This Friday the second annual Redlands Festival of Arts will take place at Smiley Park. The festival, a celebration of both the visual and performing arts, was co-founded by Jerry Bean and Shirley Harry in 2013 to promote the arts in Redlands and its surrounding areas. Bean saw a need to showcase art from the East Valley and realized that Redlands was the perfect place to do this. According to Harry, the closest outdoor art festival of this size is held in La Quinta.
Last year there were over 39 artists present at Smiley Park, and this year it looks like there will be over 70 local artists and over 59 not so local artists–some from as far away as Arizona and Idaho. The ultimate goal of the festival is to be able to raise funds for arts education in Redlands while promoting the arts in the community. The Redlands Arts Festival also boosts a juried art show in which the winning entry receives a $6,000 prize. In addition to the art, there will be art related booths, food trucks, a beer and wine garden, and activities for families. One thing that will be different this year is that each festival day will end with a concert from 3:00pm – 5:00pm. Saturday’s concert will be kicked off by The Tornadoes, a famous surf rock group from Redlands, and Sunday will close with a Broadway Block Party.
To Harry, outdoor art festivals are a fun opportunity for artists to exhibit their work. When I asked her why art was important, she didn’t hesitate to respond with, “Artists make statements that last. We have artwork from centuries and it has lasted, and still speaks to us. [Art] says something about a way of being.” Indeed this weekend at Smiley Park there are sure to be many statements made.
For more information about the Redlands Arts Festival please visit http://www.redlandsfestivalarts.com/