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Celebrate the arts, culture, creativity, and community at the 13th annual Salem Arts Festival June 4 through 6. This free and popular family-friendly event will feature a variety of art, music, dance, and theatre performances throughout downtown Salem. This is the first arts festival on the North Shore since COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed.  

The Festival takes place in the heart of Salem at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues. Public activities include multiple outdoor performance areas, onsite art-making for all ages, local artisans and makers selling their creations, pop-up art exhibitions in businesses around town, a live mural slam on Artists Row, and a temporary public art installation. There are events for the whole family!

Presented in collaboration by Salem Main Streets and Creative Collective, this year’s event highlights the importance of the creative workforce and how it contributes to and stabilizes the local economy. Arts and culture are an integral part of day-to-day life in Salem. This annual festival has become a source of pride and revenue for hundreds of creative professionals and a major economic boost to the local community. In 2019, there were more than 6000 attendees and 300 artists and performers who participated in this three-day event. 

“I firmly believe that the arts can establish and strengthen a true sense of community like nothing else,” says Kylie Sullivan, Executive Director of Salem Main Streets. “Creating community has always been the underpinning purpose of the Salem Arts Festival, and our Salem community desperately needs to heal and build together again after the past year.”

John Andrews, founder and CCO of Creative Collective, says, “The creative community has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic but throughout the crisis, this community of makers, artisans, performers, and creators were integral in keeping our families and communities hopeful, entertained, and inspired. As we start to come out of the crisis, we feel it is critically important to foster, support, and amplify the creative workforce by providing them with paid opportunities.”

For the Festival, COVID-19 specific changes include smaller activities, performances, and galleries spread out around the downtown. Most events will be held in-person with a few virtual elements. Public health restrictions in Massachusetts that were put in place in response to COVID-19 will be lifted on May 29, 2021. Masks are still required on public and private transportation and indoors at some establishments. Visitors are asked to respect signage and comply with business guidelines.

A special thanks to over 20 additional local businesses who have sponsored the 2021 Festival, including primary sponsors the Peabody Essex Museum and Salem Five, with support in part from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Salem Cultural Council. A full list of supporters can be found on the festival website.

For more information and a full festival schedule, visit