When the Streets Are Full of Art
The 32nd annual Cherry Creek Arts Festival brought tens of thousands of art fans to Cherry Creek over the July 4th weekend for a three-day celebration of art, culture, music, and more
On the second day of the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, artist Hannah Wave Flower found her booth filled with serious but unexpected shoppers: a group of middle schoolers. “The students showed up, asked me questions, and then bought several pieces,” Flower said. “They made my day!”
Those young art patrons were participants in Student Art Buying, a program run by festival producers CherryArts. Through this program, CherryArts teamed up with 22 Colorado schools to teach students about art appreciation and the business of art while emphasizing teamwork, public speaking, and financial literacy. Student representatives from each school then visited the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, where they were given a $500 budget to pick out and purchase original work for permanent installation in their schools.
Flower’s meeting with student art buyers is one of thousands of artful stories from this year’s Cherry Creek Arts Festival, which took place from July 1 to 3. For the 32nd year, Colorado nonprofit CherryArts transformed the streets of Cherry Creek into an art lovers’ paradise, with an inspiring line-up of more than 250 specially selected artists, live music, pop-up experiences, and more.
“This year’s festival felt special,” said Tara Brickell, executive director of CherryArts. “We heard wonderfully positive feedback from our artists and from our guests.”
This year’s artists, selected from more than 1,800 applicants, brought work from 13 different mediums, including painting, photography, ceramics, jewelry, and mixed media. Collectively, they sold more than $4.5 million of art in three days. And this year’s jurors selected a number of artists for special accolades.
A Sunday night concert on Fillmore Street featured touring pros Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. That show was one of several components of the festival designed to raise funds for the year-round work of CherryArts, whose team produces the festival every July and spends the rest of the year bringing art and arts experiences to Coloradans, especially to students in Colorado schools.
Besides Student Art Buying, CherryArts’ outreach includes the CherryArts Mobile Art Gallery, a smaller but no less exciting Mobile Art Cart, and hands-on art kits for teachers that help make teaching art in schools easier and more accessible.
This year, CherryArts debuted a new van at the festival, wrapped in designs created by two Colorado students, that will help expand this year’s outreach programs. The organization partnered with BOK Financial this July for additional year-round support, too.
The CherryArts team is already planning the 2024 Cherry Creek Arts Festival, which will take place on July 5, 6, and 7 of next year.