Festival Artists. To Our Artists and Prospective Artist Exhibitors

As of June 1, 2016, no more applications are being accepted for the 2016 Juried Artist Market. Please make plans to apply to the 2017 festival in early 2017.

We thank you for your interest in our event. Our desire is to make this event as “artist friendly” as possible. At RiverArtsFest, we bring together two significant forces involved in promoting public involvement in the visual and performing arts. Structured as an event open to the public we hope to create a new tradition in the life of Memphis and the Mid-South region which will rival the likes of Coconut Grove and Cherry Creek.

We understand that it is no easy task for you as an artist to create and travel long distances to market your works. From web presence to our easy online application process through Zapplication we have worked diligently to make this easy on you the artist. You may be assured we will be evenhanded in our jury process and respectful of the time and effort you have made to be a part of our festival. We further pledge to vigorously promote our festival to put you front and center with plenty of potential art loving patrons.

RiverArtsFest is one of the most well attended events in the cultural life of the City of Memphis and the Mid South. Last year an estimated 85,000 patrons came down to experience art in Memphis. The central focus point of our event is a large outdoor space for artists to show and sell their works directly to the public.

See APPLICATION below. In making application to our Juried Artist Market you agree to be bound by the following terms and conditions as outlined below.
EVENT DATE – Friday, October 21, Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23, 2016 
LOCATION – South Main District, Downtown Memphis, Tennessee
The mission of RiverArtsFest organization is to create access to a broad array of arts experiences; nurture the development and understanding of diverse art forms; and encourage the expanding depth of cultural life in the City of Memphis. RiverArtsFest is a three-day* outdoor celebration of the visual, performing and culinary arts. The festival offers a juried artist market, artist demonstration areas, educational activities for children and adults, live musical performances, and high-quality outdoor food vending. *Friday 6pm-9pm, partial opening.

Police and fire officials estimated last year’s attendance at approximately 85,000 attendees for the two-day event. The growth from our first year to this last year has almost doubled. A professional marketing firm manages a strategically focused plan to attract a diverse public likely to be interested in the visual fine arts. While the majority of our audience is from the Memphis metropolitan area, a significant and increasing number of art patrons from around the Mid-South also attend.

RiverArtsFest, Inc. is recognized by the IRS and State of Tennessee as a tax exempt art services organization under IRS Code section 501(c)(3). All proceeds are used to produce RiverArtsFest and to support other artistic, non-profit activities in this region.

RiverArtsFest will accept applications from artists working in diverse media through June 1, 2016. Each application must specify one of the media categories defined below. These categories organize artists’ work into logical groups for a jury’s review. While a balanced show is a principle objective, the festival establishes no quota by category.

As of June 1, 2016, no more applications are being accepted for the 2016 Juried Artist Market. Please make plans to apply to the 2017 festival in early 2017. Registration and application to our Juried Artist Market for 2016 will be handled on line through Zapplication which will allow you to register and submit your application along with the slides which are required. You may also pay application and booth fees through Zapplication. This service is free to you as an artist.

Application Processing fee: $30

We do not accept applications via mail. Please submit all completed applications online via the Zapplication Website. New users to Zapplication should apply online by clicking here.

Images submitted must be representative of the work to be shown. No work from commercial molds, kits, or manufactured work is accepted. Ceramic works must be handmade by the Artist. Photographic prints must have been processed by the Artist or processed under the Artist’s direct supervision. Jewelry must be crafted by the Artist; simple beading and assembly is not acceptable. Exhibitors are prohibited from selling non-original promotional items (posters, t-shirts, calendars, etc).

RiverArtsFest is open to all artists within the accepted media categories. Participation in any previous event does not guarantee acceptance! By signing the application, the Artist agrees that he or she had direct, hands-on involvement with the creation and execution of each piece of work to be exhibited. Collaborating artists may show only their collaborative works, both names should appear on the application. (Collaboration here means artistic, not business collaboration). No more than two artists may collaborate on work. Both must be included on and sign the application, and both must be present at the festival.

Reproductions of an artist’s one-of-a-kind original paintings, pastels, drawings, collage or mixed media may be exhibited under the following conditions:

  • Not more than 20% of an Artist’s exhibited work shall consist of reproductions.
  • Original work must be clearly visibly and of primary importance.
  • All reproductions must be signed and numbered.
  • All reproductions whether framed or unframed must be clearly and individually labeled.
  • “Reproduction” or “Limited Edition Reproduction” on the front of each item displayed.
  • All reproductions whether framed or unframed, must be displayed in browse bins. No reproductions may be hung on walls.
  • Reproductions may not be displayed in the same browse bin with original artwork.

    All original clay and porcelain work other than jewelry. No machine-made or mass produced work is permitted. If multiple pieces of the same design are displayed, each piece must be signed.


    Any original work for which the artist, using a computer, executed the original image or the manipulation of other source material. Work must be in limited editions, signed and numbered on archival quality materials. Note: Traditional photographs taken through a digital media should apply in the photography category.


    Works created using dry media including chalk, charcoal, pastels, pencil, wax crayon, etc. or from the fluid medium of inks and washes applied by pen or brush.


    All work crafted from fibers including basketry, embroidery, weaving, leatherwork, tapestry and papermaking. No machine tooling, machine-screened patterns or other forms of mass production are permitted. No factory produced wearable items, regardless of additional modification or enhancement by the artist.


