Event Information

CenterFest Arts Festival 2019

Downtown Durham
Durham, North Carolina (South)

Phone: 919-560-2719
Event Dates: 9/21/19 - 9/22/19
Application Deadline: 5/1/19 Midnight EST

The application deadline has passed.


Images: 6 (a booth shot is required)

Fee (Application Fee): $30.00

You can submit up to 3 applications for this show.


Event Summary
Now in its 45th year, CenterFest Arts Festival is the longest running outdoor juried arts festival in North Carolina. Located in Durham's vibrant Downtown District, the event is a favorite among visual artists, performing artists and visitors. CenterFest is particularly lauded by exhibitors for its artist services amenities, including complimentary breakfast, lunch delivered to artist tents, attentive staff, abundant volunteers, and easy load-in/load-out. CenterFest’s vibe is complemented by Durham’s acclaimed “foodie” culture, dynamic entertainment and historic districts, and a cutting edge creative community.

General Information
At a glance...
  • Major signature festival of Durham and Triangle
  • Ranked #56 by Sunshine Artist 2018 Fine Art Fairs
  • 34,000+ visitors and art buyers
  • Friendly and supportive festival staff & volunteers
  • Easy Load In/Load Out
  • Reserved free artist parking nearby
  • Booth sitters available
  • Indoor restrooms at Arts Council building
  • Overnight security
  • Strong media partnerships with radio, television and regional newspapers
  • Marketing support from Discover Durham, Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, and Downtown Durham Inc.
  • Strong regional Triangle market that draws visitors from multiple counties
  • VIP event for targeted art buyers
  • Centerfest.durhamarts.org lists artist profiles, schedules, directions & maps
  • 1 complimentary breakfast and 1 complimentary lunch per day per artist booth
  • Merit awards of $1,000, $600, $500, $400, plus Citizen's Choice Award

Fees and Venue Snapshot
Festival location: Downtown Durham
Public Admission: Free, suggested donation
Parking: Available for vehicles and trailers, near festival site
Jury Fee: $30 (non-refundable)
Single Booth Fee: 10' x 10' booth spaces: $225
Double Booth Fee: 10' x 20' booth space: $450
Corner Space Premium: additional $75 fee
Early Load In: A limited number of artists may pay a $75 fee to load in and set up starting at 9pm on Friday, September 20. Standard exhibitor set up hours are 6am - 9am on Saturday, September 21.
Electricity: Available for $75 fee (with advance reservations/payment)
Security: City police onsite during the day and overnight
Festival Dates & Hours
Friday, September 20
9pm: Optional early load in and exhibitor set up. Additional fee applies; limited availability.

Saturday, September 21
6am - 9am: Exhibitor set up
10am - 6pm: Festival Hours
10am: Merit Judging Begins

Sunday, September 22
8:30am - 10:30am: Exhibitor set up
11am - 5pm: Festival Hours

Artist Awards
  • Best of Show: $1000
  • First Place: $600
  • Second Place: $500
  • Third Place: $400

  • Basket Weaving
  • Clay (chiefly functional)
  • Digital
  • Drawing
  • Fiber (decorative)
  • Fiber (wearable)
  • Glass
  • Jewelry
  • Leather
  • Metal
  • Mixed Media
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Paper
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture (non-functional)
  • Wood

Application Process
All artists who wish to participate in CenterFest 2019 must submit this online application with images and application fee, even if they have been juried into CenterFest in past years. Returning artists are rejuried every three years: artists who have been juried into CenterFest in 2017 or 2018 will be exempt from the jury process. Artists new to the festival, artists who have not been juried since 2016, or wishing to exhibit a new media will be juried. CenterFest reserves the right to decline acceptance to artists who were juried into the festival in 2017 or 2018, if they were found to have been in violation of rules and regulations in the past. If the applicant elects to pay fees by check, checks should be made out to the Durham Arts Council.

Restrictions on Work
Electrostatic prints, imports or commercially manufactured items, including cast molds (except for original molds designed by the artist), items made from “kits,” paper/plastic flowers, live plants or any consumable items (food, soap, lotions, candles, etc.) are NOT ALLOWED at CenterFest. Work done by a production studio is not acceptable. A production studio is defined as a process consisting of multiple individuals, other than artists, who design, fabricate and assemble the artwork contained within the application. CenterFest wants artwork made by the hands of the artists selling the work - if the hands of other artists make the artwork, please do not apply. CenterFest reserves the right to question any applicant about his/her creative practice prior to jurying and prior to the festival. The may include, but not be limited to, requiring photos and/or video of the studio and artist working.

Reproduction Policy
Iris or Gicleé prints, off-set lithographs, laser and ink-jet prints are acceptable reproducible processes for sale only when in compliance with the following restrictions: Each piece created with one of the above reproducible methods must be clearly labeled “Reproduction” and have title, price, and method of reproduction visible. These may only be displayed in one bin, size not to exceed 2’ x 3’ and/or on one wall of an artist’s booth regardless of number of artists sharing a booth or number of booth spaces purchased.
  • Prints Allowed: Conventionally printed photographs*, digitally produced photographs/collages/paintings/graphics* (laser and ink jet prints), original lithographs and serigraphs, monotype, monoprint, intaglio, relief printing, planographic printing, stencil printing, and artist-manipulated xerography. * All photographic prints, conventionally or digitally produced, must be printed by the photographer, or under the photographer’s direct supervision. They must be labeled with all relevant output information (ex: silver gelatin print on fiber paper; Iris print on Arches watercolor paper).

Selection Criteria
In order to maintain the quality standard of CenterFest, we re-jury each artist every three years. CenterFest acceptance is based on artistic merit (excellence and creativity in concept, design, and technique) as determined by the CenterFest jurors. All decisions are final.

