Nantucket Arts Festival Spotlights the Massachusetts Island’s Lively Arts from Friday, October 2 through Sunday, October 11

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Nantucket Arts Council's 10-day celebration of the arts features exhibits, concerts, performances, lectures and screenings.

Nantucket Arts Festival returns this fall for 10 days including Columbus Day Weekend, from Friday October 2 through Sunday, October 11, with dozens of visual art exhibits, concerts and performances. Scheduled so far are showings of painting, sculpture and the printed arts; concerts of popular, classical and operatic music; theater performances; and screenings of videos and movies.

Produced by Nantucket Arts Council, the island’s leading advocacy organization since 1973 for all of the arts, the festival includes amateur and professional artists from Nantucket and beyond. This year’s festival theme, “Art of the See,” is to be interpreted literally, figuratively or playfully for its intentional double meaning.

The festival’s centerpiece exhibit of visual art opens Friday, October 2, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Preservation Institute Nantucket, located at 11 Centre Street. Invitations to artists invite them to “leap into the unknown” and “be immersed in new ways of seeing” for the festival’s centerpiece art show, known for its exploration of new directions in visual arts, outside of the mainstream. Musical entertainment, food and refreshments will be offered during the opening night, with the exhibit then continuing daily through Sunday, October 11. Other festival events happen at locations around the island.

New this year, Boston Conservatory presents “Opera Stars of Tomorrow,” featuring students from its renowned opera program in a medley of operatic selections, on Friday, October 9, 7 p.m. at Dreamland Film and Performing Arts Center. The event benefits year-round live streaming of opera at the Dreamland, a program supported in part by Nantucket Arts Council.

Throughout the week, other highlights include the Nantucket Shorts Festival of films and videos, a kids’ mini film fest, lectures, concerts in downtown area pocket parks and other public spaces, artist performances or readings in restaurants, open artist studios, private gallery events, and other arts and cultural events by the island’s nonprofit organizations.

Nantucket Arts Festival culminates over Columbus Day Weekend, with an organ crawl on Saturday featuring a series of performances in downtown churches and a Sunday wet paint auction and dinner by Artists Association of Nantucket.

Many events are free of admission. For more information and up-to-date schedules of arts festival events, visit the Nantucket Arts Council website at or call their office at 508-325-8588.

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William Ferrall
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