Back on the canvas
Fort Worth's most cherished downtown festival is happily springing back from dark COVID times: Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival is planning a grand return with a blockbuster lineup of artists, musicians, and food — all happening April 7-10.
It's the first time the outdoor arts festival, which annually attracts 400,000 people downtown, is being held since 2019 due to ... well, we all know. The 2022 edition marks its 35th year.
According to a March 29 release, this year's event will feature more than 200 jury-selected local, regional, and national visual artists; live music on four stages; authentic local cuisine, craft beer pavilions, and wine tastings; and a revamped family-friendly “Makers Zone” — across 18 square blocks throughout downtown.
And, in an exciting new development in this modern, "contactless" world, the festival is eliminating the use of old-fashioned and wasteful "coupons" and accepting credit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay at all food, beverage, and merchandise locations. Cash and credit cards can be used to purchase artwork.
Main St., produced by Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives, Inc. and presented by PNC Bank, is free and open to the public. (A "Friends of the Festival" pass, starting at $425, provides a VIP-level experience.)
“The original hope that Main St. would someday become a multi-faceted festival that would transform downtown Fort Worth into an outdoor gallery and concert stage has not only come to life but has exceeded what anyone thought was possible,” says Nina Petty, chairman of the Festivals and Events Committee for Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives, Inc. in the release.
Here's a closer look at what to expect, according to the organizers:
Art and artists
The centerpiece of the festival, this year's "outdoor gallery" will feature 212 juried artists selected from more than 1,000 applications to exhibit their work, organizers say. (That means only about one in seven who apply are accepted.) An estimated $4 million worth of art is expected to be sold across 15 artistic media categories, including sculpture, painting, photography, wood, glass, jewelry, metalwork, printmaking, mixed media, and more, they note. Returning favorite artists include back-to-back Best of Show-winner Richard Wilson from Greenville, North Carolina; metalsmith Dan McCabe from Prescott, Arizona; and printmaker Marina Terauds from North Branch, Michigan. More than 20 local “emerging artists” will be exhibiting at the event for the first time. More information here.
Four different stages will stay moving and grooving all weekend, featuring big names from country music, jazz, R&B, swing, and more. Headliners include Texas singer/songwriting powerhouse Josh Weathers, South African Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist Jonathan Butler, soulful Southern singer/songwriter Tanner Usrey, jazz singer Tatiana “LadyMay” Mayfield, Latin rock band Del Castillo, Fort Worth favorite Grady Spencer & The Work, and multiple performances from multimedia troupe Squonk Opera. Returning is the popular “Hear Fort Worth Stage,” where Fort Worth’s most popular singer-songwriters and aspiring musicians — such as Van Darien, Matthew McNeal, Panther City Riots, Armond Vance, and Olemano — will perform live, the release says. More information here.
Food and drink
Both local chefs and longtime festival vendors will be cooking daily at five different festival food courts, organizers say. Attendees can chow down on authentic Texas barbecue, spicy fried chicken, Louisiana crawfish, German bratwurst, handmade crepes, zesty steak fajitas, original corn dogs, and more. Returning will be the popular Imagery Wine Experience hosted by City Center, which offers wines-by-the-glass and daily wine tastings; multiple Craft Brew Pavilions will be set up serving award-winning craft beers, as well. More information here.
The revamped “TCC Makers Zone,” located at the north end of Main Street across from the Tarrant County Courthouse, will offer kids of all ages activities that focus on invention, innovation, technology, creativity, and curiosity, the release says. Think: invention stations, LEGO building, sand art, caricatures, face painting, and state-of-the-art technology displays from the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Bell Helicopter, and Lockheed Martin. More information here.
Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival will take place 10 am-10 pm April 7, 10 am-11 pm April 8-9, and 10 am-8 pm April 10 along Main Street and surrounding areas in downtown Fort Worth.
Note that in another change this year, Main St. events will not take place in Sundance Square Plaza; a separate event called Fort Worth Art Fair, presented by Sundance Square, is happening in the plaza the same weekend. According to the event's website, it is unaffiliated with Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival and will offer its own lineup of art and artists, musicians, and food.