A sure sign of spring in Bay St. Louis is the annual Arts Alive festival, getting bigger and better every year. Here's a preview.
- Story by Steve Barney, photos by Ellis Anderson
In 2019, Arts Alive expanded to two days and was a huge success for local merchants and exhibiting artists, attracting thousands of visitors from across the Southeast. The festival received extensive national media coverage in USA Today, Yahoo! News and other news sources, citing Arts Alive and Bay St. Louis as “the best hidden gem destination in Mississippi.”
Janice Guido, owner of Bay Life Gifts and Hancock Chamber Board tourism liaison, stated, “Arts Alive has become one of the most important and profitable events of the year for retail shops and restaurants in Old Town Bay St. Louis – even better than Cruisin’ the Coast.“ Guido adds, “Many visitors are so captivated by Bay St. Louis that they choose to relocate here.”
Festival-goers aren’t the only ones to take notice. Arts Alive is gaining a national reputation among exhibitors, and artists from as far away as Maryland, Florida and Texas are signing up to make Bay St. Louis a stop on their spring tours of the best art shows in the Southeast.
New artists’ applications are coming in daily, with many local artists returning from last year exhibiting and demonstrating work in every medium and genre imaginable, filling the streets of Old Town BSL. (Click here to register for an artist booth.)
The 2020 festival continues to grow and evolve, with a slate of new activities and events:
Arts Alive 2020 Overview
The festival is centered in the heart of Old Town Bay St. Louis, historically recognized as an arts community. This walkable, coastal venue offers galleries, shops and restaurants - with a free parking garage.
Saturday, March 21, 10 am – 8 pm
The artist showcase closes down for the night at 5 pm on Saturday, but the Arts Alive fun continues into the evening with Bellydance performances featuring Pandorium Dance Company and fire dancing by The Priestess Sisters, accompanied by the syncopated rhythms of the Bay Ratz Marching Battery.
The Saturday night After Party, hosted by 100 Men DBA Hall($10 admission) will feature the finest drag kings on the Coast from 9 – 11 pm.
Sunday, March 22, Noon – 4 pm
Through the generous support of local businesses including Lazy Magnolia Brewery, The BSL Restaurant Group, the Shoofly Magazine and many other businesses and individuals, we are able to produce and promote this free community celebration.
Look for more detailed information and festival schedule in the Shoofly Magazine in March. For more information on sponsorship, volunteering and general festival information visit www.hancockarts.org.