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ArtFest returns to in-person event, museum grounds

Courtesy of ArtFest/Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture

Spokane's juried art show had had a 15-year run in Coeur d'Alene Park.

One of Spokane’s annual public events returns this weekend after two years online.

ArtFest, the juried art fair sponsored by the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, is moving back to the museum campus after 15 years in Coeur d’Alene Park.

Museum executive Director Wes Jessup says the show is coming back to its original venue.

“You know, here’s an opportunity to rebrand it, recreate it in a way that makes better sense for our organization, for the MAC museum. So we’re going to be bringing people to the MAC campus and it’ll be a little smaller and we’re actually looking forward to that because we’ve been able to curate and put together a really wonderful roster of artists. I think it’s a pretty tight show," he said.

Jessup says the event had grown to be too large and unwieldy in the park.

“We’re able to control a lot more here and that’s important. It’s important to be able to really serve the artists that are coming all the way to Spokane. Many of them are not from Spokane. They travel in, they set up their booth. We want to make sure they have a great experience," he said. "And then, we think that being on the campus also offers our visitors more amenities than they had at the park.”

Those amenities include free tours of the Campbell House and the chance to walk in and view the museum’s exhibits, though you’ll need to pay the admissions fee for that. Music groups will perform in the museum’s amphitheater.

Jessup says he’s glad the museum is able to bring back the event in-person, though it may feel a little strange.

“This year was different because it’s the first year that arts festivals are coming back. It’s funny, over Covid, we’ve noticed that a lot of artists have just gone online and so they’re like, ‘Well, I’m just doing this on Etsy’ or whatever. And we’re like, ‘No, you have to come back to the festival.’ But we still got great, we have a great selection. We did have a nice group of applicants," he said.

About 50 artists will show their wares.

ArtFest will be open from 10 am to 7 pm on Friday and Saturday, 10-to-5 on Sunday.

Parking is limited in the museum’s residential neighborhood in Browne’s Addition. Museum officials say, if you drive, you may have to park blocks away and walk. They urge you to walk, ride your bike, take the bus or use a ride-share option.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.