The 45th annual AmeriCU Arts and Crafts Festival returns this weekend to downtown Syracuse’s Columbus Circle and surrounding streets. Artists, live performers and food vendors from across the area and beyond will convene from Friday, July 24, through Sunday, July 26.
The festival is “a collaboration of several local businesses dedicated to showcasing arts and culture in the downtown Syracuse area,” said Alice Maggiore, a communications coordinator for the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, which runs the event. It’s one of the primary anchors of the committee’s arts celebrations known as ArtsWeek, along with this weekend’s Northeast Jazz and Wine Festival at Clinton Square and the Stage of Nations Blue Rain ECOfest at Hanover Square.
ArtsWeek has been hailed as one of the most prestigious arts events of its kind in the Northeast. The Downtown Committee is anticipating a turnout of more than 50,000 visitors for the Arts and Crafts Festival alone.
Hundreds of artists from 22 states as well as Canada applied for festival space; the committee whittled the candidates down to 165 artisans who will get to display their wares. Expect a variety of both decorative and functional artwork, in both traditional two-dimensional art forms such as painting, drawing and photography, as well as three-dimensional works including sculpture, glass, ceramics, jewelry and leather. This year’s festival also spotlights a new trend: artworks created from found objects, naturally occurring material and recycled components.
Performers will include a range of singer-songwriters, street performers and ethnic dance/performance groups. Look for the unique performing artist Zeke Leonard, a Syracusan who creates musical instruments out of repurposed objects. And bring your appetite for the plethora of food vendors, with everything from Sno-Cones to ethnic restaurants serving traditional cultural favorites.
Funding for the event is provided by AmeriCU Credit Union as well as grants from Sen. John A. DeFrancisco and CNY Arts. “We are also pleased to announce that Dunkin’ Donuts will be helping to feed and caffeinate our artists and performers with coffee and pastries each morning,” Maggiore said.
The Arts and Crafts Festival is one of the signature events that helps further the Downtown Committee’s mission of improving the city’s image and economy. A recent study showed that the festival pumps $3 million back into the local economy.