    No forms of mass production are permitted.
    Graphics and Printmaking: Printed works for which the artist’s hand manipulated the plates, stones or screens and which have been properly signed and numbered as a limited edition. All photogravure, photocopy, and/or offset reproductions will be rejected. Printmakers are required to disclose both their creative and printmaking processes.


    All jewelry, whether produced from metal, glass, clay, fiber, paper, plastic or other materials. No commercial casts, molds or production studio work.


    All non-sculptural, non-jewelry works crafted from metals. No production studio work.


    Works, both 2 and 3-dimensional that incorporate more than one type of physical material to produce. Includes non-sculptural work as determined by the artist.


    Works created in oils, acrylics, watercolor, etc.


    Photographic prints made from the artist’s original image, which have been processed by that artist, or under his or her direct supervision, are included in this category. Photographers are required to disclose both their creative and printing processes on any prints, which have been properly signed and numbered as a limited edition.


    Three-dimensional original work done in any medium, including built up works in wood.

  • WOOD

    Original works in wood that are hand-tooled, machine-worked, turned or carved.
    You will submit 5 digital images for jury review. Images must be in 1920 pixel horizontal x 1920 pixel vertical format. (See Tips on formatting your images) Your submitted images will be reviewed by our selected Jury Panel in a blind jury process. Of the images submitted, 4 must be of representative pieces of your original work and 1 image of your booth display.

If your work is selected to be included in our Juried Artist Market, you agree to abide by the rules of the RiverArtsFest as outlined in the 2013 Artist Market Prospectus. You assume all responsibility for insuring against damages. We will use all reasonable care and diligence in securing your work while in the confines of the Artist Market but you agree that we will not be held liable for damages which may occur during the event.

At our discretion and only with your permission we may display one or more of your digital image on our web site for purposes of promoting the event now or in the future. You retain all rights to the image and the work you submit. We agree to remove your image from the site if you so request in writing.

Acceptance to exhibit in the artist market will be determined by a jury of art professionals who select artists based on a collective review. Approximately 190 artists will exhibit at RiverArtsFest 2014. The jury, comprised of working artists and art professionals, will view each artist’s images in a blind jury process. The artists’ identities are not disclosed to jurors; however, the artists’ statements attached to images will be visible. Artistic excellence is the sole criteria for selection of exhibitors. Decisions of the jury panel are final. Notification of acceptance will be made by email.

Please do not call. Artists who advance to the final round of jury process BUT are not invited will be considered alternates.

Artists invited to exhibit must signify their acceptance in Zapplication by paying a booth fee. Failure to respond by booth payment deadline will result in the invitation being withdrawn and an alternate being invited instead. The applicant is responsible to keep Zapp records updated with current mailing, email addresses and phone numbers.
A Wait List is selected from the jury’s scores in each category, and wait listed artists are invited as cancellations occur in that particular category. Wait list artists can be accepted up to and on the day of the show and will be notified by phone when a booth becomes available.
Regular and corner booths will be 10′ x 10. Corner booths will have two complete sides open to the public. A storage area will be behind or beside all booth spaces. There will be a 3-4″ easement between each tent. Artists must provide their own tent, racks and/or tables to display their work in an outdoor environment. The construct of the display must comply with all State and Local building and fire regulations.

Booths are on public streets that must be accessible to emergency personnel at all times. Booth displays MAY NOT hang out into emergency access lanes designated by Fire and Police officials. If this will be a problem for you, it is your responsibility to notify us of your request to be located in an area other than an emergency access lane. Artists desiring specific locations or having any other requests will be accommodated on a first-come, first served basis.

  • • Application fee – $30
  • • Regular booth – $400
  • • Corner booth – $500
Artists requiring electricity must pay an electrical connection fee. Artists are responsible for supplying extension cords that meet appropriate city and county codes.
Cancellations made in writing before cancellation date, August 31, 2014, will receive a 50% refund of their booth fee. There will be no refund after that date.
Awards are determined by a consensus of the jury and will be presented at each honoree’s booth on Saturday afternoon.
Festival grounds will be secured and patrolled by licensed, bonded security personnel during and after Artist Market Set-up. This service will continue around the clock until the Artist Market breaks down. RiverArtsFest will take all reasonable measures to protect the site; however, we assume no responsibility for any loss or damage to an artist’s property.
If selected to participate exhibitors should understand that this is an outdoor art event and as such it will be subject to whims of mother nature. We have had only 2 rain days in 6 years but it will happen from time to time. The event will go on rain or shine and will close at the times stated in the prospectus. In the event that the National Weather Service issues a severe thunderstorm warning for the area during festival hours, we will advise you of such and you may close and secure your space. For the safety of our patrons we will clear the street until such time as the severe weather passes. Artists must remain on the event site until the weather passes or the Festival Committee advises otherwise, and return to their space until the event closes. For More Information See Inclement Weather Festival Information
All proceeds from exhibitor’s sales belong to the exhibitor. We do not take a commission on sales. Exhibitors are responsible for reporting sales and paying required taxes to the State of Tennessee. The Department of Revenue will not be present on site, lets keep it that way by promptly filing your sales reports. Currently our state and local sales tax rate is 9.25%. You may file your report through the Tennessee Department of Revenue website.

If you have any questions please feel free to call 901-685-6825 or e-mail us. We look forward to hearing from you.

Presenting Sponsor


Friday, October 21
• FREE Rockin’ River Arts Show • 6-10p
• RAF Preview Party • 6-8p • $30

Saturday, October 22 • 10a-6p
• Admission: $5, kids 10 & under FREE

Sunday, October 23 • 10a-5p
• Admission: $5, kids 10 & under FREE