Destination Salem Blog

Salem Arts Festival this weekend!

Salem Arts Festival

The 8th annual Salem Arts Festival will be held June 3-5th.  The popular free event will feature over 80 artists and performers, and includes a variety of art, music, dance, and theatre performances. The family-friendly festival also includes art-making for all ages, artisan vendors selling their creations, and a temporary public art installation.

The Festival is spread out at a variety of venues in downtown Salem, with the primary focus on Old Town Hall, Derby Square, Front Street, and Artists’ Row.  A Juried Art Show will be held in Old Town Hall throughout the festival, with an artisan street fair in the area around the building on Saturday and Sunday. Live performances this year will mostly be held outside (weather permitting) on Derby Square and Artists’ Row.  The event is rain or shine, with a rain location for performances held upstairs at Old Town Hall and on Artists’ Row.  A basic schedule is included below. Full schedule and programs will be available on site during the festival, as well as the Festival website.

The Festival kicks off with an opening reception at Salem’s Old Town Hall on Friday, June 3rd at 6 p.m.  The free event allows visitors to enjoy beautiful art work while being entertained by renowned local and regional performers North Shore Chamber Music, Gretchen and the Pickpockets, Siren of the Circle, and headliners Picante Soul. In addition this year, Friday night will also serve as the grant reception for the Salem Cultural Council’s FY16 grantees.

Move with Me - Photo Credit Creative Salem

One of the most anticipated events this year is “Move With Me”, a collaborative public art project led by artist and architect Claudia Paraschiv, featuring an installation of pinwheels over Front Street. Over the past few months, community groups and locals of all ages and abilities have decorated several hundred individual pinwheels made of reclaimed sailcloth, drawing their own interpretations of traditional textile patterns from different cultures around the world.

This year, the Salem Arts Festival also celebrates the very first “Mural Slam” on Artists’ Row, organized by the City of Salem’s Public Art Commission and Public Art Planner Deborah Greel. Murals will be painted throughout the weekend by 12 selected artists and will be completed by the end of the festival. In addition, the Festival marks the return of vendors to Artists’ Row, with both new and returning tenants for the 2016 season.

The goal of the Salem Arts Festival is to promote all the arts in Salem and to provide the entire North Shore arts community with an opportunity to showcase their talents. The Festival is run in collaboration with Salem Main Streets by a team of dedicated volunteers, including representatives from Creative Salem, Salem State University, the Peabody Essex Museum, and many more.

Volunteers interested in helping with the Festival are warmly welcomed and encouraged to contact Kylie Sullivan at for more information.

Visitors interested in attending the Salem Arts Festival can find easy access to the downtown by public transportation or parking at one of the many downtown lots in the City. For more information, please visit and follow the festival on Facebook.

The 2015 Salem Arts Festival. Photo credit Creative Salem

Friday, June 3rd – Kickoff Reception

6:00 – 6:45 pm, Old Town Hall
North Shore Chamber Music
6:50 – 7:00 pm, Derby Square
Salem Cultural Council Grant Announcements
7:00 – 7:45 pm, Derby Square
Gretchen and the Pickpockets
7:50 – 8:00 pm, Derby Square
Siren of the Circle
8:00 – 9:00 pm, Derby Square
Picante Soul
Saturday, June 4th - 11:00 – 6:00

Juried Art Exhibit, Old Town Hall

Street Fair

Art-Making Activities, Front Street and Artists’ Row
11:00 – 11:45 am, Derby Square
Vermillion Strings
12:00 – 12:45 pm, Derby Square
12:15 – 12:45 pm, Artists’ Row
12:45 – 1:15 pm, Artists’ Row
Strange Interlude
1:00 – 1:45 pm, Derby Square
Adrian DiMatteo
1:45 – 2:15 pm, Artists’ Row
Dave Bailin
2:00 – 2:45 pm, Derby Square
Greg Allen’s Fringe Religion
2:45 – 3:15 pm, Old Town Hall Upstairs
Katherine Fuller
2:45 – 3:15 pm, Artists’ Row
Julie Dougherty
3:15 – 4:00 pm, Derby Square
Sarah Messias & Hunter Burgamy
4:00 – 4:30 pm, Old Town Hall Upstairs
Aurora Borealis Dance Company
4:00 – 4:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Francis X. Norton
4:15 – 5:00 pm, Derby Square
5:00 – 5:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Amy Spillert
5:15 – 6:00 pm, Derby Square
The Tree House Charlatans
Sunday, June 5, 10:45 – 6:00

