This weekend, in its 28th year, the Cherry Creek Arts Festival will once again highlight artists from around North America. This non-profit arts festival is held annually to promote and support art education and provide access to art experiences.

Photo courtesy of Frank Montanez.

Taking place right in the heart of the Cherry Creek neighborhood, it occupies over six streets in the Cherry Creek North shopping district. This massive festival expects as many as 350,000 visitors over three days.

Admission to the CCAF is completely free and offers a variety of activities and “Artivities” for attendees to keep themselves engaged.

Some of these activities include live musical performances running throughout the day and into the night. The major musical performance of the weekend, as well as the only ticketed performance, is on Saturday night. The band Uprooted, a group started by Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root, will take the stage for two hours to cap off the last night of the festival.

Photo courtesy of Liz Levy.

Some of the other “artivities” available to visitors include a community mural allowing anyone and everyone to leave their mark on this enormous painting.

Along with the 14 artistic styles present at the festival, the culinary arts are a major component of the CCAF. The festival is complete with over 20 local Denver eateries. The eateries present include some of Denver’s most popular restaurants as well as several food trucks. Denver’s own Barbed Wire Reef, Tacos with Altitude and Repicci’s Italian Ice are just some of the great food options available.

Photo courtesy of JoAnne Vaughn.

Although this festival offers all these interactive and engaging opportunities, its main objective is to promote all forms of art from around the country. This year’s festival will feature 284 exhibiting artists representing 38 different states.

These exhibiting artists were chosen from a pool of 2,100 applicants. The festival tasked a panel of five jurors with choosing the artists for this year’s festivals. Several of these artists are previous award winners at the CCAF, and two of them call Colorado home.

Thirty-six of those artists are located in Colorado, the most of any state, and 14 from Denver. These artists represent 14 different art forms including woodworking, glasswork, painting, digital media, ceramics, photography and many more.

One of those exhibiting artists is Michael Dowling. Dowling, a Denver native and experienced contemporary artists, has been attending the CCAF since he was a kid. This weekend he will show off his own art at the festival for the first time.

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The CCAF is a great opportunity for these artists to showcase their work in front of a massive audience. Fellow exhibiting ceramics artist Lori Piecyk describes the festival as, “a great way to showcase quality art and craft to the public.”

All of these artists will have their own booths across the festival grounds, with some of their art available for purchase. The variety of art among these booths will give visitors plenty of national and local art to choose from.

Photo courtesy of Frank Montanez.

Almost half of the 36 Colorado artists are located right here in Denver. Dowling acknowledged the large number of Denver artists at the festival saying, “Some of the best quality work and most interesting and compelling work is coming out of Denver.”

The CCAF also selects several emerging artists to add to their list of exhibiting artists. Denver-based painter and former Emerging Artist selection Jessica Magee said, “The Emerging artist program gives novice artists an opportunity to be part of their first festival and the CCAF provides guidance and assistance in that journey.”

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From July 6 to July 8, this festival will take over the Cherry Creek neighborhood area. The CCAF is one of just a few Colorado events that promote art education. Started by the CherryArts Education foundation, the CCAF has taken over as one of the top art festivals in both Colorado as well as the whole country. “I think that any city can benefit from events and programming that promote the arts,” said three-time exhibiting artist and jeweler Nikki Nation.

The Cherry Creek Arts Festival is the first of two arts festivals that CherryArts Education will hold this year. They will also hold the Stanley Arts Festival at Stanley Marketplace this September.

Whether you are a devoted art enthusiast or just someone who loves outdoor festivals, the Cherry Creek Arts Festival is worth checking out. Enjoy the variety of art on display, listen to any of the great musical acts, and try some of Denver’s best cuisine this weekend at Cherry Creek.

Cherry Creek Arts Festival takes place in the Cherry Creek North Shopping District, from 2nd to 3rd Avenues, on the six streets between Clayton and Steele Streets from July 6 to 8. Entry is free.

All photos courtesy of Cherry Creek Arts Festival.

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