The Tempe Festival of the Arts consistently ranks among the Top 20 art festivals in the nation by Sunshine Artist and has received the Pinnacle Award from the International Festival and Events Association. The spring and fall events each attract nearly 250,000 visitors to the Downtown Tempe over the course of a 3-day weekend.
Quality artists are fundamental to the success of the event. Each year, the Festival receives more than 1,000 applications from artists across the country. From these applicants, a jury comprised of members of the local art community selects the top artisans in each category to participate in the Festival. During the Festival, a new jury then selects the best overall artist and the top artist in each category.
Participants are separated into 18 different artistic categories for judging, ranging from woodwork to photography to ceramics and even wearable art. More than 300 artist booths line Mill Avenue and the surrounding streets presenting unique, and hand-made artwork that offers visitors a distinctive shopping experience.
While the Tempe Festival of the Arts primarily focuses on art and the artists that create it, there are also a wide variety of other activities for guests to enjoy. Live entertainment stages provide musical entertainment for festival-goers. Performances by a number of well-known local musicians keep audiences in high spirits throughout the day. Past performers have included the Gin Blossoms, Walt Richardson, Margo Reed, and Hello Swindon. In addition to the scheduled entertainment, street performers, vendors, sponsor exhibits and entertainment booths are set up for the amusement of Festival visitors. In addition to arts and entertainment, the Tempe Festival of the Arts offers support to the Tempe community. A portion of the proceeds raised at the Festival benefits local charities.