Juried Art Exhibit, Old Town Hall

Street Fair

Art-Making Activities, Front Street and Artists’ Row
10:45 – 11:30 am, Old Town Hall
Community Yoga Dance with Dale Lewinski
11:30 am to 12:15 pm, Derby Square
Christopher Noran
12:15 – 12:45 pm, Artists’ Row
Joey Phoenix
12:30 -1:15 pm, Derby Square
Matt Heaton & the Outside Toys
1:15 – 1:45 pm, Artists’ Row
Ashley Dawn
1:30 – 2:00 pm, Derby Square
Flamenco Boston
2:00 – 2:50 pm, Artists’ Row
Witch City Belly Dance
2:15 – 3:00 pm, Derby Square
Soft Cactus
3:00 – 3:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Thea Hopkins
3:00 – 3:30 pm, Old Town Hall Upstairs
Molly Rose Tupper
3:15 – 4:00 pm, Derby Square
Jazz Punishers
4:00 – 4:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Striving Artists Theatre Company
4:15 – 5:00 pm, Derby Square
Deep C Divers
4:30 – 5:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Plummer Home, On Point, & Salem YMCA Ensembles
5:15 – 6:00 pm, Derby Square
Machine 475

Posted by Kate on 05/31 at 04:07 PM Permalink

Two things for a three day weekend

Decisions are hard! I have two recommendations for "two things" to do this weekend in Salem. 

The House of the Seven Gables

If this is your first trip to Salem, you need to do two things:

1. Take a Salem Trolley Tour.  This one-hour, narrated tour will take you through Salem's historic neighborhoods and tell you things you never would have known.  When I take the trolley with residents who have lived in Salem for 20 years, they inevitably have at least one "I didn't know that" moment during the tour.  Lighthouses, historic sites, gardens, beaches, remarkable tidal areas, curious naming practices, significant residents of Salem... you'll learn about all of it and more on a Salem Trolley Tour.  And (but wait, there's more!) your ticket is good all day for hop-on-hop-off shuttle service between 14 stops around Salem.  Ding Ding!

2. Visit The House of the Seven Gables.  If you love historic homes and the stories of the people who built and lived in them, you will appreciate the different eras of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion and how they have been preserved and interpreted. If you are a literature enthusiast who has a passion for beautifully crafted words, you will love exploring the rooms that inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne. If you are a gardener, you will love the authentic and beautiful beautiful seaside gardens.  If you are traveling with kids, your family will enjoy posing on the dinghy and looking through the spyglass in the Counting House. 

The Phillips House Museum

If you have been to Salem, or perhaps you are a local, and you are looking to dive a little deeper:

1. Go all-in on Salem's  Witch Trials history with a Bewitched After Dark walking tour.  Led by historian and guide Jeff Page, these tours will give you insight into Salem's colonial history, the witch trials and associated hysteria, present day witchcraft, and many details in between.  Tours happen during the day and in the evening. 

2. Visit The Phillips House on Chestnut Street.  The only house on Chestnut Street that is open to the public, the Phillips House is a gem of Salem.  The tours tell the stories of the Phillips Family, who moved into the house in 1912, and their domestic staff.  It's a little bit Downton Abby, a little bit Newport Mansions, and entirely Salem. Don't miss the family's collection of carriages and automobiles in the garage!


This is Memorial Day weekend. Please take a moment to remember the Troops and the families who have given everything for our country.  Click here for Salem's Memorial Day commemorations.

Posted by Kate on 05/25 at 10:51 AM Permalink