Sioux City Art Center ArtSplash organizers usually begin planning for next year's festival immediately after the last one ended.
That wasn't the case last year, when the 27th annual ArtSplash was canceled.
"Like most things, the 2020 ArtSplash took a year off due to COVID-19 concerns," Erin Webber-Dreeszen, the Art Center's development coordinator, said.
However, the "off" year gave Webber-Dreeszen and Art Center staff a chance to reassess and refocus the event, which had become a Labor Day weekend tradition for many Siouxland residents.
NEW LOCATION, MORE FAMILY FUN
"We always want to make ArtSplash bigger and better," she said. "Our goal, this year, is to make the festival more accessible to more people."
That meant moving the event to a more central location. When ArtSplash returns on Saturday and Sunday, it will be held entirely on the Sioux City Art Center's 225 Nebraska St. campus.
Previously, ArtSplash was held at Riverside Park, Grandview Park and, originally, near the Anderson Dance Pavilion by the Missouri River.
INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF THE ART CENTER
"We have such beautiful facilities that many people may have never seen before," Webber-Dreeszen said. "Why not open our doors for the entire community to see?"
For that reason, all of the Art Center's indoor galleries, including its Hands-On Kids Gallery, as well as the adjacent Gilchrist Learning Center, will be buzzing with activities all weekend long.
Just outside of the Art Center will be more than 50 exhibiting artists who will be displaying and showing many of their best pieces. Joining them will be a Kids Fun Zone and a multitude of food vendors.
In addition, an eclectic lineup of live entertainment from musicians like The Langleys and Li'l Red & The Medicated Moose and magicians like The Amazing Arthur will be dazzling audiences during the two-day event.
MOVIEMAKERS FIND A PLACE AT ARTSPLASH
Plus for the first time in ArtSplash history, the Siouxland International Film Festival will be screening many of its most critically acclaimed movies in the Art Center's newly updated Stark Lecture Hall.
"Everybody took a hit during the pandemic, especially the arts community," Webber-Dreeszen said. "That is why we're increasing the scope of this year's ArtSplash."
In fact, Webber-Dreeszen said she knows of a few artists and art institutions that didn't survive financially, post-pandemic.
"It's a shame," she said. "I think people need art, especially in bad times. We need more beauty in the world."
To bring more people in, this year's ArtSplash will have free admission to the public.
"This is our gift to Siouxland," Webber-Dreeszen said.
LOOKING FOR A FEW ARTISTIC WANNABES
And who knows? It may inspire a budding new artist to take up the brush.
"I still think there is a perception that art galleries and museum are stuffy and intimidating," Webber-Dreeszen said. "We're trying very hard to keep our art center a fun place with plenty of hands-on activities for people of all ages."
PART ART SHOW/PART DOWNTOWN FESTIVAL
She said this year's ArtSplash will feel like a downtown festival, in that attendees will be encouraged to spend time at the Art Center, while also exploring nearby events.
"For the first time that I can remember, Sioux City actually has an art district," Webber-Dreeszen said. "You can literally go up and down a few blocks on Nebraska and Pierce Street and discover art galleries, the public museum and us, within walking distance."
ART AS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Facilities like art centers and museums are often considered quality-of-life considerations for businesses and individuals moving into communities.
"We frequently host out-of-town guests who are amazed that a community the size of Sioux City can be home to such an outstanding art gallery," Webber-Dreeszen said.
Mainly, ArtSplash is just a fun way to spotlight local art and artists.
"After a crazy 2020, I think we deserved to welcome a bit of art into our lives," Webber-Dreeszen said.