Summer Festival of Arts Ready for Second Year at Wean Park

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Summer Festival of the Arts will return to Wean Park in downtown Youngstown July 9 and 10 with some improvements to better utilize the space and make it more enjoyable for visitors.

The festival, now in its 24th year, moved to the park last year from its previous site on the campus of Youngstown State University. It is presented by YSU and JAC Management, which operates Covelli Centre, Wean Park and the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 9 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 10. Admission is free.

Lori Factor, director of community engagement and events at YSU’s Cliffe College, said it’s “exciting” to be back at Wean Park and to continue to promote the Mahoning Valley arts scene.

With one year under its belt, Factor’s team was able to make tweaks to the festival.

“Something we learned last year was that we needed a more professional performance stage,” Factor said. “The JAC staff has been very responsive in helping us determine a new performance location in Huntington Community Alley under the Market Street Bridge and in helping us with the sound system.”

Factor said the interior part of the festival area will be better utilized this year, with the addition of “life-size” games to take advantage of the grassy expanse.

The festival also will add portable restroom facilities this year.

“Last year was a learning experience but we are confident that as we move forward together, JAC and YSU will preserve what the community loves about the Summer Festival of the Arts while adding and expanding to it,” she said.

The move to Wean Park had a goal of expanding YSU’s reach into the community and to also bring activity and people to the new riverfront greenspace, which is between Covelli Centre and The Amp.

Jordan Ryan, executive director of JAC Management, called the festival “a staple in our community… and a perfect addition to our summer schedule at Wean Park.”

The Summer Festival of the Arts is a family-friendly and alcohol-free event. At its heart is the artists marketplace, a lineup of booths at which more than 70 local, regional and national artists will show and sell their original, hand-crafted pieces such as jewelry, paintings, sketches, sculptures, glass, wood and textiles. The artists’ work is subject to a selection process to ensure it meets quality standards. Artist applications are available at ysu.edu/sfa.

Family activities are central to the SFA and include the popular hands-on art tent where children are encouraged to create various pieces of artwork under the guidance of a professional art teacher.
Music, theater and dance performances are also scheduled at the festival, along with community arts activities during the weekend.

Over 20 arts and culture groups will be set up on-site to promote their programs and activities.
The Youngstown Wine and Jazz Concert will once again take place in conjunction with the festival on Saturday, July 9, at the adjacent Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre with headliner Four80East. The smooth jazz duo, comprised of Rob DeBoer and Tony Grace, blends progressive rock and gospel into its music.

Jazz singer Sharon Rae North, a Youngstown native and former WYTV reporter now living in Atlanta, will open the concert. General admission tickets for the concert are $10 and reserved tickets are $25. To purchase, go to TheYoungstownFoundationAmp.com.

Pictured at top: The Summer Festival of the Arts inhabited Wean Park with performances, visual art, food and family activities. (2021 file photo courtesy of YSU).

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.