American Artisan Festival | June 17-19, 2022
Jun 17 - Jun 19
The following is a press release:
Nashville’s longest-running outdoor art show and favorite Father’s Day weekend activity for over forty years is returning this summer to Centennial Park. This will be the 46th year of The American Artisan Festival, and after a two-year break due to Covid, artisans from around the country are eager to showcase their work again to art lovers in Nashville.
The show will return to its home in Centennial Park, and for the first time, will take place in its new location at The Bandshell. And with the move to the Bandshell, there will be an expanded musical offering, which is a very exciting addition to the festival this year.
“We have always supported musicians at the Festival, showcasing singer-songwriters and acoustic performances,” says Samantha Saturn, who is now the AAF Director and is the daughter of Nancy Saturn, who started the festival in 1974. “And we are excited this year to be launching a full line-up of live music and performances at The Bandshell ranging from Americana, to Country to Gospel, and more.”
The art and music will be free to enjoy, and for those looking for an elevated experience, the Festival this year will also be offering Patrons Day and Weekend Passes. Patron passes will include a parking pass for the lot closest to the event on 25th avenue, a shaded exclusive food and beverage area, VIP seating for the musical performances, a commemorative poster, and an on-site art advisor available for free private consultations about purchasing art for your home, Father’s Day gifts for Dad, or jewelry for your loved ones or yourself. A portion of proceeds from the Patron Passes will also support Gilda’s Club of Middle Tennessee, a non-profit organization that provides free cancer support services and programs to patients and their families. To learn more about Patron Passes visit our website.
The art at the festival will include fine art, painting, photography, fine jewelry, ceramics, glass, wood, furniture, garden art, and more. Enthusiasts, collectors, and curious onlookers are all welcome to explore the work of 100+ different artists curated from all across America over the three-day weekend. Nashvillians of all ages are invited to engage in their creative side and enjoy the many onsite art installations, artisanal food, handcrafted drinks, free Kids Art activities, and much more.
Saturn Family Roots Run Deep: Curator and Director of the festival—and Nashville native—Samantha Saturn has revived this festival more than once. The festival was started by her mother Nancy Saturn in 1974, and the event has always been a fixture in the Nashville arts calendar on the third weekend in June. Nancy Saturn ran the event until 2010 when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, and she asked her daughter then to step in and run the event for her, knowing she would not make it to see its 40th year. Her husband Alan Saturn died the previous year from cancer also. Samantha ran the event for a few years from Brooklyn to honor her mother and father, but then the festival was forced to take a hiatus as Centennial Park went through a multi-year renovation.
When Saturn relocated to Nashville from New York in 2014, she was surprised at the community’s nostalgia for the event. “Everywhere I went, I would run into people who told me that they missed the festival, would I start it up again? The artists too would email to ask if they could come to do the show again. I realized that even after all those years, there was a real desire for it to continue and that this festival that my mother had created had become an important institution that Nashville wanted to support. And it wasn’t just the art, it was the music too.”
Having come through the pandemic, it felt more important than ever to bring the event back and gather as a community again at the Festival, Samantha reached out to her sister Jacqueline, the President of Virgin Music Label and Artist Services, to see if she might want to help her revive and co-host this festival–but this time in a new location at the historic Bandshell which would provide a new backdrop for an expanded musical offering. As a music city native and long-time music executive, Jacqueline was thrilled to have an opportunity to work with her sister on this important family tradition and to find a way for the festival to expand its music and artist development platform. Rachel Saturn, the third of the Saturn Sisters, too has joined to help with curating the free kids activities and helping to coordinate programming with Gilda’s Club. The festival has and always will be a family affair and one that honors 46 years of history in Nashville, which is part of what makes it so special to the community.
What to expect and what has changed: The festival is free to attend as it has been for 46 years; however, attendees can elevate their experience by purchasing a Patron Pass which can be bought for the entire weekend or as one-day tickets. “We have families who have been coming to our festival for many decades as part of their Father’s Day plans. To honor that, we wanted to offer an elevated experience with food and drinks and a shaded tent to sit and enjoy the live music, some drinks, and snacks and at the same time support Gilda’s Club of Middle Tennessee, a non-profit we are committed to supporting through this event,” says AAF Director, Samantha Saturn. Patron passes will include a parking pass for the lot closest to the event on 25th avenue, food and beverage offerings, VIP seating for the musical performances on the historic Bandshell, appointments with a personal shopping concierge, and a commemorative poster. To learn more about how to purchase Patron Passes visit our website.
Also, attendees should note the location change within the park, from the Front Lawn of years past to the area around the historic Bandshell which was originally built in 1928 and later re-built in 1963. The location has hosted a variety of concerts and artists throughout the years and the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. Other notable performances include Bruce Springsteen, Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Jimmy Buffet, Pat Boone, Roy Acuff, and Flatt and Scruggs.
This year’s festival is also amping up its music offering in partnership with Virgin Music and SESAC who will be hosting a wide range of musical acts for the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday sets. “People have come to expect not only the best artists but a great musical line-up as well,” shares Samantha. The musical lineup will be announced in early May.
The festival has also always had a close connection with Gilda’s Club of Middle Tennessee, a non-profit organization that provides free support to patients and families living with cancer. Nancy Saturn was a founding member of the Nashville chapter many years ago and the organization has helped thousands of families navigate cancer. The Saturn sisters want to ensure this festival continues to act both as an artist development experience, but also as an awareness driver and fundraiser for Gilda’s Club, a critical resource for our community. “We are thrilled that in our parents honor, we can not only host this festival they held so dear as a Father’s Day tradition but also continue to support Gilda’s Club,” shared The Saturn Sisters. A portion of proceeds from this year’s event will go on to fund Gilda’s Club programs and the Gilda’s team will be onsite at the event providing information to festival-goers seeking cancer support services.
The festival is held each year over Father’s Day Weekend and features over 100 artists and makers from all over the country. Saturn believes the festival showcases the very best in American handcrafts and fine art, and all the artists create works by hand, in America. Ceramics, jewelry, wood, photography, painting, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media, furniture, toys, clothing, and more—and prices vary from $25 to $2500. “It’s an opportunity for anybody to become an art collector,” she says.
What: The American Artisan Festival
Where: On the Bandshell lawn, enter via 25th Street
When: Father’s Day Weekend: June 17 12 PM – 8 PM, June 18 10 AM – 7 PM, June 19 10 AM – 5 PM
Cost to attend: Free to browse and enjoy the TBA music, elevated Patron Passes are on sale now.
Why: Celebrate 46 years of History in Centennial Park. Collect works from over 100 of the best American Artists. Connect with Nashville’s community with three days of live music @The Bandshell complete with great food, drinks, activities for kids and so much more.
What else will be announced in the coming weeks? Stay tuned for a full list of exhibiting artists, the 3-day musical lineup, and details on kid-specific programming, live art demonstrations, and public art experiences.
Once again, AAF will share the park with Musicians Corner on June 17 and 18, and attendees are encouraged to check out the Musician’s Corner lineup for a full day of uniquely Nashville programming alongside the festival.
This year’s festival will take place June 17-19 at Nashville’s Centennial Park.
American Artisan Festival is presented in conjunction with Good Neighbor Festivals. www.americanartisanfestival.