Experience The South's Best Art Festivals This Year

See something new at an art festival near you.


KoliadzynskaIryna/Getty Images

Maybe you’re a collector hoping to add a piece to your personal store, or perhaps you’re new to art and curious about the paintings, ceramics, jewelry, and woodwork being crafted in your region–whatever your situation, there’s a southern art festival you should visit this year. From the internationally famous fine art fairs, like Miami’s Art Basel, to the locally loved crafts fairs, like southwest Georgia’s Calico Arts & Crafts Show, to those that do a bit of everything, like Greenville’s Artisphere, you’re bound to find a gathering of artists and art lovers that will welcome you into the creative sphere. These celebrations represent a variety of shows and styles (with a music festival or two included for good measure) and are filled with eye-opening works in juried contests, exhibitions, and art markets held both indoors and out. Step outside the everyday and into a new appreciation for art and its makers–these festivals are a welcome invitation. 

Art Basel

Miami Beach, Florida

Founded by gallerists more than fifty years ago, this global festival has extended its manifold influence, connecting collectors, artists, and art lovers from across the world. The festivals happen annually on multiple continents, and one takes place in Miami, Florida. According to Art Basel, “In our American show, leading galleries from five continents show significant works by masters of Modern and contemporary art, as well as the new generation of emerging stars.” In addition to groundbreaking exhibitions, Art Basel Miami Beach hosts speakers and panels in their “Conversations” series.

Artisphere Greenville
Artisphere in downtown Greenville.

Courtesy of Creagh Cross


Greenville, South Carolina

Greenville’s annual celebration of the arts is Artisphere, a downtown gathering of the visual, performing, and culinary arts. Visit Artist Row to converse with painters, ceramicists, glassblowers, furniture makers, sculptors, photographers, and printmakers. As you wander, you can view selections of their works and wares, many of which are available for purchase.

Artsplosure - The Raleigh Arts Festival

Raleigh, North Carolina 

Artsplosure, a nonprofit and cultural event programmer, puts on its namesake event, Artsplosure - The Raleigh Arts Festival, annually. The organization has been creating festivals since 1980, and the arts fest is one of its best. Alongside live music and kids crafts, the two-day program hosts an Art Market featuring around 175 juried artists with pieces spanning fiber arts, jewelry, paintings, ceramics, photography, and more.

Bayou City Art Festival

Houston, Texas

The biannual Bayou City Art Festival is Houston’s lively celebration of art and artists, gatherings that invite around 300 artists working in myriad media to share their work. The spring festival takes place at Memorial Park, and the fall festival happens in downtown Houston. In past years, the festival has attracted more than 20,000 attendees.

Calico Arts & Crafts Show

Moultrie, Georgia

This enormous biannual arts and crafts fair takes place in Moultrie, Georgia, at Spence Field each March and November. With hundreds of vendors (past years have hosted 200 to 300 makers) and thousands of attendees, you’re bound to find just what you’re looking for, whether that’s fine art, antiques, food gifts, or handmade crafts.

Coconut Grove Arts Festival

Miami, Florida

With Biscayne Bay as its backdrop, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival invites hundreds of artists and tens of thousands of visitors to South Florida to celebrate art across a variety of mediums, styles, and perspectives. The outdoor festival got its start more than fifty years ago and today is a bustling celebration of visual, performing, and culinary artistry.

Dallas Art Fair Exhibitior
Francesca Mollett, Spun step (detail), 2022. Image courtesy of the artist.

Courtesy of Cultural Counsel, Dallas Art Fair

Dallas Art Fair

Dallas, Texas 

This gathering takes place in springtime in the Dallas Arts District. The festival fills the exhibition space, the Fashion Industry Gallery, with exciting works and curious gallerygoers–collectors, artists, and enthusiasts who stroll through the exhibitions, taking in the splendor of the boundary-bending modern and contemporary works (like the one pictured above) on display.

Delray Affair

Delray Beach, Florida

Each year, the Delray Affair festival teems with the creative and the artistically curious as it highlights the work of around 600 exhibitors. The outdoor arts and crafts show, one of the largest in the southeast, has been a Florida mainstay for more than 60 years. Its nickname is “the Greatest Show Under the Sun,” and it's easy to understand why when you’re meandering downtown Delray, browsing ten palm-shaded blocks filled with handcrafted treasures.

Magic City Art Connection

Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama’s premiere art festival is Magic City Art Connection, a gathering of artists and art lovers that takes place each year at Sloss Furnaces. If you’re curious about the lineup, you can browse the artists in attendance online; they're organized by artistic media, which spans clay, metal, paper, wood, fiber, glass, and more. 

Main Street Arts Festival

Fort Worth, Texas

This juried arts festival is one of the biggest and best in the country. Amble Main Street during the festival, and you’ll see eye-opening works from more than 200 artists who have been selected to compete by event organizers. In addition to the art, the festival features an exciting entertainment lineup with music and local food available to all.


Memphis, Tennessee

Held annually in October, the downtown Memphis RiverArtsFest has one of the longest histories of any arts festival in the region. Each year, it highlights artisans through a juried artist's market, which is set up in the open air and includes ceramics, fiber and leather arts, glass, jewelry, and metalworks. 

SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival
SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival 2022.

Courtesy of SCAD

Sidewalk Arts Festival

Savannah, Georgia

During this fun festival, students from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and beyond descend upon Forsyth Park and fill the sidewalks with chalk scenes. The festival has been happening for more than forty years. According to SCAD, “The artists represent many areas of study offered at SCAD and produce a diverse spectrum of chalk art inspired by distinct styles, backgrounds, interests, cultures, and disciplines” and “transform Savannah's most famous park into a technicolor landscape of chalk compositions for the chance to win coveted prizes.”

Spoleto Festival
Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston.

Courtesy of Leigh Webber Photography

Spoleto Festival USA

Charleston, South Carolina 

Charleston’s Spoleto Festival is a vital musical event with an almost fifty year history and features thrilling experiences by talented performers. According to the festival, “For 17 days and nights each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston, South Carolina’s historic theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers in opera; theater; dance; and chamber, symphonic, choral, and jazz music.”

St. James Court Art Show

Louisville, Kentucky

Each year, Historic Old Louisville hosts the St. James Court Art Show, an event the festival describes as a “juried fine arts and contemporary crafts show featuring over 600 artists from around the U.S. held among the country’s largest collection of Victorian homes.” The fall show happens in October and brings together new and established artists working in a variety of mediums. 

Centennial Park
Centennial Park in Nashville, Tennessee.

Tennessee Craft Fair

Nashville, Tennessee

Music City’s annual Spring Tennessee Craft Fair fills Centennial Park with makers and vendors, all celebrating American handmade arts and crafts. The fair requires participating artists to be present onsite, giving visitors the opportunity to converse with artisans and learn about the pieces and their inspirations from the minds that made them. 

Tephra ICA Arts Festival

Reston, Virginia

Formerly known as the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, the Tephra ICA Arts Festival is in its 28th year. It has long been a favorite destination for art and its appreciators, inviting countless curious visitors to visit charming Reston and experience handcrafted artworks during the annual outdoor festival. The event also includes performances, concerts, and a juried art show.

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