Another Rhode Island summer tradition, the Wickford Art Festival returns to full strength this weekend.
Although impacted by the pandemic, the festival was able to proceed last summer, at a new socially distanced location, however, with fewer than usual exhibitors.
“2020 was canceled… last year was the first festival not held downtown in the village,” explained Festival Director Brian O’Malley in a recent interview. “We had to move the festival up to the field to comply with the regulations that were in place.” For 2022, the festival will return July 9-10, to Wilson Park, adjacent to downtown Wickford, where it was held in 2021.
There are approximately 200 exhibitors who will be at the festival including two high school students who were Wickford Art Association scholarship winners. Artists will showcase their work in a variety of mediums including “ceramics, wood, wearable and decorative fiber, furniture, fine jewelry, drawing, etching, glass, mixed media, painting (watercolors, oil, gouache, acrylic), photography, printmaking, pyrography, and sculpture.”
Festival-goers are encouraged to visit the village of Wickford and support local merchants.
“There was a lot of debate on whether the festival should go back into the village, the idea is to kind of connect it organically to the village,” explained O’Malley. “What’s going to make this year’s festival a little more unique, is that we’re working with the Wickford merchants to connect the field to the village. The field connects to a nature path which runs right into the village.”
“The nature path leads you from the back of the field where all the artists are going to be, at Wilson Park, it connects right onto Main Street, we’re trying to create these organic pathways that leave people walking right into the village, so it’s not a separate entity.”
“This year we’re going to have a lot more food at Wilson Park, more food trucks are showing up, so it’s a larger festival. It starts at the field and continues into town, where there will be entertainment on the streets. It’s one big festival,” added O’Malley.
The two-day festival is expected to bring over 50,000 visitors. Parking is available at Wilson Park and Wickford Middle School. A complimentary shuttle will run from Wickford Middle School to Wilson Park. Parking is also available at the town’s public lots and permitted street parking on West Main Street, Main Street, and Brown Street. Click here for more on the Wickford Art Festival.