Durham Arts Council is committed to a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, gender preference, marital status, or political affiliation in all programming and employment. Durham Arts Council’s CenterFest is committed to providing equal access for all visitors and participants. Those unable to comply with the application requirements listed above because of a disability should contact the CenterFest office at 919-560-2719 prior to May 1, 2019 so that every effort at reasonable accommodations may be made.

The most common reason for rejection during jurying is quality. Some helpful hints in photographing your work:
  • Keep the background plain.
  • Avoid group shots - one object per frame.
  • Present a consistent body of work.
Artists working in more than one medium, or who have two or more distinct bodies of work within the same medium, are welcome to submit applications for each body of work. Please be aware that multiple applications require an application fee for each submission. Artists are limited a maximum of three applications. For each application, artists are required to submit five images of their work, and one photograph of their booth display.

Artist Attendance
The applying artist must accompany all exhibits on both days of the festival, exhibiting work only in the categories for which the artist was screened and accepted.

Work exhibited must be consistent with the application images submitted by the artist and follow CenterFest guidelines. DAC reserves the right to remove any work in question from the show, as well as the exhibitor if DAC directives are not followed. Removal of exhibitor by DAC would result in a forfeit of all fees; participation in future CenterFests may be refused. If you have questions regarding this policy, please contact DAC at 919-560-2719 before the May 1 deadline.

Refund Policy
We understand that occasionally an artist will need to withdraw from the festival after having been accepted. You will be refunded 100% of your booth fees if you notify the Arts Council in writing by August 10, 2019. After this date, there are no refunds. Application fees are non-refundable. Furthermore, should you choose to not set up your booth for the first day of the event for any reason, you will not be allowed to set up your booth on the second day of the event.

Rainout Procedure
CenterFest is a “rain or shine” event; no rain dates! Artists should be prepared to exhibit in the case of light rain. In the case of heavy rain, the Festival Committee will consider hazards and needs of participants in making any decision about suspension or cancellation of any part or all of the festival. No refunds will be made due to inclement weather or an artist’s decision not to participate. Should an artist choose to leave before the end of the festival has been declared, future participation in CenterFest may be jeopardized.

While there will be 24-hour uniformed site security during CenterFest weekend, Durham Arts Council is not responsible for any artwork, supplies, tents, or other items left unattended in your booth or on festival grounds. During non-festival hours, anyone on the festival site may be asked by security to provide identification.

Booth Information

CenterFest offers single and double booth options. Booth spaces are located on each side of main downtown streets with festival guests using the middle of the street as the main walk way. Selected CenterFest artists have the option of requesting early load in, specific booth locations, corner booths, and electrical hook-ups - these options may be subject to additional fees and other considerations; see below for specifics.

  • All applicants must pay a (non-refundable), $30 Jury Fee. $30 Jury Fee is due with initial application. Accepted artists will pay all additional booth/site fees when confirming their participation in the festival.
  • 10' x 10', Single Booth spaces are $225. Artist requests for specific single booth locations will be honored, when possible, in the following order: (1) Merit Award winners from the previous year (2) Re-invited artists, i.e. artists juried into CenterFest in 2017 or 2018 (3) Order in which booth fee is paid.
  • 10' x 20', Double Booth spaces are $450. These spaces are limited and are assigned as available. Artist requests for specific double booth locations will be honored, when possible, in the following order: (1) Merit Award winners from the previous year (2) Re-invited artists, i.e. artists juried into CenterFest in 2017 or 2018 (3) Order in which double booth fee is paid - fee will be refunded if double space is unavailable.
  • Artists requesting a Corner Booth Space agree to pay an additional $75 fee for this premium space. These spaces are limited and assigned as available. Artist requests for corner booth locations will be honored, when possible, in the following order: (1) Merit Award winners from the previous year (2) Re-invited artists, i.e. artists juried into CenterFest in 2017 or 2018 (3) Order in which corner fee is paid - fee will be refunded if corner space is unavailable.
  • Artists may request to be scheduled for Early Load In to the CenterFest site. For a $75 fee, artists can load in and set up starting at 9pm on Friday, September 20. Standard exhibitor set up hours are 6am - 9am on Saturday, September 15. Space on the Early Load In schedule is limited - artist requests for Early Load In will be honored in the following order: (1) Merit Award winners from the previous year (2) Re-invited artists, i.e. artists juried into CenterFest in 2017 or 2018 (3) Order in which Early Load In fee is paid - fee will be refunded if Early Load In is unavailable. PLEASE NOTE: Artists with accessibility requirements due to verified disability may load in on Friday starting at 8:30pm, at no cost (please indicate in the "special requests" section).
  • Electricity is available at artist booths for $75. Electrical hook-ups are limited to certain booth spaces in the festival footprint - this may impact the artist's range of choices if requesting a specific booth location.
  • Each booth is allotted 1 complimentary breakfast and 1 complimentary lunch per day. Please select your lunch preference from the options listed in the application.
  • Booth displays may not include "sale" signs, signage that extends beyond the footprint of the booth, or signage that is otherwise obtrusive to surrounding artists. All signage must be professional in appearance. Handwritten signs are permitted as long as they meet these standards.
  • All accepted artists are required to display an Artist Statement in their booth as an educational tool for festival visitors. This should be no longer than 250 words and should include an explanation of the process(es) used to create the applicant’s art.
Visual Artist Applications due May 1!
SEPTEMBER 21 & 22, 2019

Durham Arts Council CenterFest Office
120 Morris St.
Durham, NC 27701
P: 919.560.2719
F: 919.560.2725