Art in Bloom

Experience art in its many forms at this Bloomington festival

For two days each Labor Day weekend, the Fourth Street Festival attracts visitors from all over the Midwest to Downtown Bloomington, Indiana. They come to see all different kinds of art, including fiber, glass, ceramics, 2D, painting, and photography. An ever-growing event, this year’s festival is projected to entice more than 40,000 visitors to the college town.

The free festival wasn’t always so sizable. At its inception in 1977, the city was known for having many established local artists and craftspeople, and the goal of the event was to bring artwork to the Bloomington audience. “That year, Labor Day weekend saw 55 exhibitors setting up,” committee member Barbara Lambert says.

This year, the festival has about 125 artists. Participating artists from around the U.S. are chosen through an independent jury of professional artists, changed annually. This year’s featured artists will be selected and announced later this summer.

The festival has expanded beyond art. Eventually, music and performance stages were added to further cultivate art appreciation.

“The festival has evolved to include local non-profit arts groups who are invited to have booths promoting their community projects, area activities, and art related opportunities,” Lambert says. “What makes the festival unique is the emphasis on all booths having purchasable art made by the artists. This provides a unique opportunity for customers to interact with the artists whom they are interested in purchasing from.”

Festival guests can expect lots of walking as they enjoy the displayed works and chat with artists.

“Wear comfy shoes and plan extra time to have a meal at one of the many local, in- dependent restaurants that line the street of the festival,” Lambert says.

Guests should also check out one of the festival’s best-attended attractions, the free children’s art booth, provided through a partnership with Lotus Education and Arts Foundation. Lambert says the written and spoken art areas — provided through a partnership with The Writers Guild of Bloomington — and live music performances have proven popular. Tony Brewer, a local writer, also offers poetry on demand.

47th Annual Fourth Street Festival of the Arts & Fine Crafts
Sept. 2-3, 2023
Fourth Street, between Lincoln and Kirkwood Streets
Bloomington, Indiana

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Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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