Sidewalk Festival returns for 7th year, will feature 40-plus performance and art installations

The seventh annual Sidewalk Festival returns to the Artist Village in Old Redford, at Grand River and Lahser, Aug. 1-3, kicking off with a storytelling event Thursday and culminating in the main event boasting some of Detroit’s best creative talent on Saturday.

Known for not using traditional stages, using alleys, gardens, and the streets as platforms for art and discovery, this year’s festival explores the theme of Peace Power Utopia. Some of the special performances and installations include jazz artist Marion Hayden, Detroit-based artist collective Fringe Society, and architect Aaron Jones.

Thursday’s events include Citywide Slam Poets facilitating a workshop for teens ages 13-18 to learn how to use spoken word for storytelling followed by “Storytelling Under The Stars” featuring Sweet Potato Sensations owner Cassandra Thomas and Artist Village’s Alicia George.

Friday’s “Sidewalk After Dark” features several music and dance performances, including Bryce Detroit and Supercoolwicked in the Large Courtyard and French Classics, a supergroup of dancers hailing from different cities and crews, on the Street Stage.

The main attraction on Saturday boasts 40-plus performance and art installations from artists from across the city.

"We invite people to experience art and performance in an immersive, participatory environment,” founder and executive director Ryan Meyers-Johnson said in a release. “Sidewalk Festival is about inviting artists to explore the urban landscape through the lens of experimental, art, culture, and creativity. By taking away the traditional stage space and replacing it with an alley, storefront, or garden we challenge festival attendees to see and experience the world differently."

Since launching in 2012, the festival has grown from an individually curated event to an annual outdoor celebration of performance and installation.

In addition to the festival, Sidewalk Detroit produces community programs at

Eliza Howell Park, as well as strategic community-focused research that aims to create and foster relevant, equitable spaces for art and creativity.

The festival is free. For a complete list of artists and events happening this weekend, check out

Read more articles by Dorothy Hernandez.

Dorothy Hernandez is managing editor of Model D. Prior to joining Issue Media Group, she was a food journalism fellow with Feet in Two Worlds and WDET and has contributed to NPR, Thrillist, Eater, and a variety of other local and national publications. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter @dorothy_lynn_h.
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