Held in Nashville’s midtown park, the Tennessee Spring Craft Fair welcomes 45,000 guests each year. Artists from Tennessee and other contingent states are eligible to submit their work to be shown at the fair. The Tennessee Spring Craft Fair organization curates the finest local artists who work with a variety of mediums to showcase their work for purchase.
The nonprofit organization was founded out of the Arts and Crafts movement — its premise lies in the positive impact creativity and skillfulness can have on a society.
The fair not only aims to support artistry, but also to act as an educational tool. Communications manager Julia Wilburn speaks on the importance of the Emerging Maker’s Tent.
“Our Demonstration Tent houses artists who demonstrate their craft for the public, educating audiences of all ages and our Kids Tent gives future artists a chance to create their own unique piece of art that they can take home,” Wilburn said.
The fair is a unique event for both artists and passerby's because of the personal nature of the event.
“We require artists to be onsite, so fair goers can meet the artists, learn what inspires them and how they take raw materials like clay, wood, metal and glass and transform them into fine craft,” Wilburn said.
Tennessee Craft holds two large fairs each year with one in the fall and the other in the spring. With the spring fair approaching fast, artists are encouraged to apply by Feb. 15.
The president of the Eastern Chapter of Tennessee Craft, Julie Boisseau-Craig, is an artist herself who chose to become involved with the Tennessee Craft organization after moving to Tennessee from North Carolina.
“I have been making art and doing shows since I was twelve years old when I sat at my first craft table selling cedar roofing shingles I painted wildflowers on. As an artist I find it highly important to have these festivals to showcase the brilliant artists in the state and by participating and volunteering I am able to be a part of and give back to my community,” Boisseau-Craig said.
Boisseau-Craig has seen the organization become both a financial and emotional support system to artists in East Tennessee.
“It gives a place for artists to connect with each other outside of the studio and it helps to financially support many artists in the region (through selling their work at the fair),” Boisseau-Craig said.
The fair’s main focus is on helping artists grow their self made businesses and to expose locals to different forms of artistry. With booths selling items from homemade jewelry made from natural material to exquisite photography, attendees will be shown unimaginable art work.
At the event, fair goers can also look forward to a variety of food options from area vendors. Food options in the past have included everything from barbecue to columbian delicacies and, of course, options to fulfill a sweet tooth at the end of the day.
Tennessee Craft provides a virtual map on their website for those who wish to make a plan for the day or to get an idea of the artists showing at the fair. The map also provides paths to follow so that guests can get the most out of their fair experience.
The 49th annual fair will take place from May 1-3 and is sure to be a noteworthy event for East Tennesseans.