Photo by Justin Gu

Palo Alto hosts first ‘Festival of the Arts’ in three years

The Palo Alto Festival of the Arts returned this weekend to University Avenue after a two-year hiatus with a variety of visual and performance artistry, food and live music.

Charlie Weidanz, CEO of the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, said he is glad to welcome everyone back to the 39th festival.

“My favorite part about running the event is seeing everybody from the community come back and be outside and enjoying not just the artists, vendors, food and atmosphere, but also just enjoying each other,” Weidanz said.

Weidanz said the city Chamber of Commerce has spent a year coordinating all the artists, vendors and sponsors and advertising the event. He added the city hopes to build off of the festival to organize future community-friendly events.

“The main thing is that we continue to have events that help all of our businesses — both the vendors that are here and the vendors that are on University Avenue and the side streets,” Weidanz said.

Overall, Weidanz said he is satisfied with how the festival went.

“We’re very pleased with the artists that have come back,” Weidanz said. “And we’re very pleased with the turnout both Saturday and Sunday.”

Nine-time Emmy-nominated fine artist Amy Garcia, who has exhibited her work in art shows all over California, said she is relieved that shows like this festival are reopening after being closed during COVID-19.

“I’m glad that it’s starting up again because people really need to exhibit their work and feel the social contact,” Garcia said. “After three years of being dormant and not doing anything, It’s good to reunite with our artist friends.”

Garcia, who often works alone in her studio, said she appreciates the interactive nature of art shows.

“When I get out here and show my work, it’s like, ‘Hey, what’s your favorite? What do you like about my work?’ You get good feedback,” Garcia said. “I missed working in an environment where you’re talking about [art] all the time.”

Garcia said she is pleased to have been able to display her works at the Palo Alto Festival of the Arts.

“This is a great little town, and this is a great little art show,” Garcia said. “It’s good to be back.”