7 Fall Art Festivals Happening in Metro Phoenix

Herberger Theater Center
Throwback to a previous Herberger Arts Festival performance.
Fall festival season will soon be underway, which means you'll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor time surrounded by a fun assortment of artwork, live music, and other performances. Festival activities range from chalk art and live mural painting to fashion shows and mini-parades. Here's a look at seven free festivals to help you get your fall off to a creative start.

Herberger Festival of the Arts

Herberger Theater Center
Saturday, October 26

Expect performances by more than two dozen arts organizations, plus live music on two outdoor stages, artisan booths, pet adoptions, and children’s activities. The free festival runs from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. You’ll need money if you want to do wine or craft beer tastings. Diverse arts experiences will happen inside Herberger Theater Center spaces and on the spacious outdoor courtyard. While you’re there, look for public art that includes dancer sculptures by John Waddell and an arch filled with suspended objects, which was created by Brower Hatcher.

Shemer Arizona Arts Festival

Shemer Art Center
Saturday and Sunday, November 2 and 3

More than three dozen Arizona artists are participating in this festival at Shemer Art Center, where the lineup will also include hourly artist demonstrations. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days and is part of this year’s Camelback Studio Tour and Sale. The festival includes art exhibits, live music, tours of the sculpture garden, and more. The festival is free, except for $5 admission to the Kids Zone. Shemer is also holding a free pet-theme Furry Friends Fine Art Festival from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 5.

click to enlarge
Rendering for Water Serpent installation coming to Canal Convergence in Scottsdale.
Walter Productions

Canal Convergence

Scottsdale Waterfront
Friday to Sunday, November 8 to 17

Canal Convergence returns with a fresh 10-day confluence of art, water, and light. Scottsdale Public Art doesn’t call it a festival, but it has all the markings – including a diverse array of visual and performing arts created by local, national, and international artists. Highlights will include Scottsdale Waterfront installations by Squidsoup and Walter Productions, as well as the premiere of a new dance work choreographed by Nicole Olson. Expect plenty of live music, culinary offerings, and hands-on activities. The event is free, and hours vary.

click to enlarge
Joe Willie Smith plays one of his musical art installations on Grand Avenue.
Lynn Trimble

Grand Avenue Festival

Grand Avenue
Saturday, November 9

Head to Grand Avenue between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. for a robust lineup of creative offerings, including pop-up exhibits, mural projects, live music, historic building tours, street performers, craft stations, fashion shows, mini-parades, and community art projects. After-hours events happen from 8 to 10 p.m. Bring money for food trucks, pedicab tips, and shopping for art. The festival’s focus includes not only the arts, but also small businesses, historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and recycling.

Tempe Festival of the Arts

Downtown Tempe
Friday to Sunday, December 6 to 8

This longtime tradition features works by visual artists in 17 different categories from painting to sculpture. Typically, hundreds of booths line Mill Avenue and the surrounding area, where you can also experience live music, chalk drawings, and street performers – in addition to diverse food and drink options. Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. While you’re there, check out dozens of works of public art that dot the downtown Tempe landscape, including several created by women artists working in metro Phoenix.

click to enlarge
Edgar Fernandez starting a mural during a previous Phoenix Festival of the Arts.
Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Festival of the Arts

Margaret T. Hance Park
Friday to Sunday, December 13 to 15

The mural project organized by Hugo Medina will include 30 artists painting live this year, and there will be 10 murals for community members who want to paint during the event. Other festival activities at Hance Park include live music, performances, food trucks, and booths with more than 150 creatives working in diverse mediums. The festival is free and also includes a family zone. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekend.

click to enlarge
Vessel performance during a previous Mesa Arts Festival.
Mesa Arts Center

Mesa Arts Festival

Mesa Arts Center
Saturday and Sunday, December 14 and 15

The Mesa Arts Festival includes artists showing and selling their work, in addition to performances, live music, and hands-on activities. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. While you’re there, check out art along the nearby Valley Metro light rail line, and explore exhibits inside the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, which will include a solo exhibition by Phoenix mixed-media artist Mary Meyer.