saturday, June 6th join Studioful Design and artist Maia Mattson by creating a chalk art masterpiece with the theme #artwillhappen (Which means it can be anything!)


We want the world to know that #artwillhappen and we are looking for you to submit some examples of what that means to you! We are looking for the following.

-Videos/Photos of art-making, performances, readings etc

-Information about live streams by local performers happening the weekend of the virtual festival

-Information on any art-making, art-loving events that may be scheduled for the weekend of the festival.


-Follow along on Social Media to see it all unfold and tag @salemartsfestival in any of your #artwillhappen happenings.

Thanks to all of the sponsors that have agreed to continue their support regardless of the main festival not happening. We will be using these funds to provide programming as it becomes appropriate and extend the celebration throughout the year!

If you are looking for resources and support for the creative community, please visit this page curated by Arts Fest co-producer Creative Collective. 



Salem Arts Festival Highlight Photos

Check out the 2019 Highlights here

The Salem Arts Festival is a joint project of Salem Main Streets and Creative Collective – Salem Main Streets is funded in part by the City of Salem, Kimberley Driscoll, Mayor and the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. The Salem Main Street Initiative is a preservation-based, volunteer-driven strategy for commercial district revitalization. The Creative Collective connects creativity, community and commerce through a series of traditional and non-traditional marketing efforts, advocacy, events and resources.