Columbia Art League, Columbia, MO
First held in 1959, Art in the Park is the oldest and largest art festival in mid-Missouri. It is organized by the Columbia Art League, winner of the 2015 Arts Organization of the Year from the Missouri Arts Council. The festival is the highlight of the summer season in this arts-focused city, home of the University of Missouri.
The 2-day festival is held at Stephens Lake Park, a historic tree-lined park set around the serene Stephens Lake. Art in the Park is capped at 110 artists and includes strolling magicians and children's entertainers, a small acoustic music stage, a children's art area, an Emerging Artist Pavilion showing work by local high school students, a Young Collector's Tent, and a food court. Festival admission is free.
Executive Director, Diana Moxon, has run the festival for the past 9 years and sees her mission as an advocate for the visiting artists. The festival enjoys extensive advance marketing locally and regionally. Central to the show's marketing is the message that shopping for art is vital to the longevity of the festival.
"Just wanted to let you know that I have never been treated better than at your event! Everyone was so gracious and welcoming and super helpful. The dinner was such a generous highlight and overall I had a lovely time and a great show! Thank you for having me be a part of it, I love Columbia, what a lovely place. Thanks again and I hope to be a part of the festival again" Shani Solomon
"Please pass on my thanks as well to all of the volunteers (and yourself). As I mentioned at dinner the other night, I put your event up at the top along with others such as Belleville (which I consider to be a great compliment). There are several really good shows out there. Some work well as the buying energy is really high. Some have logistics down to a science. Others are good because the enthusiasm from the patrons is incredible. Some are just plain fun to do because the staff treats you so well. Columbia has all these elements and more. You have a great crew out there! Great crews have great leaders. It was my first time visiting but it won't be my last. I can't wait to see everyone again next year. I have already passed the word on to several of my artist friends." Robert Jones
"My partner, Nathan and I, really enjoyed coming to Columbia and participating in Art in the Park. All of the volunteers were eager and happy to help with all of our needs. We do a lot of shows, but don't always feel so welcomed. Everything went so smoothly from Load-in to Load-out. The awards dinner was fabulous, we especially loved the Academy awards feel:) We hope to join you all again next year, thank you again for all the hard work that was put into a successful show, it is obvious a lot of love goes into it!" Dawn Middleton