The Raleigh Arts Festival

Call to Artists for Artsplosure: The Raleigh Arts Festival 2016!

Each fall, Artsplosure calls artists like you who are interested in exhibiting and selling at our namesake festival that is held each year in the third week of May. This year, for the second time in the festival’s 37-year history, Artsplosure: The Raleigh Arts Festival will be three days: May 20-22, 2016. All work displayed or offered for sale must be of your own artistic creation.

A three-member jury will review and score all submissions and artists will be notified of acceptance or non-acceptance in late February.

At the festival, a three-judge panel awards sixe cash prizes, totaling $3,500!

The early deadline for entries is Friday, December 11, 2015. The final deadline for entries is Wednesday, January 27, 2016.

For more information on our Arts Festival, please email us at or call (919) 832-8699 ext. 804.


Relive #Artsplosure With Us!

Thank you for attending! How were you inspired and entertained this year?

This year’s festival featured three days of art, music and fun for the whole family. More than 80,000 people flocked to downtown as Artsplosure took over downtown from Fayetteville Street to Moore Square. Relive all of the excitement with us!

Check Out The Photo Album!

We had lots of great moments over the weekend and we’d love you to share yours! Post your photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #Artsplosure to relive the weekend with us!

Mobile App Released for Artsplosure – The Raleigh Arts Festival: May 15-17, 2015

Fidelity Investments has remained sponsor for the Artsplosure mobile app, free to guests with smartphones during The Raleigh Arts Festival.

Artsplosure, the presenter of Artsplosure – The Raleigh Arts Festival, today announced that its mobile app is now in the Apple App and Google Play stores, thanks to a sponsorship by Fidelity Investments, created by BluePane Studio. During May 15-17, the Artsplosure Art Market will be moving to Fayetteville Street, as well as the two main music stages. Kidsplosure will remain in Moore Square on Saturday and Sunday.

The mobile app for Artsplosure – The Raleigh Arts Festival can be downloaded for free in the Apple App Store here and in the Google Play Store here.

Designed to enhance the festival-goer’s experience and navigate the new festival footprint, the Artsplosure app provides what is “on tap” for the weekend of May 15-17 in downtown Raleigh. From the inclusion of nearly 200 art vendors in the Fayetteville Street Art Market to three days’ worth of music and Kidsplosure, the Artsplosure App puts all of the happenings at your fingertips.

Full Lineup Announced for Artsplosure – The Raleigh Arts Festival 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. – Artsplosure, the presenter of Artsplosure – The Raleigh Arts Festival, today announced the festival’s lineup of visual and performing artists. New this year: The festival has expanded to three days, from Friday, May 15 through Sunday, May 17. Additionally, due to the long-planned renovation of Moore Square, the festival is moving the Art Market and musical stages to Fayetteville Street. Kidsplosure will remain in Moore Square and take place on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17.

As it has been for 36 years, admission is free for Artsplosure. The festival in planned and presented for the whole community to enjoy.

This year’s Art Market will open at 11 a.m. on Friday, featuring nearly 180 visual artists from across North Carolina and the nation. These artists and crafters exhibit and sell their original works of art in the following categories: ceramics, fiber art, glass, jewelry, metal, painting, photography, wood, other 2D and 3D works. Three expert judges will award $3,500 across six merit awards to the top artists in the market.

Fayetteville Street will be filled with music beginning Friday at 5 pm on the Main Stage at City Plaza, with performances by Dana Leong, Matt Andersen and Those Darlins.

Saturday, Artsplosure will open the North Carolina Stage on Fayetteville Street toward Morgan Street. Irish songstress Karan Casey opens, followed by Porch 40, Girls Guns and Glory, and folk headliner Israel Nash. The Main Stage opens at 2 pm with Brazil’s own ChoroBop, followed by The Town Heroes and blues legend-in-the-making Jarekus Singleton. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Elvin Bishop will headline at 8 pm

On Sunday, the North Carolina Stage begins at noon with Fairmont Gospel Revue, followed by the Triangle Community Orchestra and jam band The Mantras. Rock and outlaw country pioneers, The Congress, will kick off the N.C. Stage’s headlining set at 5 pm The Main Stage begins at 1 pm with music by Robert Jospe Express, The Stray Birds and Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra. Artsplosure is thrilled to welcome local up-and-comers American Aquarium as the finale to the festival’s 36th anniversary.

Kidsplosure opens in Moore Square at 11 a.m. on Saturday with special performances by Puppeteer Tarish Jeghetto Pipkins, One Tribe Drum Circle and a slew of local young talents from across the Triangle. As always, Moore Square will be filled with crafts and other interactive activities for children to enjoy and learn from!

The 36th anniversary of Artsplosure’s spring arts festival brings a Community Birdhouse Project, the return of Art on the Move and art installation “Birdtown” by Paperhand Puppet Intervention.

