Downtown is just days away from being filled with an eclectic array of original artworks and live music for Artsplosure: The Raleigh Arts Festival. The annual, free event on Fayetteville St. will return for the first time in the spring since 2019 on Sat., May 21 + Sun., May 22. Here’s what to expect this weekend.
To curate the art market, a blind jury selected 170 fine artists and craftspeople out of a record-breaking 500+ applicants. The market will feature art in 10 different categories: ceramics, fiber art, glass, jewelry, metal, other 2D, other 3D, painting, photography, and wood. Did we mention that everything is for sale?
The market will be open from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday + 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday. The first hour of Sunday’s market (10 a.m.-11 a.m.) is specifically for visitors with accessibility needs.
Don’t miss this Instagram photo-op. Giant, rainbow bubble artwork originally from Australia is popping up near City Plaza. This is the first time “Evanescent Bubbles” by artist Atelier Sisu have been shown in the US (they’ve previously appeared in Taiwan, Lithuania, and Greece).
National and regional musicians will perform live during the two-day festival. Grab a beer from R&D Brewing + hang out by the Morgan St. stage. Here’s the lineup:
- Shrubb (11 a.m.-12 p.m.)
- Lou Hazel (12:30-1:30 p.m.)
- Walker Lukens (2-3 p.m.)
- Sam Outlaw (3:30-4:30 p.m.)
- Abraham Alexander (5-6 p.m.)
- Country Soul Songbook (6:30-7:30 p.m.)
- David Scott Binanay (10-10:30 a.m.)
- Bill and the Belles (11 a.m.-12 p.m.)
- Joslyn & The Sweet Compression (12:30-1:30 p.m.)
- The Minks (2-3 p.m.)
- Susto (3:30-4:30 p.m.)
- Indigo De Souza (5-6 p.m.)
More activities 🎙️
In addition to the art, music, and bubbles, don’t miss the Poetry Fox (give him a word and he’ll write you a one-of-a-kind poem) or the Song Confessional (your anonymous story could be a next hit song). The Triangle Potters Guild and Woodturners Guild will have live demonstrations of their craft.
Support local middle and high school students from around Wake County by checking out the student art show in the PNC Plaza lobby. The exhibit features 150 works of art from 27 different schools and is available to view now through the end of Artsplosure from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Don’t miss the NC Rural Center’s “Rural Through A Different Lens” project, which takes a closer look into rural North Carolina’s history. Photojournalist and storyteller Hanna Wondmagegn will lead the oral and visual storytelling experience.
Bring your little ones to this kid-centric section of the festival. There will be a magic show, musical performances, and crafts like paper marbling, foam soap prints + community weaving.
Artsplosure is partnering with Dram & Draught to host an invite-only preview party of the “Evanescent Bubbles” installation on Fri., May 20. Enter their giveaway by Wed., May 18 at 12 p.m. for a chance to win two tickets.