This weekend, Artscape turns 30–the free festival came to life on a cool, rainy day in the summer of 1982. While this weekend probably won’t offer the same reprieve from the heat, it does guarantee the same culture and charm the festival has embodied from the start. Artscape is the largest annual free arts festival in the United States, and this year 173 exhibitors from all over the country share their work with over 350,000 expected visitors, for a can’t-beat price of zero per person. The festival takes place over three days, spread over 12 city blocks and approximately four million square feet of display space. You can check out exhibitions in fashion, film, fine arts, games, performing arts, and car art, as well as several musical performances. The lineup this year includes, among others, Fantasia (no kidding), Matisyahu, and G. Love.
This year’s Artscape will pay tribute to the festival’s origins with a special exhibit called “1982 on the Charles Street Bridge,” which will feature work by diverse artists, all inspired by the 1980s. If the neon-bright 80s aren’t your scene, other attractions abound, dance troupes, interactive storytelling, art workshops, and a fantastic sculpture garden called the Rabbit Hole. Artscape has also become more kid-friendly in recent years, and parents no longer have to pay for children’s activities: They’re now free, just like everything else. Kids can enjoy puppets, origami, arts and crafts projects, and even a (very) amateur Grand Prix race. For those so inclined, there is an exhibit called Gamescape, which features locally produced video games, as well as art inspired by games.
Artscape truly has something for everyone, so if you’re not busy this weekend, or you’re like me and need something to distract you from obsessing over the Harry Potter finale, get your art on. But don’t forget the sunscreen and the crowd-friendly attitude.
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