The Hippo


Jul 5, 2020








Last year’s Art Jam. Courtesy photo.

Art Jam Riverside 
Where: Arms Park, 10 Arms St., Manchester 
When: Saturday, Sept. 8, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
Cost: Tickets cost $7 in advance online and $10 the day of the event 

In a jam
Manchester arts festival moves to Arms Park


 By Angie Sykeny
With a new name and a new location, Art Jam Bridge Fest returns to the Queen City on Saturday, Sept. 8 — this time as Art Jam Riverside, located at Arms Park, along the Merrimack River.
Last year’s event was held on Bridge Street, but its success prompted organizers to find a bigger space to accommodate more fun and bigger crowds.
“It’s the same colorful event as last year, but doubled in size,” event coordinator Hannah Dempsey said. “It’s going to be jam-packed with art and music and dance. There will be so much going on, it’s like a sensory overload.” 
There will be more than 60 artists on site, including visual artists like painters, sculptors, fiber artists, potters, graffiti artists and others, and performance artists, such as aerialists, Japanese drum players and others. 
“We call it the Art Jam because the idea is to expose people to all kinds of art. This isn’t your typical craft fair or art-in-the-park with people in sunhats,” said Bob Cox, general manager of 95.7 WZID, which organizes the event. “There will be traditional forms [of art] as well as aerialists and graffiti artists and different kinds of art that people may not have been exposed to before.” 
The artists will not only display and sell their work, but also do live demonstrations of their work and engage with attendees. 
“There is a lot of interaction between the artists and vendors and the spectators,” Dempsey said. “You don’t really feel a separation between them. There’s a real community feel to it.” 
Attendees can also participate in arts-related activities, such as a chalk wall, where they can write what they are hopeful for, a paint-by-number community mural wall and a color run runway, where participants will get T-shirts to cover in color as they run through a burst of colored chalk. 
A kids’ area will feature all kinds of lawn games, clowns and balloon art, henna and face paint, coloring book giveaways and more. 
There will be live music featuring a variety of genres on two stages by local musicians and bands including Blindspot, Donaher, Catfish Howl, A Different Engine, MB Padfield, Charlie Farren, Scott Plante and Andy Kiniry. 
Grab lunch or a snack from one of the food trucks or food vendors on site, selling tacos, Kona Ice, hot dogs, mac and cheese, Mediterranean cuisine and more. 
You can engage with the festival through social media by snapping a photo with the Art Jam Snapchat filter, or by participating in the Art Jam Photo Contest. For the contest, submit a photo that represents your original artistic expression on the event website anytime before the event. All photos will be displayed at the festival, and the person with the best photo will win a $200 Visa gift card. 
Cox said Art Jam fulfills the need for a more hip and vibrant arts event in Manchester. 
“We wanted to give artists a new way to get out there, in a space that is fun and bright and colorful, and to give people a chance to see art that they don’t usually get to see,” he said. 
The event benefits Families in Transition and Hope for NH Recovery in their fight against the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire. Last year, the festival raised more than $23,000, which was used for treatment and recovery programs including counseling and therapy that focuses on helping people who are overcome by addiction to become healthy, independent and active members of the community. 
“By raising money through the festival, it’s a lighter way to talk about a scary subject and to help the organizations that are involved in that fight,” Dempsey said. 

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