In August 2001 the seed was planted for a new arts event in Annapolis after two art galleries (ARTFX gallery & 49 West Coffeehouse) on West Street starting hosting art receptions at the same time on the First Sunday of each month. Combining the 2 art receptions brought larger attendance to both gallery’s monthly art receptions. By spring of 2002 other businesses on the first block on West Street joined in hosting art receptions, live music and artist demonstrations on first Sundays of the month and branding the day into a marketing campaign called First Sunday Arts.
Today the First Sunday Arts festival attracts between 7000 and 10000 people each month for shopping at 130 local and regional artisan vendors on West Street between Church Circle and Lafayette Street and in Whitmore Park on Calvert Street in downtown Annapolis. It has become the premier place in the region to purchase a wide variety of local and regional produced artworks. There is a wide variety of items to shop from including handcrafted jewelry, pottery, glass, clothing, purses, cutting-boards, leather, iron-work, wood-turnings, furniture, sculpture, photography, paintings, garden art, home decor, gourmet foods and more.
The festival will is also packed with a wide variety of entertainment with music groups performing though out the day, plus face painting, balloon sculptures and magicians for the kids. The entertainment schedule for August 7th includes showcasing some of Maryland’s’ best Song Writers, Americana, Blues, Jazz and Big Band music groups.
The Entertainment Schedule (click on links for more info on performers)
Garrett Park Stage in the Great Frogs Wine Garden
11-1 Swamp Candy internationally touring primitive blues influenced Americana duo
2-4 Annapolis Junction Big Band 17 musicians playing the best in big band music
Weisman Park next to the Visitors Center
12-2 Van Meter American roots rocker and songwriter
3-5 Alex Peters A Songwriter bedded in the roots of Americana rhythm
City Gate Park
2-4 Ginger Wolf “Hawaiian Space-Jazz”, picture Santo and Johnny at a pool party on the moon with Radiohead.
Jeremy Ragsdale Voice Studio Stage at Whitmore Park
12-5 JRVS Presents: The Lead Singer! Student Showcase featuring students from Jeremy Ragsdale Voice Studio
All the restaurants in the festival area will be setting up cafe dinning and food trucks are set up by Whitmore Park so its easy to take a break and enjoy some good food at the festival. Several of the restaurants also host entertainment during and after the festival including Rams Head Tavern with music on the back patio and On Stage, c
There are several art galleries and museums with new exhibits in and around the Annapolis Arts District to check out, including Banneker Douglas Museum, ArtFarm, The Annapolis Collection Gallery, Whitehall Gallery, Nancy Hammond Gallery and Fin Art. Art classes can also be reserved during the day at Wine and Design and Mission Escape Rooms has fun interactive game rooms.
The success of First Sunday Arts festivals has also allowed its parent organization Inner West Street Association to sponsor and help create new arts related events in the West Street / Annapolis Arts District corridor including two free concerts series in Whitmore Park (Sunday Gospel in the Park, Dixie Hotel Thursday Night Jazz), the Annapolis Fringe Festival held September 21-24, the Annapolis Chocolate Binge Festival on December 4th and its newest event Dinner Under the Stars held on Wednesday evenings from July 13th to September 21st.
The First Sunday Arts Festivals are conveniently located in downtown Annapolis on West Street and Calvert Streets where parking is a breeze. There are five large parking garages including Whitmore, Gott’s Court and Loews Hotel parking garages located on the festival grounds and Knighton and the State Parking Garages within a 1 to 3 block stroll from the festival.
Admission to the First Sunday Arts Festivals is always free and free parking is available at the State Parking Garage located at 19 St. John Street. So bring your friends, family and your friendly pets to spend a day out on the town. This years festivals will continue on the first Sunday of each month through November with a bonus festival on the first Sunday of December called the Annapolis Chocolate Binge Festival. First Sunday Arts Festivals hours are 11am to 5pm on Sundays August 7, September 4, October 2, November 6 and December 4 from noon to 5pm.
The First Sunday Arts Festivals are sponsored by the Inner West Street Association and Great Frogs Winery and managed by Evans Management LLC
For more information and updates visit www.firstsundayarts.com