Also open Friday through Sunday is a very special China Arts Festival in City Market’s Market Hall. In partnership with Carolina China Council Arts Festival Foundation, Artsplosure will welcome performing and visual artists from China to show off their work right here in Raleigh with the fine art exhibit in Market Hall and “Impressionist China” performance at Meymandi Concert Hall (Duke Energy Center) on Saturday evening.

A complete list of the full line-up of visual artists, special activities and music can be found at

The Mantras “Jam” at Artsplosure 2015

We love bringing North Carolinians to our stage! Jam band The Mantras will be taking Artsplosure’s NC Stage on Sunday, May 17.

Known for their “musical” conversation on stage, as well as a collaboration of passion they share with a loyal fan base and audience members, we look forward to a transcendent musical experience. Their most recent studio release, Jam Bands Ruined My Life, was recorded at the home studio of Jake Cinninger (axe man of Umphrey’s McGee), where Cinninger is actually featured on two tracks. In fact, the bond was furthered after the recording as The Mantras shared the stage with the renowned band while performing “Kinetic Bump.” the Mantras have named a slew of other impressive collaborations including The String Cheese Incident, Tea Leaf Green and Perpetual Groove.

Watch The Mantras in action below. We are so looking forward to their jam on Fayetteville Street in May!


Welcoming Matt Andersen to Artsplosure 2015

He has over 2 million views on YouTube and after clicking on video after video of his performances, we can see why. We’ve been trying to get him for a while and we’re so thrilled to bring Matt Andersen to the Artsplosure 2015 stage. Winner of Best Solo Performer at the Memphis Blues Challenge and taking home a 2013 European Blues Award, this powerhouse performer is not to be missed. With giant soul and commanding stage presence, downtown Raleigh better be prepared to have its socks knocked off!


He has an extensive list of seven albums, but his most recent Weightless finds him bringing in his blues influences but singing “soul/gospel over a reggae groove.” You can stream his music here.

While Matt has plenty of incredible original music, we can’t get enough of his cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine” that has over 1 million views on YouTube. See why below! And below that, be sure to check out Matt’s work on his new album Weightless just below.

Jarekus Singleton to play Artsplosure 2015

With original songs that “herald the emergence of new talent,” (USA Today) 29 year-old Jarekus Singleton is a trailblazer on the blues scene. From the same Mississippi roots as Muddy Waters and B.B. King, he melds hip-hop with rock energy into traditional blues with a strong and soulful voice that has earned fans of all ages.
This impressive young man began playing bass guitar under his uncle’s instruction at age nine in his grandfather’s church band. Later, he switched to lead guitar and began testing his vocal skills, all the while under the influence of greats B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jay-Z and even the likes of Brad Paisley. Before long, this Mississippi boy was making a name for himself as he combined his rap wordsmithing with his favorite influences, creating a modern take on traditional blues.

A star on the rise, he already has a number of accolades to his name including local regional awards and hearing his music on SiriusXM radio. And with a couple of albums under his belt, Jarekus has torn through the club and festival scene, having played twice at the internationally renowned Chicago Blues Festival – and now, the Artsplosure stage!

Watch this star in the making as Jarekus played Hal and Mal in Jackson, MS.


The Raleigh Arts Festival 2014 Award Winners

Congratulations to the following visual artists who received merit awards at Artsplosure – The Raleigh Arts Festival 2014!

Best in Show
Santiago Gutierrez

Judges’ Choice
John Furches
Other 2D

Merit Award
Victoria Sexton

Merit Award
James Barnes

Honorable Mention
Amanda Cousins

Honorable Mention
Fatou Sall
Fiber Art

Honorable Mention
Richard Wilson
Other 2D

To learn more about these talented artists and other exhibitors at this year’s festival, click here or download the free Artsplosure festival mobile apps:

You’re invited!

The second annual Artsplosure Cocktail Fundraiser will take place on Thursday, May 8, 2014, from 6 to 9:30 PM at Cobblestone Hall in downtown Raleigh’s City Market!

The fundraiser will feature fabulous hors d’oeuvres, refreshments, and a silent auction featuring some exceptional art and other special items! All proceeds from the event will go towards making Artsplosure’s upcoming namesake festival Artsplosure – The Raleigh Arts Festival — its 35th edition on May 17-18, 2014 — the best yet.

To buy tickets and become a sponsor, visit here.

Food & Novelty Item Vendors

Applications are now being accepted for Food/Beverage and Novelty Item vendors for Artsplosure 2014! Please download the appropriate application from the list below, and submit it along with all required information no later than March 26, 2014. Late applications will not be considered.

Food & Beverage Vendor Application for Artsplosure 2014 (PDF)


Novelty Item Vendor Application for Artsplosure 2014 (PDF)


If you have questions about the vending application process, or if you wish to be included in our food/beverage or speciality item vendor mailing list to be notified of future opportunities, please send an email to Please include your name, valid postal mailing address, and email address.

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