ECA News Briefs

2020 Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival Cancelled Due to COVID-19

The organizers of the annual art event have announced the cancellation of the 2020 Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The festival, which had already been rescheduled from its normal spring date, will return in 2021 to its typical weekend, the third weekend in May (May 14–16).

Courtesy of Greater Reston Arts Center.

“We examined every possible precaution we could put into place to make a socially-distant festival successful and safe for artists, staff, and attendees,” said Erica Harrison, Associate Curator and Festival Director. “But with Virginia likely to remain in Phase 3 into September if not beyond, we were facing Phase 3 requirements that include 10 feet of social distancing throughout the event, creating and managing a one-way flow of pedestrian traffic, and an uncertain 1,000-person cap – all impossibly challenging for an open-air street festival of our magnitude. Volunteer numbers are likely to decline (and our volunteers are essential to a well-run festival in the best of times), and artists who remained committed to the event had dropped in recent weeks. We carefully surveyed all options and held on as long as we could; however, we have reached the point where we cannot, confidently, safely or practically proceed. The safety of everyone involved is our top priority.”

“This was a hard decision, knowing how deeply this impacts our artists (who we know value this opportunity, especially now), our audience (who may have appreciated the sense of normalcy the festival could provide), and ourselves (as a small arts non-profit with the festival accounting for over a third of our annual net income),” said Jaynelle Hazard, GRACE’s Executive Director and Curator. “But we are confident that this is the best course for protecting the participants and the general public, while preserving the integrity of the festival for 2021 and years to come. We look forward to next year, the festival’s 30th anniversary, and delivering another culturally-enriching, successful, and safe experience for all.”

(Source: Greater Reston Arts Center)