What are We?
The River Arts Festival is a 2 week multidisciplinary celebration of the arts, incorporating visual arts, music, dance, authors/written word, film and video, culinary art and more. Held annually the first 2 weeks in November in downtown Dunnville, Ontario, we are in our 11th year and continuing to grow year over year.
The Festival is unique – it is held in a rural community, attracts superb artists and performers, and, for the most part, events are free, although people are asked to “pay what you can” at each event to assist in defraying the costs associated with such a huge undertaking.
Visual art is displayed in a "walking gallery" composed of wide variety of downtown businesses who display art in their windows for the duration of the festival. The main gallery is located inside Haldimand Art Works (the host organization for the Festival) located in Flyers Cafe at 144 Queen Street. There are a children's art exhibition, activities for children/families and a juried competition for visual art submissions from high-school aged youth. Flyers Cafe is also “music central”, hosting major performers in an intimate setting where the focus is on listening. Other musical events are held in other locations, as are workshops, master classes, literary events, films, and more.
How did We Start?
11 years ago, local visual artist Mark Schmidt pulled together other local artists in a loose collective to host an art show and, in its third year, this group partnered with Haldimand Art Works, a registered charity mandated to nurture and promote the arts in Haldimand County. This led to an expansion of the Festival into a multidisciplinary event held every November over two weeks.
Since its start, the Festival has grown every year, securing financial support from local businesses, service clubs, individuals and grants. We are grateful to sponsors, donors, and funders - they make the Festival possible!
Who Plans and Runs the Festival?
The Festival is planned and rolled out entirely by volunteers from the community and volunteers from Haldimand Art Works. The 2016 edition includes the following people on the Planning Committee: Jody Orr, Frances Porter, Lacie Williamson, Linda Leslie, Joan Laffier, Kevin Hamilton, Colleen Clayton and Tracey Stone (on leave for awhile). At Festival time, however, the number of active volunteers expands considerably, making the Festival a truly "homegrown" event.
If you want to get involved, as an artist, a donor or sponsor or a volunteer, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org .