Best Art Festival (2015)


While museums and galleries can feel intimidating and aloof to those outside the realm of connoisseurs and collectors, art festivals and fairs across the nation connect artists to their audiences, making visual art of all kinds accessible to art lovers and future art lovers alike.

  • Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

    Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

    With a mission to celebrate and preserve folk art traditions from around the globe, Santa Fe's renowned International Folk Art Market is the largest market of its kind on the planet. In 2014, 173 artists representing 59 countries across six continents participated, with nearly 19,000 visitors in attendance. Held over the second full weekend in July, the market creates a unique environment where buyers, art appreciators and artists from all corners of the globe can connect face to face.
    Photo courtesy of Bob Smith

  • Three Rivers Arts Festival

    Three Rivers Arts Festival

    Each June, the free-to-the-public Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival brings 10 days of public art installations, live music, theater, dance, gallery exhibitions, markets and interactive activities to the city of Pittsburgh. The non-profit Pittsburgh Cultural Trust produces the annual event, with a mission to create a safe space for the open exchange of ideas and creativity.
    Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

  • Artisphere

    Greenville, S.C.

    Since its establishment in 2005, Artisphere in Greenville, S.C. has earned regional as well as national esteem as one of the top art events in the nation. The three-day event hosts international-caliber artists in an outdoor showcase where patrons can meet artists face-to-face while shopping for one-of-a-kind pieces. Food, live performances, demos, wine tastings, silent auctions and hands-on activities for the little ones complement the visual art on display.
    Photo courtesy of Scott Holloway

  • ART Santa Fe

    ART Santa Fe

    2015 marks the 15th installment of ART Santa Fe, a four-day event showcasing a range of modern and contemporary art from more than 50 international galleries and artists. After enjoying the eye candy at the Santa Fe Convention Center event, festival attendees have their pick of the city's some 240 art galleries and handful of world-class art museums to enjoy.
    Photo courtesy of Jupiterimages

  • Festival of Arts

    Festival of Arts
    Laguna Beach, Calif.

    The Laguna Beach Festival of Arts, a juried fine art show, features 140 Southern California artists showing their work in an open-air gallery setting, perfect for enjoying a SoCal summer. The Pageant of the Masters, a related event that takes place concurrently, puts on theatrical performances, or "living pictures," of iconic classical and contemporary works of art. Art classes, live music and other special events round out the calendar.
    Photo courtesy of Festival of the Arts of Laguna Beach

  • Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival

    Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival

    The self-proclaimed largest four-day event in the Southwest, Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival is also the largest and most popular event in the city. Each April, 200 juried artists line historic Main Street, while dancers, musicians and other performing artists entertain. The event is free, and young visitors will find two city blocks dedicated to interactive, hands-on activities.
    Photo courtesy of Geno Loro

  • SOFA Expo

    SOFA Expo

    Chicago's SOFA Expo, short for Sculpture Objects Functional Art + Design Fair, is one of the world's top gallery-presented art fairs focused on three dimensional art and design. Each autumn 80 dealers gather on Navy Pier with an estimated 35,000 visitors in attendance. The educationally-focused event also features a lecture series and special art exhibits.
    Photo courtesy of Cheri Eisenberg

  • Black Comix Arts Festival

    Black Comix Arts Festival
    San Francisco

    Free and open to the public, the Black Comix Arts Festival features as part of San Francisco's MLK festivities. The event, the result of a partnership between Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation and the San Francisco Public Library, aims to showcase the creativity of African Americans in both comic arts and visual pop culture through a grand expo, hands-on activities, film screenings and cosplay events.
    Photo courtesy of Black Comix Arts Festival

  • Red Earth Festival

    Red Earth Festival
    Oklahoma City

    Each summer American Indian dancers and artists from around the continent gather in Oklahoma City for the annual Red Earth Festival – a celebration of the richness and diversity of Native American culture and art throughout North America. Visitors have the opportunity to purchase beadwork, jewelry, baskets, pottery, sculptures, paintings and traditional attire made by some of the best artists in the nation, and the Red Earth Fancy Dance Competition ranks among the most prestigious competitions of its kind.
    Photo courtesy of Red Earth Festival

  • Ann Arbor Street Art Fair

    Ann Arbor Street Art Fair

    For more than five decades, the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair has sought to foster public knowledge and appreciation of contemporary fine arts and crafts by connecting artists and the Ann Arbor community. This juried street art fair – the oldest of four art fairs in the city – welcomes nearly 200 artists, complemented by a number of other interactive activities and performances.
    Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Street Art Fair


After four weeks of voting, USA TODAY 10Best readers have selected their top 10 winners.

Snagging the number one spot is the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, an annual July weekend that sees some 170 artists from around the globe gather in the New Mexico capital – it's the largest festival of its kind on the planet.

It was a tight race between the winner and runner-up for Best Art Festival, the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh. This free event features 10 days of public art, live performances, markets and interactive activities.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Art Festival are as follows:

  1. Santa Fe International Folk Art Market
  2. Three Rivers Arts Festival - Pittsburgh
  3. Artisphere - Greenville, S.C.
  4. ART Santa Fe
  5. Festival of Arts - Laguna Beach, Calif.
  6. Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival
  7. SOFA Expo - Chicago
  8. Black Comix Arts Festival - San Francisco
  9. Red Earth Festival - Oklahoma City
  10. Ann Arbor Street Art Fair

Additional nominees included the Bayou City Art Festival in Houston, Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver, San Francisco International Arts Festival, Expo Chicago, Burning Man in Nevada, Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Art Basel in Miami, the Armory Show in New York, National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta and the High Desert Test Sites in Yucca Vally, Calif.

10Best and USA TODAY extend their congratulations to all the winners. The contest was promoted on 10Best and USA TODAY.

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