In the face of crisis, art will happen. It just needs to take some different shapes this year.

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.

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.

The entire team does, however, feel a responsibility to consider the festival’s important role and ability to serve as a platform for art-making and community healing, so we are committed to demonstrating that art is still happening here in Salem. Stay tuned over the next few months as we encourage all of you to create and explore different ways that art can continue to bring us together as a community. In the meantime, thank you for your continued support and creativity – we cannot wait to make art with you all again!

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. 

The Salem Arts Festival promotes the arts in downtown Salem through a collaborative festival for residents and visitors providing opportunities to highlight the existing artist community and encourage general community participation in the arts. The festival is celebrating 12 years and regularly draws over 8,000 visitors. The festival is looking for art and performance for the sophisticated art patron as well as for the art novice, including interactive events for children. It will engage participants of diverse backgrounds and ages by reaching out to current art patrons, local students, and the community at large.

The 2020 Salem Arts Festival, running from Friday, June 5th through Sunday, June 7th, will celebrate the arts in all its forms: painting, photography, sculpture, installation, dance, music, writing, film, new media, performance, theater, poetry, culinary, visual art and more. The 2020 festival will consist of a gallery of juried artists’ work in Old Town Hall, performance in an outdoor stage venue, indoor performances, a street fair, and opportunities for the community to actively participate in the arts. Individuals are welcome to contribute at multiple venues and events.

The Salem Arts Festival is organized and planned by Salem Main Streets, Creative Collective, and many members of the community volunteering their time.

The Salem Arts Festival is offered free to all! We rely on volunteers to bring this wonderful festival to the community. If you are interested in helping with the organization of the Salem Arts Festival, contact Kylie Sullivan at or (978) 744-0004 x115.

The SAF Organizing Committee:
John Andrews, Creative Collective
Kate Babcock, Hunter Creative Labs
Jim Bostick, Salem Arts Association
Karen Gahagan, Salem State University
Julie Barry, City of Salem
Leslie Levesque, The Phoenix School
Betsy Miller, Salem State University
Linda Mullen, Grace & Diggs
Karen Scalia, Salem Food Tours
Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets
Caryn Boehm, Peabody Essex Museum

With support from
Andrew Buonfiglio, OctoCog
Kate Fox and Stacia Cooper, Destination Salem
Kevin Levesque, Berklee College of Music
Joey Nicotera, Retonica
Christopher Wilson, SkewSound

Don’t miss these other great cultural festivals throughout the year:

Salem Film Fest
Fiesta De Arte
North Shore Pride Festival
Salem Jazz & Soul Festival
Salem Maritime Festival
Salem Literary Fest
Heritage Days Salem
Haunted Happenings

You can learn more about the awesome things happening around Salem on Destination Salem and across the North Shore on Creative North Shore.