On July 12 and 13, Youngstown State University will host the Summer Festival of the Arts — an event that is expected to attract 13,000 people to the university, stimulating the local economy while concurrently celebrating the arts and culture.
“There is more than anecdotal evidence — in fact we have direct evidence specific to the Mahoning Valley — that said that the minimum economic impact of arts and culture for the Mahoning Valley is $25 to $30 million per year,” said Bryan DePoy, dean of the YSU College of Creative Arts and Communication. “These kinds of events generate some really significant economic impact in addition to celebrating a very rich arts and culture tradition that we have here in the Mahoning Valley.”
The summer arts festival will feature: work from more than 75 artists, an adjoining jazz concert, ethnic food booths and exhibitions from area cultural organizations.
Though most of the festival’s attractions will be located on campus, cooperating institutions like the Arms Family Museum, the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor and OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology will showcase special attractions off-campus for the festival.
Lori Factor, coordinator for the Summer Festival of the Arts, is responsible for planning, organizing and managing the event. She said the festival makes the arts accessible to the entire community.
“Our aim is to make sure the arts are available to everyone. One of the key target markets for us is children. We have found that when children are exposed to the arts at an early age, they develop an appreciation for the arts,” she said. “[The festival] is also something to showcase that there are phenomenal artists within our region.”
While the festival features many attractions, both DePoy and Factor stressed that the event is primarily a juried art show, meaning that all art on display is hand made and has been reviewed by a jury of credible artists. DePoy concluded that this fact speaks to the prestige of the festival.
“They have been reviewed by their peers to be high level artists, and then they are invited here to sell their work. This is much more than simple arts and crafts; we sell art that is of a very high level,” he said. “Many people within the entire region look forward to this hallmark arts festival. It’s relatively unique for this region.”