YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown State University Summer Festival of the Arts is moving a few blocks south from the YSU campus to the new Wean Foundation Park in downtown Youngstown this year.
“We are excited to bring our nationally-recognized annual arts festival to this new community park along the Mahoning River,” said YSU President Jim Tressel. “We hope this move will help further grow the festival and will also help further introduce the community to this beautiful new downtown recreational area.”
The YSU Summer Festival of the Arts, started in 1999, attracts more than 80 artists and 15,000 visitors annually.
“It’s beautiful in the center of our campus, but it was pretty tight always when you had that many people. This will turn into, I think, a special, yearly event, and I can’t wait to see the community back together,” Tressel said.
This year’s festival is July 17 and 18, and admission is free.
“The YSU Summer Festival of the Arts is a perfect fit for Wean Park,” Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown said. “We look forward to thousands of artists, performers and festival-goers from throughout the region coming to downtown Youngstown for this special annual event.”
The Raymond John Wean Foundation Park, a community complex with over 20 acres of recreational green space and walking paths, is located along the Mahoning River at the Market Street bridge in downtown Youngstown.
The complex includes the new 4,800-person Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre and the Huntington Bank Community Alley underneath the Market Street bridge.
They hope it will encourage more people to attend.
“I envision neighborhood groups and residents coming down and being a part of it in a way that perhaps we haven’t been in the past,” said Jennifer Roller, president of the Wean Foundation.
YSU and city officials also hope the downtown location encourages more artists from across the valley to apply for the festival.
The arts festival will remain a juried arts event, which means that artists must apply first, then be evaluated before being accepted.
“The Festival of the Arts is a great opportunity to see people express their all and their culture through their art, so I think it’s wonderful, and I think people should come out and bring their families and really explore,” said Julius Oliver, First Wart Councilman.
The festival is also expected to continue to include a range of performing artists, children’s activities and the participation of area ethnic, arts and cultural institutions.
“The YSU Summer Festival of the Arts is yet another reminder that the Mahoning Valley community embraces and celebrates the arts,” said Phyllis Paul, dean of the YSU Cliffe College of Creative Arts. “We look forward to continuing that tradition at this new and exciting venue.”
Organizers are excited to welcome people after having to cancel last year’s festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic.