Arts & Culture

Eight Art-Filled Festivals to Attend This Spring

Dramatic installations, handmade treasures, live performances, and sidewalk chalk paint the South

Photo: Courtesy of Artisphere

As tulips begin poking out of flower beds and a sprinkling of daffodils accompanies your morning commute, it’s the perfect time to celebrate a season of artistic inspiration. From Oklahoma City’s colorful Paseo district to the storied music halls of Charleston, South Carolina, these spaces, like your gardens, are set to become vibrant canvases in the coming weeks.

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Chalk Walk 

April 6, Knoxville, Tennessee

photo: Eli Welton
Artist Ryne Sandberg at Chalk Walk 2022.

Roughly 150 squares of splashy new sidewalk art will be underfoot as 300-plus participants beautify downtown Knoxville this April. The annual event hosts professional artists like Summer Small, who has competed since she was in elementary school, and kindergarteners alike for a range of solo and collaborative competitions. The 2023 Best in Show winner, high school senior Cole Davis, will be featured on this year’s Chalk Walk T-shirts to inspire other young artisans taking to the pavement. 

Magic City Art Connection 

April 26–28, Birmingham, Alabama 

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Contemporary and culinary art intersect at the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark. Guests can admire works by 175 fine artists, including this year’s featured artist, painter and University of Alabama professor Bryce Speed; catch dance performances; take classes; and sample local fare and specialty drinks during Corks and Chefs: A Taste of Birmingham.

Spoleto Festival USA 

May 24–June 9, Charleston, South Carolina

photo: Leigh Webber

“America’s premier performing arts festival” transforms historic Charleston into a giant stage as theatrical works (like The Song of Rome, a new play by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson) and musical acts (ranging from Old Crow Medicine Show to the Festival Orchestra’s take on Mahler’s Symphony No. 5) enthrall audiences at venues across the city. “It’s a real explosion of art,” says Mena Mark Hanna, the festival’s general director. As a finale to this seventeen-day extravaganza, Jason Isbell will perform at the College of Charleston Cistern Yard.


May 10–12, Greenville, South Carolina

photo: Courtesy of Artisphere

What happens when graffiti artists, glass blowers, woodworkers, and other talented craftspeople come together for a May weekend in Greenville? You get “the best arts festival in the country” according to Kerry Murphy, president and CEO of Artisphere. During this twentieth-anniversary event, artists representing thirty-four states and seventeen mediums will transform winding downtown streets into a brilliant display. The festival will also feature engaging experiences like live sculptures, metalsmithing demonstrations, and interactive installations such as Origlia!, a showstopping piece reminiscent of telephone booths.

Orange Beach Festival of Art 

March 9–10, Orange Beach, Alabama 

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Now celebrating fifty years, the Orange Beach Festival of Art pairs views of the glistening Gulf of Mexico with vibrant displays of fine art. Visitors can stroll through Waterfront Park admiring collections in a variety of mediums while enjoying food-truck fare, live performances (including a ballet and symphony), and access to the Coastal Arts Center.

Paseo Arts Festival 

May 25–27, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

photo: Courtesy of Paseo Arts Festival
Artist Hector Cobos Leon.

Dripping in hues of pink, blue, and yellow, the stucco buildings of Oklahoma City’s Paseo Arts District provide a picture-perfect setting for a spring getaway. During this annual event, established and emerging sculptors, jewelers, painters, potters, and more will line the historic streets. Attendees can also choose from over fifty live performances and a variety of food and drink vendors.

Dallas Art Fair 

April 4–7, Dallas, Texas

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The buzz of creatives, curators, and collectors will fill the halls of the Fashion Industry Gallery in Dallas’s arts district as local and visiting galleries (from as far as Paris, London, and Barcelona) showcase contemporary pieces. One not to miss: In celebration of this spring’s total solar eclipse, Ashley Zelinskie of Amsterdam’s TORCH Gallery will showcase works influenced by the celestial event as well as pieces inspired by NASA telescope photos.

Double Decker Arts Festival 

April 26–27, Oxford, Mississippi 

photo: Courtesy of Double Decker Arts Festival

The double-decker bus of British fame made its way to Oxford thirty years ago, and it’s the subject of celebration during this lively weekend of music, Southern food, and art. Welcoming more than 60,000 attendees, this free event will host over one hundred art-filled booths, the Double Decker Spring Run, and two days of live performances from names like Flatland Cavalry, Brittany Howard, and Grace Bowers. This year’s poster commemorates the classic ride with the work of Oxford native and featured artist Jules Mikell.