Thousands attend annual arts festival

Photo of festival courtesy: Tiara Price

The Chain of Parks Art Festival is where the vibrant pulse of Tallahassee’s downtown beats in harmony with the limitless expressions of talented artists. This annual celebration transforms the heart of the city into a mesmerizing gallery, inviting all to explore the diverse talents of more than 150 different artists. 

Last weekend’s festival created an opportunity for both locals and visitors to immerse themselves in the arts and enjoy a fun-filled two days. This vibrant celebration of art and culture celebrated its 24th anniversary. 

At every turn guests could find a wide array of artwork from talented artists across various mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics and jewelry. The festival included live music performances, food vendors offering delicious treats, and interactive activities for attendees of all ages. 

Photo of festival courtesy: Tiara Price

At the festival entrance, three women were captivated, standing in awe as they admired “The Original Art of Ricky Steele,” engaging in conversation about the emotions his artwork appeared to evoke.

Linda Johnson  said she is drawn art that expresses the Black experience.

“Artists like this are the reason I look forward to coming to this art festival. There is so much detail and real life experience in this painting that I wouldn’t be able to buy in a retail store,” Johnson said. 

Johnson  and two friends, all graduates of FAMU, have called Tallahassee home for over a decade. They voiced their appreciation for the Chain of Parks Art Festival and its longstanding tradition of introducing the city’s residents to new artistic mediums.

Margaret Blanche noted her observation of the crowd participation since the festival has made a comeback after COVID-19 struck in 2020.

“Since this event has come back to full operations, it seems every year there are a lot more vendors and a lot more community participation as well,” Blanche said. “The past two years I have had to come for both days of the festival in order to experience everything they have to offer.”

Photo of festival courtesy: Tiara Price

While certain festival traditions continue to delight the community, the Chain of Parks Art Festival is always innovating, seeking fresh avenues to captivate the interest of participants who may return year after year.

Jenny Keeble has called Tallahassee home for just over seven years, and she has made it a tradition to attend the Chain of Parks Art Festival almost every year. She makes note of some of the new attractions implemented this year, including the community corner. 

“I had never seen the strip of small nonprofit businesses by the entrance before. They were given out really helpful information on how we can donate to their specific causes or how to volunteer,” Keeble said. “Another great addition was the designated kids area, it is great to see children outside and playing with chalk and just enjoying being children without phone screens or iPads,” she added. 

Tallahassee native Eluster Richardson, a featured cover artist for the Chain of Parks Art Festival, is the creative force behind the artwork showcased on the official website and many of the visual promotions used to advertise the festival. Richardson said he’s grateful for the local arts community.

“It is an honor to be recognized as a cover artist and to have my work displayed for the world to see and people recognize me and all of the hard work that got me to this place,” Richardson said. “I used to travel all across the states a lot and I have always enjoyed coming back to Tallahassee to participate in Chain of Parks Arts Festival to check in with my art family and there’s nothing like the warm and cozy feeling of being home.”