May 27, 2021

10 Things to Look Forward to at Salem Arts Festival 2021

by Felicia Cheney

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Despite the the stress of a global pandemic, art has continued to unite us across many diverse communities. Salem Arts Festival, taking place June 4th through 6th, will be a relaxing and engaging get-away from that tiring virtual Zoom fatigue.

Both residents and visitors are welcomed to attend this fantastic festival where local artists and businesses will shine in the spotlight. With a diverse collection of engaging entertainment opportunities, the Salem Arts Fest is welcoming to people of all ages from kindergartners to grandparents. Here are some of the activities you can enjoy!

1. Cult Classic Screenings at the re-opened Cinema Salem

Cinema Salem will reopen under new leadership with a new vision  — a second act to follow and build on a 14-year run as Salem’s dedicated independent cinema. Throughout the Salem Arts Fest, Cinema Salem will be screening the films Jumanji and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Be sure not to miss the opportunity to see these cult classics on the big screen! You can learn more about these screenings at

2. Community Gallery Flower Making

On May 29th and 30th from 12:00pm-4:00pm, local artist and owner of Grace & Diggs, Linda Mullen, is calling on the community to join her in constructing large flowers out of marine-grade shrink wrap. These simple-to-make flowers offer an opportunity for self-expression and reflection on the last year — what we have lost, what we are grateful for, and what we have learned. Everyone’s unique flowers will be used to create a large installation piece during the Salem Arts Festival. This is a great opportunity to exercise creativity for both individuals and families, young and old. learn about the event here:

3. Screenings from Raw Art Works Lynn’s Real to Reel team

On Saturday, June 5th, a rotation of youth films from @rawartworkslynn Real to Reel team will be offered for free viewing.

Raw Art Works, aka RAW, is a youth arts organization rooted in art therapy. Located in Lynn, MA, RAW uses art to ask kids “what is really going on” in their lives, giving them the tools to create in unexpected ways, and envision new possibilities for their future.

Before the screenings on June 5th, check out some Real to Reel films here!

4. A Wide Assortment of Street Fair Vendors

Salem Arts Fest will feature vendors on Derby Square, Charlotte Forten Park and the Salem Common. Explore all the nooks and don’t forget to pop into the local stores as so many of them also feature local artisans!

5. The Alquemie Project Public Viewing

Be sure to stop by Derby Street to view the Alquemie Project The Alquemie Project is dedicated to the belief in the transformative power of art to support humanity and build community. This juried art exhibition is sponsored by Jolie Tea Company, Salem, MA. On June 4th and 5th, public viewing and public voting will take place. Award winners are announced and prizes awarded on June 6th.

6. Enjoy the sights at the Salem Art Walk

Rather than a centralized gallery, smaller galleries and shows featuring local artists will be present in businesses and storefronts throughout the Downtown. The Salem Arts Association is programming their first Salem Art Walk, where artwork by SAA artists will be featured in storefront windows around down. We are working with local photographer Susanne Bothe to highlight the humans behind the local businesses we know and love. These gorgeous portraits will be on display during the festival. Multiple community partners are working on their own initiatives for the weekend of the Festival, so keep your eyes peeled for art everywhere!

7. Incipit Spring Juried Exhibition

Incipit Spring, a group show co-organized with Salem Arts Association, will feature the work of local artists and their interpretations of renewal, growth, and the season itself. This juried exhibition will be the first of its kind displayed within the walls of The Salem Art Gallery. Be sure to check it out!

8. Free admission to the Satanic Temple

During the Salem Arts Fest, the Satanic Temple will be offering free admission.  The Satanic Temple of Salem often hosts and performs formal ceremonial events, lectures, screenings, and meetings. Stop by during business hours to take a tour of the gallery and pop by the gift shop. Don’t forget to view the infamous Baphomet statue while you’re there!

9. Pick up Some Crafting Goodie Bags

Drop by the Salem Public Library’s front steps on June 5th from 9-5 to pick up your ‘Crafting Goody Bag’ (while supplies last). 

This is a free-form, no instructions, craft kit! It’s up to you to use your creativity to come up with your own creation! 

If you would like to show it off and have a virtual viewing, take a photo with your phone, and tag @salemartsfestival and @salemmalibrary with the hashtag #ArtWillHappen! Happy Art Fest and keep creating!

This event is free and open to all ages.

10. Listen to a Performance by John S. Hall

John S. Hall is a poet, spoken word artist, musician (if ukulele counts) and singer-songwriter. He has released numerous albums of varying quality and popularity, including nine albums with various incarnations of his band King Missile.John has appeared on Def Poetry Jam (HBO), The United States of Poetry (PBS) and Beavis and Butthead (MTV). 

Recent and current musical projects include: Silk Cut, The New Trout, F*cksongs, Unusual Squirrel, and Sensation Play

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