SummerFest 2016: Summer Fun at YSU

By Samantha Phillips and Dan Hiner

The 18th annual Youngstown State University Summer Festival of the Arts will occur on July 9 and 10 around YSU. Over 13,000 people attend this free event annually.

Lori Factor, coordinator of the Summer Festival of the Arts, said numerous YSU departments will be present. The Clarence Smith Mineral Museum and Butler Art Museum will be open for tours and WYSU will provide music.  child_tent_SFA

76 local, regional and national artists will be selling handcrafted jewelry and art pieces at the artist marketplace. Dance, music and theater performances will take place during the festival occurring between the McDonough Museum of Art to DeBartolo Hall.

Factor said this festival requires that the artists apply to show examples of their work. In order to be selected, they must be evaluated and approved by two professional jurors.

“It’s a chance to get the best of the best,” she said. “I enjoy seeing some of the artists that have been here for the past 18 years to reacquaint with them, see how their artwork has changed or morphed and really catch up with them.”

The event is family-friendly and will include many activities.

“We have to get kids to the children’s hands-on art texts, they could do a craft, we could have them listen to a storyteller and we’ll have a storyteller here or a performance so that it just keeps on going,” Factor said

This year, several art, culture and jazz events coincide with the Summer Festival of the Arts, providing a variety of entertainment. The events happen in the downtown Youngstown area, so they are close to the festival.

The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Summerfest will take place July 7-10 on Walnut Street. It will feature live music, dancing, Greek food and pastries.

The Youngstown Wine and Jazz event will take place on July 9 near the Central Square. It will be featuring Marion Meadows, a saxophonist, composer and contemporary jazz recording artist. Wineries and breweries will be set up adjacent to the stage.

Downtown Shutdown, a collaboration between the City of Youngstown and the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber, will feature a concert by The Clarks on July 8. This event will also be held near Central Square.

Cary Wecht, associate dean of the College of Creative Arts and Communication, said she thinks the festival and surrounding events are great ways to bring together the Youngstown community.

“When you get to immerse yourself in someone else’s community — whether it is someone else’s church, someone else’s food that they enjoy—you get a glimpse into someone else’s life,” Wecht said. “That builds empathy, and that builds humanity, and I think that transforms us in important ways as people… It’s about immersing yourself in someone else’s community, and that’s pretty powerful.”